The Government of Mauritania commits funds for Poverty-Environment mainstreaming

Climate change has exacerbated desertification in Mauritania which has negatively impacted the national economy and greatly contributed to the impoverishment of the most vulnerable groups. The high pressure on resources coupled with poor environmental governance impedes the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

PEI initiated the Mauritania country programme in 2005 to support the government in addressing these issues and promoting sustainable development. In 2013-2014 the government of Mauritania has taken significant steps to mainstream poverty-environment in government processes. 

Following achievements in terms of poverty-environment mainstreaming into Mauritania’s poverty reductions strategy (CSLP 3), the city of Nouakchott has in 2013, with support from PEI, adopted its first Agenda 21 covering 9 communes. The Agenda 21 highlights the major challenges in terms of climate change such as sand occupation, poverty, transport and land tenure and governance but also the urgent need of investing 1,500 million d’UM (equivalent to US$ 5.1 million) on sustainable development efforts over the next four years. The Agenda 21 was informed by a previous PEI/Government of Mauritania study on the long term impact of environmental degradation for urban development. 

Mauritania is already showing its sustained commitment to address these issues by continuing to allocate more than 15 % of its environmental budget for climate change infrastructure such as green walls to protect the city of Nouakchott against the effects of climate change. Moreover, the Government of Mauritania has reinforced the implementation of the Green Belt movement program and has invested over US$ 2 million public funds to protect the capital city from the advancement of dunes as well as a rise in sea level. Further, in 2014 the Government has committed US$ 55,000 for the implementation of activities under the PEI project framework. 

Public investments in pro-poor environment and climate change measures are likely to have a positive impact on vulnerable groups depending on natural resources for their livelihoods and adversely affected by climate change.  Further, to better be able to track expenditures on Climate Chance the government has in 2014 commissioned a Public Expenditure Review on Climate Change that is due to review both the current level of expenditure and recommend how this expenditure can be better tracked in the future. 

©FAO Ivo Balderi

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