Environment and development are closely linked. For the most fortunate among us, the natural environment provides us with the resources necessary for our daily lives, in terms of food, energy, construction and our environment. However, immediate needs and inadequate management often lead to overexploitation of natural resources, preventing them from regenerating and continuing to provide essential long term services: combating erosion, collecting and filtering water, food, timber, etc.
PU works with a view to matching needs and resources in order to support rural communities to protect and sustainably use their environment. The association provides technical and financial support and support for local project organizers in countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate disturbances. In Indonesia, Haiti, Madagascar and Mali, our teams work in partnership with local organizations to develop economically viable activities to ensure sustainable incomes for the populations and a more protected environment.
Support for land management and reforestation, development of economic activities (creation of essential oils, fruit and fodder production, sustainable aquaculture, etc). Strengthening the link between the act of planting and generating income increases the sustainability of planted trees.
Managed areas for firewood production, training charcoal producers, distributing improved domestic stoves to needy families that produce up to 35% savings on wood used for cooking. As wood is often the only readily available source of energy for rural families and as it is an ecological as well as an economic issue, it is essential to develop more efficient use. In Mali, for example, 12,000 improved stoves have been distributed.
In total, 15,000 families have benefited from the actions under the Environment & Development programme and over 4 million trees have been planted in four countries: Mali, Indonesia, Haiti and Madagascar.
The reforestation aspect of the Environment & Development programme is part of the Billion Tree Campaign launched by Wangari Maathai (Nobel Prize for Peace in 2004 and founder of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya), now managed by the Plant for the Planet foundation and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
More than just a natural element, trees are the cornerstone of human development, one of the foundations of ecology, and universal economic, ecological and social contributors. The work of the FAO ("Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010" report) established that between 2000 and 2010, an average of 13 million hectares of forest were being lost every year, either converted to other uses (mainly into agricultural land) or destroyed by natural causes, as against 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s. Strategies for reforestation and the expansion of natural forests in other areas have helped to expand these forests by 5.2 million hectares, reducing the net loss of forest to 5.2 million hectares (the equivalent of the area of Costa Rica every year).
In addition to producing oxygen, forests help to maintain plant and animal species, regulate the water cycle, protect soil and maintain the general climate balance. They are indispensable in sustaining the ecosystem of our planet and people's lives.