Summary of "Environment and the Poor: Development Strategies for a Common Agenda"

Summary of

Environment and the Poor: Development Strategies for a Common Agenda

By  H. Jeffrey Leonard

Summary written by T.A. O'Lonergan, Conflict Research Consortium

Citation: Environment and the Poor: Development Strategies for a Common Agenda, H. Jeffrey Leonard, (New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1989), 215 pp.

Environment and the Poor: Development Strategies for a Common Agenda asserts that poverty and environmental preservation are often at loggerheads. Where this is the case one must develop a strategy whereby the associated problems of poverty and environmental destruction are tackled jointly.

Environment and the Poor: Development Strategies for a Common Agenda will be of interest to those who seek a joint approach to the elimination of poverty and the solution to environmental destruction. The author is assisted by multiple contributors who collaborated under the auspices of the Overseas Development Council which is a private, non-profit organization established for the purpose of increasing American understanding of the economic and social problems confronting the developing countries and of how their development is related to US interests. The primary author presents an overview which addresses the changing nature of poverty and presents a common agenda for attacking poverty and environmental destruction. This is followed by a summary of the recommendations made in each of the successive chapters.

The first chapter is contributed by Montague Yudelman and considers the sustainable and equitable development in irrigated environments. He addresses: the scope of irrigation, the performance of irrigation projects, environmental costs of such projects and, he offers recommendations which would be a move toward efficient, equitable and environmentally sound irrigation. The second chapter focuses upon technology, human pressure and ecology in the arid and semi-arid tropics. The author examines the relationship between poverty and environment in dry areas and the special problems, and their causes, for these areas. The chapter concludes with development strategies.

Chapter three is concerned with development alternatives for tropical rain forests. Following consideration of the relationship between rural poverty and tropical deforestation the author examines the current commercial uses of tropical forests and offers development alternatives for these forests. The fourth chapter discusses sustainable approaches to hillside agricultural development. Herein, the author offers an overview of the Himalayas. Specifically, he considers environmental degradation and the relationship between poverty and the environment. He discusses the state of hillside agricultural development and public policy focused on such development.

Chapter five considers urban development in the third world and the environmental dilemmas that this development presents in relation to the urban poor. Tim Campbell examines the magnitude of the problem of urban development and poverty while considering the environmental trade-offs of the city-scape. Finally, he focuses upon the social and economic dimensions in strategies for environment and development. The final

chapter examines human needs in the fragile ecosystem of Madagascar. Alison Jolly discusses the World Bank policies for development and environment on this island. She closes with recommendations for policies to preserve biodiversity with sustainable development.

Environment and the Poor: Development Strategies for a Common Agenda is a thoughtful consideration of the relationship between poverty and environmental degradation. It will be most useful to the informed reader who requires a basis for further study, because it lays out the fundamental problems nicely.