The Ministry of Finance in Mozambique Appoints Two Environmental Focal Points

In Mozambique a large proportion of the population is heavily dependent on the environment for their daily livelihoods. However, widespread environmental degradation is decreasing the social and economic benefits derived by the poor from land and other natural resources. The result is a steady decline in well-being among poor and vulnerable groups throughout Mozambique thus impacting the achievement of the millennium development goals.

In 2012 PEI supported the Ministry for Coordination of Environmental Affairs (MICOA) in Mozambique to conduct an Environmental Economic Analysis study and a Public Environment Expenditure Review (PEER). The assessments found that 17% of the GDP is the yearly economic loss due to environmental degradation and the inefficient use of natural resources.  Nine percent of the GDP is the estimated cost to remediate these damages and yet only 1.4% of GDP is the average environmental expenditure for the period 2007-2010.

Till date MICOA and the Ministry of Planning and Development (MPD) have taken the lead on poverty-environment mainstreaming in Mozambique. But the dissemination of the findings from the studies opened a window of opportunity to enhance the role that the Ministry of Finance (MoF) play in this process. On May 23 2013, PEI supported a workshop where the MoF invited MICOA, MPD and key sectors to explore how to practically take this forward. Following the workshop two environmental focal points have officially been appointed in the MoF.

The timing of the appointments is particularly opportune as the ministries will be shortly engaged in the development of the new Government five year plan. The environmental focal points of the MoF along with their colleagues from the MPD and sectors will attend the Environment Unit meetings organized by MICOA and supported by PEI. The meetings are indispensable in terms of strengthening the integration of the links between poverty and environment into annual sector plans. The increased involvement of the Ministry of Finance in these meetings is expected to advance the integration of poverty-environment objectives in budgets and the capability to monitor the extent to which the budgets are utilized further.

This is a great advancement towards overcoming one of the key implementation challenges of poverty-environment mainstreaming, namely, the lack of budgets being assigned to poverty-environment objectives that have been integrated into development plans. On the ground this is likely to have a positive impact on the 45% of the population that lives below the national poverty line and the 34% of households that are vulnerable to food insecurity. 

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