Poverty ... environmental approach

Poverty ... environmental approach

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By Susana A. Serracín Lezcano

"There is no worse form of pollution than poverty"; With this famous phrase, Indira Gandhi shocked the world at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972.

"There is no worse form of pollution than poverty"; With this famous phrase, Indira Gandhi shocked the world at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972.

Poverty, inequity and marginalization are critical problems that affect our region. It is not only a matter of lack of basic resources, but of a complex matter that implies violations of human rights and permanent disrespect for human dignity, increasing the number of phenomena and forms of discrimination.

On the other hand, the burden of the problems caused by environmental factors falls largely on the back of the poor and extremely poor, these being the ones who suffer most intensely the outrageous and merciless damages that are committed against nature; and it is that poverty itself is the cause and effect of environmental deterioration in both rural and urban areas.

In this regard, the Human Development Index of Panama, according to the 2000 census, reflects that the official poverty line reaches 40.5% of the population, of which 26.5% is in conditions of extreme poverty, which goes on the rise.

Extreme poverty is higher in the province of Panama, followed by indigenous poverty in the comarcas. The most urgent challenge for governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations must be to eliminate poverty and improve the quality of life.

However, in practice we observe a high degree of disconnection in the conceptual debate and practical experience; for example, the trend is to maintain social or community palliative programs.

This is directly due to the shortcomings of the current development modality that has implied, on the one hand, the irrational use of natural resources, which are consumed or depleted at a rate greater than their capacity for regeneration, and on the other hand , the underutilization of these resources.

The leading sectors of society do not seem to have grasped the seriousness of this crisis in its proper dimension and that long-term visualization is essential for short-term decision-making.

It is impossible to speak of sustainable development if it is not understood within the human context, what it means for many families to live with a deficient diet, without a regular income, without drinking water, occupying precarious houses built on illegally occupied land or contravening explicit regulations safety and environmental quality, without social coverage, with little or no access to health and education services.

The most "fortunate", who work in very poor conditions, subjected to long hours of work, in inadequately illuminated and ventilated factories, without protection against noise, dust, toxic chemicals, exposed to continuous accidents and diseases, are constituted, in addition, in victims of environmental abuse.

To measure the quality of life in a region, the following indicators are used: poverty, employment and unemployment, income, housing and the index of basic needs, defined as the set of minimum psychophysical and cultural requirements for the life and development of beings humans.

Consideration of poverty from an environmental perspective suggests the possibility of a global interest in poverty alleviation, involving a complex set of social, economic and environmental issues that traditional sectoral approaches have not resolved.

It requires strong leadership from the government and its institutions, political commitment, and broad stakeholder participation at all levels, promoting Corporate Social Responsibility.

Essential importance should be given to education and strengthening the self-esteem of this vulnerable sector of the population, empowering them with projects that represent hope in their lives, with integrated approaches to social management that recognize the interconnection between resources and their use, and in which poverty alleviation and ecosystem management play a key role.

The author is an environmental lawyer

Video: Extreme Poverty Definition New Ways Of Looking At Poverty (May 2022).