Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 913–929 | Cite as

Poverty, environment and economic growth: exploring the links among three complex issues with specific focus on the Pakistan’s case

  • Himayatullah Khan


Eradicating poverty, reducing environmental degradation and achieving sustainable economic growth are some of the major macroeconomic goals of Pakistan. There are, however, serious interlinkages among these issues. The present paper investigates these linkages and the existing evidence for Pakistan and other countries. The aim of the paper is to examine and test some hypotheses and answer some questions regarding poverty-environment-nexus in Pakistan. The paper uses secondary data and information to probe into these linkages. The paper finds that poverty leads to environmental degradation is a common belief but it is not clearly supported by evidence. What is more strongly supported by evidence is the fact that environmental degradation hurts more the poor. There is a need of studies that deal with the social and environmental impacts of specific factors, and a need of a better understanding of institutional dynamics. More understanding on how levels and changes in poverty relate to changes in environmental quality is needed. There is a need to understand how the levels and rates of change vary with poverty. There is a need to know how and where the changes are taking place. More research is needed on the effects of changes in the population and the dynamics of institutional development. It has been showed that low income groups are the most affected when environmental degradation occur, but not enough information available in Pakistan on the mechanisms. There is a need of empirical studies regarding effect on poor relative to non-poor. More understanding on how poor people depend on, interact with and use their environment in rural and urban areas is needed. Ideally, in Pakistan, we would need to relate data gathered in an area with socio-economic data from the same area, answering this way to questions such as, to what extent are different income groups affected by resource degradation? And, by pollution? Finally, Pakistan should apply open minded and innovative policies in order to take advantage of the many existing opportunities. Some suggestions are eco-labeling schemes, organic practices, fair trade and so forth. Very little research has been conducted in developing countries, especially in Pakistan on the issues involving poverty, environment and development. The present study is an attempt in this regard. The results of the study are expected to assume pivotal importance for policy makers, academics and other researchers. It may help policy makers how to design policy to ensure poverty alleviation vis-à-vis environmental conservation. It may also help academicians to understand the complex poverty-environment-growth nexus. It will also open new avenues for further research in this area.


Poverty Environment Economic growth Pakistan 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Development Studies (IDS)NWFP Agricultural UniversityPeshawarPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Development StudiesCOMSATS Institute of Information TechnologyAbbottabadPakistan

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