Green Economy and Poverty: Challenges and Opportunities, continued…

According to the United National Environmental Programme (UNEP 2010), green economy is one that leads to improvement of human well being and social equity and does not cause harm to the environment and significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcity. Achieving this goal is not easy owing to the current global household poverty trends. The gaps between the rich and the poor, the haves and have not’s is significantly increasing by the day. Slums are rising in major urban areas, shanty buildings and uncontrolled development, insecurity as well as street families. These are serious and delicate issues that threaten not only the environment but also survival of human beings.

Perhaps of great concern is the unpredictability of environmental issues as raised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) report concerning the future trends in environmental disasters like flooding, drought, melting of ice caps, loss of habitants reduced community resilience as well as ecosystem service destructions. The IPCC predicts increase in magnitudes as well as frequency; other scienctific bodies challenge the outcomes of the IPCC in that they are conservative in nature and the impacts would be more far reaching than reported in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Giddens (2008) noted that there is currently no substantive framework for policy that can coherently and consistency regarding the procedure on how the national governments can cope with long-term political challenges of climate change. There are also concerns that present public debates on climate change tend to be incomplete and incongruent.

Green economy seems to be a step into the right path as community securities as well as national securities are continually and significantly being laid on the line by environmental threats. Different regions face varied risks. For example desertification is real issues among southern countries while the industrial northern countries struggle with issues of acid rain; the Polar Regions record high dispositions of persistent organic chemical pollutants. All these will be further aggravated by already extreme climate change impacts (Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security).

The current globally embraced and practiced models of development seek to get the maximum out of the environment and while this paper does not seek to criticize capitalism or communism the paper calls for re-examination of the consumerism patterns as well as their production. Economic development should not be measured only in terms of money and GDP but ought to be a summation of all spheres of life that include quality of habitant and ecosystems in totality.

The efforts of environmentalists, conservation groups, scientific communities, civil societies, NGO’s and other bodies to protect and restore environment with legitimate intentions and visions of improving human wellbeing as well as ecosystem services and resource bank sustainable utilization among others are bound to hit rocks and remain fruitless as long as approaches and practices of all development movers such as government and business communities, grass root groups and community groups are not radically changed.

Poverty is increasing in many parts of the world. In the sub-Saharan Africa issues of food security and water scarcity continue to rob the rights of the residents of these regions. It is noted that even if the world halted the impacts of climate change now Africa would still Strule with adaptation to the effects of climate change. Green economy does more than regulate spending of households and nations but goes deeper into developing sustainable infrastructure through urban planning, design, and construction of green buildings as well as making the proud transition from private and personal means of transportation that leads to congestion and carbon emissions not mentioning noise and other forms of pollutions.

Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya.

A clear prove of urban poverty: Kibera slum is the largest in Africa and is home to several destitute families

Urban poverty is increasing in many nations and governments seem to be fighting a losing battle. In concurrence with the United Nations (1993) that poverty can be seen as “Deprivation is a multi-dimensional concept. In the sphere of economics, deprivation manifests itself as poverty; in politics, as marginalisation; in social relations, as discrimination; in culture, as rootlessness; in ecology, as vulnerability. The different forms of deprivation reinforce one another. Often the same household, the same region, the same country is the victim of all these forms of deprivation. We must attack deprivation in all its forms. None of the other dimensions of deprivation, however, can be tackled unless we address the problem of poverty and unemployment.’’ (In mabongunje, 2005).

Hence once a community falls into the multifaceted forms of poverty is extremely difficult to come out of it without assistance. However, previous aid efforts have only rendered communities as passive recipients of development efforts instead of active participants. This phenomena renders such communities heavily dependant on the aid dispensers.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Instead of perceiving poverty as predicament of sustainable development, slums present great opportunities for green economy due to openness’s and eagerness that new ideas are received in such areas.

There is need to government to enact laws and policies that govern construction of buildings and estates in favor of green building. There is presently no substantive and bidding regulation at international and national levels backed by government funding and enforcement regarding green economy leaving this in the hands of developers and other stakeholders.

If enactment of present international and national agreements, policies, rules and regulations are implemented without fail, there would be significant improvement and restoration of ecosystem functions and carrying capacity including those of urban ecosystems.


Mabogunje A. (2005) Global urban poverty research agenda: the African case, a paper presented at a seminar on “Global Urban Poverty: Setting the Research Agenda” organized by the Comparative Urban Studies Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and held in Washington D.C. on Thursday, December 15, 2005)


Giddens A. (2008) the politics of climate change, national responses to the challenge of global warming,

United Nations Environmental Programme: UNEP (2010) Green economy?

IPCC 2007

Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security (nd) Environmental Security: change a case study of climate, 

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