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Greening the future; Lessons learned and the way forward
Following on from a series of Regional Stakeholder Meetings with the first Global Retreat held in Nairobi during July 2012, Bhutan hosted the Regional Poverty Environment Initiative Meeting from 9-11th August 2012. Over the three days event, the participants highlighted the lessons learned for greening public and private investments to move towards a green inclusive economy. The participants also defined priorities, planned activities, and developed strategic partnerships at the regional and country levels. The meetings comprised of government, academic, and civil society representatives as well as PEI and UNDP Country team staff from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Karma Jamtsho from the GNHC said "Bhutan has a lot of PEI promises and interventions which were achieved in 2011, and it has been a successful period for Bhutan. We are very optimistic and there are rich ideas and knowledge on PEI, in addition PEI in Bhutan has formed the ECP Reference Group and it's playing a very important role in Bhutan. Looking forward, we would like to hold on to what we have done so far, and we would like to build up on what we have achieved, also the 11 FYP has a lot of promises in regard to PEI and we hope that collaboration and experiences will continue to be shared." He also said Bhutan needs to build on capacity building to ensure that these initiatives will continue.
Annaliza F. Bonagua, Assistant Director for the Department of Interior and Local Government from the Philippines said that although the PEI has only been implemented since 2010 in the Philippines, it has in a span of one year been a venue of discussion in various sectors to see how we can protect natural resources, saying "PEI has created a harmonized effort to link poverty and environmental issues, also because of PEI there are linkages and convergence in various projects. Another progression we are able to implement due to PEI is the advancement of the government in areas of the extraction industry." Stressing that the revenues and benefits from natural resource extraction need to be shared with local people and invested at the national level to reduce poverty.
Dr. Dechen Tsering, the Senior Programme Officer in UNEP Regional Office for Asia Pacific said "The PEI is about placing humans at the heartof sustainable development and in the way forward the next phase of PEI has a lot of potential to contribute to sustainable development".
It is clear that 2011 was an important year of PEI achievements as the 6 countries saw the transition from policy to planning and mature to the actual implementation phase contributing to poverty-environmental transformations contributing to positive change. In Bhutan, the 11th five year plan is focused on a self reliant and inclusive green development. National plans need to be followed up in the different policies on agriculture, water, urban development, etc., by each Ministry. In Bhutan this is achieved through a Reference Group chaired by the Gross National Happiness Commission which reviews all key sector policies.
At the end of the three day session, Myanmar and Indonesia would soon follow in the list of PEI countries as well. During the closing session, representatives from the regional PEI office advised existing countries to build on Phase1 success with focus on implementation & capacity development and to select high profile issues for mainstreaming to avoid mainstreaming fatigue.
The six countries were also advised to keep government
sectors of finance, planning and local government as key coordination
ministries for PEI; to add performance based incentives to encourage
mainstreaming by local governments; to effectively use limited funds and to
consider emerging themes such as green economy.
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