Steering the Poverty-Environment Nexus in Central Asia: A metagovernance analysis of the Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI)

Sarah Challe, Stamatios Christopoulos, Michael Kull*, Louis Meuleman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The close and reciprocal ties between poverty and environmental degradation present significant potential for simultaneous improvement of the livelihood of the poorest along with increased opportunities and enhanced resilience of the environment and natural resources. By supporting governments and other stakeholders in designing and implementing development plans that tackle environmental and poverty concerns in a joint manner, the globally operating UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) addresses a major governance challenge for sustainable development (SD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular. Focusing on Central Asia, and specifically Tajikistan, a country outside the spotlight of studies concerned with SD governance mechanisms, and through the analysis of PEI programme documents and stakeholders’ interviews, this article probes into the governance and governance co-ordination (metagovernance) settings for SD. The article closes by presenting a set of recommendations to improve governance co-ordination, while achieving more inclusive decision-making and ultimately increasing the impact of PEI on the society and the environment. Specifically, it argues for improved information policy and enhanced integration of endogenous knowledge. Furthermore, national and local development planning and private initiatives should be better linked, and the different levels of governance for poverty-environment mainstreaming should be more coherent. The solutions discussed are of relevance for wider Central Asia and the global community engaged in moving the SDGs into the mainstream of governance and policy frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-431
Number of pages23
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Issue number4
Early online date8 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Central Asia
  • environmental mainstreaming
  • metagovernance
  • poverty
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Tajikistan


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