Africa Poverty-Environment Initiative Regional Support Programme

The origins of the PEI Africa are the merging of the former UNDP PEI and UN Environment Poverty and Environment Project into the joint UNDP-UN Environment PEI in September 2005. This programme operated in seven African countries and is known as the PEI Africa Pilot Phase.  Growing success in the pilot countries and the success of the joint programming approach of UNDP and UN Environment led to a global scale-up proposal for the PEI. The scale-up was approved in 2007 and commenced implementation in 2008 adding three new countries to the Africa programme.

Today PEI Africa supports nine countries across the region based on demand – Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, MauritaniaMozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania. The PEI Uganda programme came to an end in 2011 and PEI Africa has  previously provided technical assistance to the Governments of Burundi and Mauritius.  The country team’s are supported by the Regional Africa Team based at the UN Environment HQ in Nairobi. The function of the team is to provide strategic direction to the PEI Africa Programme; provide technical advisory support to governments and UNDP country offices to facilitate PEI implementation; to assist country teams in monitoring and reporting progress and to promote the sharing of knowledge and lessons learnt from the different countries in the programme.


African economies remain heavily dependent on natural resources, particularly renewable resources such as soil, and water and on the production reliant on these resources. However, key natural resources continue to be used in an environmentally unsustainable manner, meaning that the stream of economic and social benefits generated from these resources is being reduced over time. The region is also highly vulnerable to climate change adding additional risks to, for example,  efforts to achieve food security as droughts and floods are increasing. This in combination with the region’s weak institutional capacity to address sustainable development exacerbates the issues and accelerates unsustainable resource use. The overall effect is that the achievement of Africa’s development objectives – including poverty reduction and food security – are made more difficult and in some cases environmental unsustainability worsens human security. 


A key solution to the above described scenario is to integrate pro-poor sustainability objectives in national development plans and critically in their implementation mechanisms such as budgets with special attention to sector plans and budgets. This will improve both development and environment outcomes that matter to poor women and men in Africa. While each country programme has been initiated to meet country-level demand and is tailored to specific national policy processes, the regional PEI Africa Strategy for 2013-2017 reflects the global PEI Scale-up outputs aiming to contribute to that:

  • Pro-poor environmental outcomes are mainstreamed into development policies, plans and budgets making them more inclusive and pro-poor, gender responsive, and environmentally sustainable
  • National and regional institutional capacity and coordination systems are strengthened to implement, monitor and report on pro-poor, gender responsive sustainable development policies and plans
  • Pro-poor environmentaloutcomes are integrated into regional and global institutions and sustainable development debates


PEI Africa has significantly contributed to:

  • Successfully clarified poverty-environment mainstreaming as a normative concept and developed it into an operational model that is technically robust and politically acceptable
  • Significantly improved understanding of how sustainability can help achieve development goals
  • Significantly improved the inclusion of Environmental sustainability objectives in national development plans
  • Partially operationalized sustainability objectives through increased budgetary allocations for environmental sustainability
  • Successfully demonstrated the most comprehensive example of joint programming between UNDP and UN Environment reflecting ONE-UN reform in action

For detailed account of the country achievements see the respective country pages Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania.


PEI Africa is implemented in collaboration with the respective government counterparts and the UNDP Country Offices and contributes to the One-UN process in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania. Further, PEI Africa is collaborating with a number of UN agencies and other regional bodies and expanding the PEI partnership within the UN system at the regional level will be a feature of the next PEI phase starting in 2014. PEI’s work on natural accounting has in Botswana been carried out in close collaboration with the World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) program and in Mozambique PEI is closely linked to UNDP’s Green Human Development programme to jointly pursue objectives related to poverty-environment mainstreaming. Additionally, links with the Rio + 20 process, the Green Economy Initiative and the Millenium Development Goal achivment Fund (MDGF) has been made in several countries to enhance countries involvement in the Rio + 20 process and promote green economy mainstreaming. Closer collaborations with UNDP’s Poverty Practice and Regional Bureau for Africa for successful poverty-environment mainstreaming are being sought as well as with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) for climate financing.



Regional poverty-environment mainstreaming resources & expertise

Regional Poverty-Environment mainstreaming resources & expertise

LEAD – Southern and Eastern Africa

LEAD Southern and Eastern Africa (LEAD SEA), hosted by the University of Malawi

The Environment for Development Initiative (EfD)

The objective of the EfD initiative is to support poverty alleviation and sustainable development through the increased use of environmental economics in the policy making process. The EfD initiative is a capacity building program in environmental economics, focusing on research, policy advice, and teaching in Central America, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania.

EfD in Tanzania – Department of Economics, University of Dar Es Salaam

Makerere University (Uganda), Institute of Environment & Natural Resources

NBSAP: National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans

NBSAP- are the principal instruments for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity at the national level: