Understanding poverty

About 20 percent of the planet’s populace exists in utter poverty. Of these, about two thirds are women. The past few years have seen to a great reduction in the levels of poverty. Poverty however remains a big problem the world over. Close to half of the world’s inhabitants lives on less than US$2 per day while about 20 % live on less than a dollar a day. In the same era, the planet’s potential to sustain life is continually being degraded. The environment’s destruction continues to deplete the land that is available for farming, fewer forests, less supplies of clean water, decreasing fisheries and the risk of increasing social and ecological vulnerability. To deal with these issues, governments have identified means to fight the two problems together. In this paper, I plan to show the means through which the battle against environment destruction has led to improved living conditions and reduced poverty in Indonesia (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).

Indonesian case

Indonesian is an exceptional country in this case. When Indonesia realized the risk it suffered based on its location, they decided to put more effort towards environmental conservation. However, before doing this, they discovered another problem that was equally significant, poverty. They, therefore, decided to deal with the issues together. The progress has been impressive. Currently, Indonesia is among the few countries that showed a growing economy amid the recession. It has been doing well economically. On top of that, the country has been able inform the people about the important areas of their environment that they should be conserving. In the process, they have also reduced poverty (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).

Indonesian Environmental issues

The major issues that the situation of Indonesia suffered from before idt employed this strategy included deforestation, pollution, and soil depletion. These with time contributed to a dwindling economy and poverty. The poverty level became so bad that the people found it necessary to act. The risk of natural disasters had also risen offensively (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).

There are various methods that countries use to reduce poverty while at the same time improving or protecting the environment. Amongst the most common are the forming partnerships with entrepreneurs, identifying opportunities in the environment protection sector, creating incentives for environment related activities, and creating employment opportunities (McCarthy, & Warren, 2009).

According to a report by the World Bank, it was discovered that the poor are more vulnerable to changes in the environment in Indonesia. For this reason, the country partnered with the United Nations to create partnerships that would help to deal with the environment issues while at the same time adding more opportunities for the poor to benefit from both directly and indirectly (Konkel, 2014).


The government partnered with other bodies to help solve the situation. This helped in two ways. First, the Indonesian government would be able to get more results from its cooperation with other organizations. These institutions came in various forms. The fist and most important partnerships were with the United Nations itself. The United Nations was expected to provide the much needed information fro the progress of this plan. The UN was also expected to identify opportunities that were available for the investors to invest in. The UN also had also trained those who needed training on various environmental issues. The UN has variety of departments which have a range of abilities which would help to make this possible (McCarthy, & Warren, 2009).

The UN also has a command in the world and would create education gaps in the world by offering some of this information towards the creation of new courses in the University. They would then provide the trained personnel to Indonesia and other counties interested with environmental issues to work with them (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).

Indonesia also partnered with other countries and began projects that would be mutually beneficial. Two examples of such partnerships are the US-Indonesia partnership on climate change and clean energy and the Energy and Environment Partnership in which it partnered with Finland. In both projects, Indonesia began projects that would be beneficial to the country’s development. The projects would in part lead to economic growth which would be beneficial for all in Indonesia (Konkel, 2014).

In this regard, the government initiated several projects that would result to an improved environment and a less miserable society. One of the projects that they began was the use of green energy. Green energy came in the form of wind energy, biomass and thermal energy. Others included energy saving stoves and electric appliances. Through the implementation of these options, the government would also be intending to deal with the poverty issue and hence its economic situation (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).


Indonesia also identified opportunities that it could use to steer the development of the country forward while at the same time reducing poverty. A good example of such projects is some clean energy opportunities. Companies would strive to deliver clean energy to the people with the blessings of the government. In the process, they would get profits and create work for the unemployed in the country. Creation of employment would reduce the levels of poverty and improve the economy hence making the cost of living lower (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).

One such company is the Yayasan Inovasi Teknologi Indonesia (INOTEK) which was mandated to manufacture energy saving stoves which would contribute to the reduction of the rate of deforestation. Such an initiative would reduce poverty on two levels. First, it would be economic to use the products manufactured in such companies hence reducing the level of poverty. Second, the company would require workforce to operate. This workforce would be sourced from Indonesia hence creating work and reducing the level of poverty for these personnel (Konkel, 2014).

Other opportunities that were created include those of selling spare parts for the new products that would be environment friendly. Many forms of support businesses were established to cater for the newly formed markets. Companies would come in the form of shops to sell the new products and their components (McCarthy, & Warren, 2009). Others would be created to sell products that are associated with the new products like fuel. By so doing, job opportunities were developed and businesses got profits from their new businesses. Others were also to get a form of work from repairing the products. This way, many people would be protected from poverty as they promote environment protection (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).


The actions also produced professional gaps that needed to be filled. For new entrants to learn how to manufacture the new products, they would require some form of education. This made it possible for citizens to participate in environment protection themselves. Once people got involved in a program they were firmly attached to, they would protect it to the end. This would be unlike imported workforce (Bass, 2005).

Education would also be necessary for those who wanted jobs. The education itself would be a form of work for those who got the knowledge first. It would also be a beneficial property that would lead to development. This is in support of the concept that an educated society is often richer than one without an education (Konkel, 2014).

Education would also be required for the new market. This would come in the form of civil education that would seek to show the [people the advantages of the new products to both the wellbeing of the people and towards a better environment (McCarthy, & Warren, 2009). This way, people would be more informed when choosing a new product. This would be a form of employment for those who offered the training. The education would also act as a tool for poverty eradication for other situations. The educators would get the much needed exposure which would lead to better ideas and opportunities for the poor. This way, poverty would continue to be reduced (Bass, 2005).


Incentives were also created for those who were pursuing environment friendly initiatives. The incentives came in various forms to ensure that those who did business in this sector were comfortably making profits as they helped in the fight against environment destruction and pollution (Chaudhuri, Jalan, & Suryahadi, 2002).
First, the requirements for starting types of business were minimized. This enabled those who had the least ability to start off fast and start making profits. It also made it possible for other investors to enter the market due to its friendliness. This way, they would help in the fight against poverty and in promoting environment conservation (Wunder, 2005).

Another way the incentives were offered was by providing financial and educational support for those who were interested in environmental conservation schemes. It was however watched closely to ensure that those were in such initiatives were accountable for the money they got. The money was released in bits and accounted for before more money was injected into their projects. Groups were also encouraged to ensure that the money was used to benefit many people hence further reducing poverty (Chaudhuri, Jalan, & Suryahadi, 2002).

The government of Indonesia also made funds available through other means. The, for example, made it easier for individuals to obtain loans that were repaid at low interest rates. The government even made available an environment fund to ensure those who wanted to get into the business found it easier. Those who found it hard to get funds from the government also stood a chance to get financing guarantees so that they would be able to obtain funding from elsewhere (Wunder, 2005).

The governance also made royalties available for those who participated in poverty environment conservation practices. This introduced new parties into this field hence making faster progress in environmental conservation and eradication of poverty (Bass, 2005).


Governance was also improved to ensure that the poor were not exploited and that the environment was conserved. A good system of governance would help to ensure that all the initiatives that were initiated went as planned (Chaudhuri, Jalan, & Suryahadi, 2002). To help with this, policies that supported a government initiatives were implemented to make sure that there was always some place to bounce back to in case of conflict regarding matters of environment and poverty. The government’s involvement was effective as it could get and results could soon be seen.

First, the eradication of poverty and environment conservation were prioritized. They, therefore, incorporated into national development structures. This way, they were made nationally sustainable programs (Bucknall, Kraus, & Pillai, 2000).

Second, environment management was decentralized. This meant that apart from being integrated in the national development strategies, they were also integrated into the sub-national development strategies. They were also incorporated into sectored programs that would see to their funding (Bass, 2005).

Third, the civil society was empowered amongst poor communities. This made information about environment conservation more available to the poor hence making it possible for them to participate. This helped to influence environment policies and to ensure that the people understood exactly what to expect if certain aspects of their environment were not consereved (Chaudhuri, Jalan, & Suryahadi, 2002).

Fourth, gender elements of poverty and environment issues were addressed. This was done through ensuring that gender issues were fully integrated in the planning, formulation, development and monitoring of poverty eradication policies and programs (Chaudhuri, Jalan, & Suryahadi, 2002).

Fifth, environment related conflict was minimized. This was done through the creation of conflict resolution mechanisms that worked to ensure that such issues were promptly resolved. These mechanisms also addressed political and economic issues that affected access of resources (Konkel, 2014).

Sixth, the poor and the environment were protected from corruption. This was done through the creation of strict laws that protected these two issues. They came in the form of hefty penalties for violators and providing a proper framework for the poor to communicate to the relevant authorities promptly (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011).

Finally, the poverty-environment assessment and monitoring were improved. This was done by enhancing civil and government capacity to monitor the change in the environment. They also assessed how it influenced the poor and worked towards elimination of such situations (Chaudhuri, Jalan, & Suryahadi, 2002).

Enhancing the assets of the poor

The government enabled the poor to do more with the resources they already had in their hands. Various methods were put into place for this to happen. They also introduced services to them to make sure that environment conservation and poverty eradication were handled effectively. The position of the government and the people was strong and well prepared and focused.

First, the resource rights of the poor were strengthened. This was done by restructuring policies, formal and informal institutions that influenced access to land and natural resources. Those that influenced access, control, ownership, and benefit-sharing were also reformed with particular interest to resource rights for women (Bucknall, Kraus, & Pillai, 2000).

Second, poor people’s capacity to manage the environment was enhanced. This was done by strengthening the arrangements that were put up locally and supporting positions that wee held by women. This way, sustainable use and conservation of land, biological resources and access to clean water was improved (Bucknall, Kraus, & Pillai, 2000).

Third, access to environmentally friendly and locally suitable technology was expanded. This helped in many activities, for example, the crop production technology which minimizes pesticide use, conserves water and soil. Others include energy efficient and renewable energy technologies which reduced air pollution (Kabeer, n.d.).Finally, the environment vulnerability of the poor was improved through the improvement of disaster preparedness and risk diminution by supporting formal and informal coping strategies of weak groups and providing access to risk management mechanisms like insurance (Chaudhuri, Jalan, & Suryahadi, 2002). This way, the poor knew how to deal with situations in case natural tragedies occurred.


In conclusion, the Indonesian government has approached poverty in a very different, yet effective, perspective. They have approached poverty from the dimension of environment conservation. This way, they have been able to deal with two of their problems at the same time. The issue of poverty eradication has been resolved through methods that would have been alternatively used for environment conservation. The strategy used is diverse. They include usage of incentives through tax differentiation, grants and provision of financial services. The government has also created awareness using the education system and the society (Rodríguez, Pascual, Muradian, Pazmino, & Whitten, 2011). Partnership with the United Nations and with other countries like the US have also contributed to growth. The government has also improved its system of governance to ensure that the poor and the environmental issues are not abused and to ensure that corruption is minimized. Indonesia, with the help of other stakeholders has also identified money making opportunities to deal with the issue of environment conservation. In the course of doing this, the government has been able to reduce crime immensely.


Agola, N, & Awange, J 2014, Globalized Poverty And Environment : 21St Century Challenges And Innovative Solutions, Heidelberg: Springer, Discovery eBooks, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 June 2014.

Bass, S 2005, Reducing Poverty And Sustaining The Environment : The Politics Of Local Engagement, London: Earthscan, Discovery eBooks, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 June 2014.

Bucknall, J., Kraus, C., & Pillai, P. 2000, Poverty and Environment. Environment Strategy Background Paper. World Bank, Environment Department, Washington, DC.

Chaudhuri, S., Jalan, J., & Suryahadi, A. 2002, Assessing household vulnerability to poverty from cross-sectional data: A methodology and estimates from Indonesia.

Govinda R., T, & David, Z 2014, The Impacts Of Biofuels On The Economy, Environment, And Poverty: A Global Perspective, [N.p.]: Springer, Discovery eBooks, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 June 2014.

Kabeer, N, Commonwealth, S, International Development Research Centre, (, & Canadian International Development, A 2003, Gender Mainstreaming In Poverty Eradication And The Millennium Development Goals : A Handbook For Policy-Makers And Other Stakeholders, London: Commonwealth Secretariat, Discovery eBooks, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 June 2014.

Konkel, R 2014, ‘The monetization of global poverty: the concept of poverty in World Bank history, 1944–90’, Journal Of Global History, 9, 2, p. 276, Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 June 2014.

McCarthy, J, & Warren, C 2009, Community, Environment And Local Governance In Indonesia : Locating The Commonweal, London: Routledge, Discovery eBooks, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 June 2014.

Rodríguez, L, Pascual, U, Muradian, R, Pazmino, N, & Whitten, S 2011, ‘Analysis: Towards a unified scheme for environmental and social protection: Learning from PES and CCT experiences in developing countries’, Ecological Economics, 70, Special Section – Earth System Governance: Accountability and Legitimacy, pp. 2163-2174, ScienceDirect, EBSCOhost, viewed 26 June 2014.

Wunder, S. 2005, Payments for environmental services: some nuts and bolts (Vol. 42, pp. 1-32). Jakarta, Indonesia: CIFOR.

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