Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.
United Nations Development AccountUnited Nations Headquarters New York Desa Home

Development Account Projects

Strengthening national institutional capacities for mainstreaming multilateral environmental agreements into national poverty reduction strategies


In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reported that 15 of the 24 critical ecosystem services it used were in decline and concluded that this decline in ecosystem services would prevent many developing countries from achieving the Millennium Development Goals. A recent review by UNDP revealed that a majority of the Millennium Development Goal plans developed by countries showed a poor record of integrating the issue of the environment in their strategies. However, one dimension that offers a potentially strong entry point for mainstreaming the environment lies with the multilateral environmental agreements, which are in essence legally binding instruments agreed to by countries. There is an opportunity to reap a double dividend: improving the environmental record and contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular in relation to the reduction of extreme poverty.

This project is aimed at building the knowledge base of selected developing countries on the links between ecosystem services, which falls under the multilateral environmental agreements and the Millennium Development Goals, and ways and means of developing instruments that will enable the mainstreaming of the multilateral environmental agreements in Millennium Development Goal and poverty reduction strategies. The project will be executed by UNEP, in collaboration with UNDP, the United Nations University, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), ASEAN, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.


To strengthen capacity at the national and local levels on mainstreaming multilateral environmental agreement objectives into Millennium Development Goals and national poverty reduction strategies.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved capacities at the national level in mainstreaming MEA and/or environmental obligations within national sustainable development plans and poverty reduction strategies.
  • Improved understanding of policy makers who are involved in the implementation of MEA and/or environmental objectives and poverty reduction strategies on the links among ecosystem services, natural capital, economic development and human development, and their importance for achieving the MEA and/or environmental obligations.
  • Improved awareness of policy makers on the MA and its recommendations for effective environmental and development policy making, and their capacities to integrate them into actual policy making processes.

Implementation status:

Progresses were made on the case study in Lao PDR (which previously was designed and agreed upon with the national expert group). The study focuses on “Economic valuation and land use planning for agriculture”, and assesses the economic costs and benefits associated with land use changes, with a particular focus on the conversion of primary forests to rubber plantations and to agricultural land.

A communication strategy has been developed to generate awareness of this project and create knowledge products that can inform decision-making towards sustainable investment management. This came after the useful discussion in the PEI regional lessons learning workshop held in Vientiane in June 2010. These PEI fact sheets have been developed in Lao and English, and seven policy briefs have been completed to highlight various investments issues in specific sectors, and on poverty – environment issues in the pursuit of economic growth.

During January 2010 UNDP Lao and Ministry of Planning and Investment signed an internal agreement for this specific research.  PEI initiative in Lao PDR aims to strengthen capacity of targeted central and provincial authorities to integrate poverty-environment concerns and opportunities in key development planning process. This project is not a stand-alone project but has been designed primarily to provide targeted support to ongoing programmes.  UNEP and UNDP (PEI) have been able to insert this project into the 7th National Socio Economic Development Plan (NSEDP).