Part 3: Opportunities for Addressing Environmental Issues under the UK Prosperity Fund

In this article, the Prosperity Fund Team at IMC Worldwide sets out the pivotal importance of addressing environmental issues through innovation, knowledge sharing and sustainable urbanisation.

Thursday 09 May 2019, Private: Charlotte Watts

The UK Cross-Government Prosperity Fund was announced in 2015, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Fund targets middle-income countries, such as India, Brazil and Mexico in order to address barriers to growth. In this article, the Prosperity Fund Team at IMC Worldwide sets out the pivotal importance of addressing environmental issues through innovation, knowledge sharing and sustainable urbanisation. 


While the primary purpose of the Prosperity Fund focuses on poverty alleviation, social inclusion and an adherence to ODA-funding guidelines, the secondary benefits are focused on increasing international trade for the targeted countries. This brings opportunities for wealthier countries to share knowledge and innovation with middle-income countries to help tackle climate change and other environmental issues. For example, the Prosperity Fund’s energy programmes promote the transfer of renewable energy and low carbon technologies and more efficient agricultural techniques to selected middle income countries.

The Future Cities programmes enable knowledge transfer surrounding sustainable sanitation solutions and the sustainable management of waste which is so crucial in urbanised areas. If managed effectively, urban waste management programmes under the Prosperity Fund can provide jobs for low-income households and can build prosperity. Most importantly, effective waste management is directly correlated with improvements in public health standards, and can not only improve life-expectancy, but also contribute to a decline in fertility thus reducing population pressures in urban areas. The Future Cities Programme also incorporate “lighthouse” projects that provide examples for best practice for green solutions in urban environments.

The Global Trade Programme monitors the impact of trade and business on the environment and requires those offering technical assistance under the Prosperity Fund’s programmes to incorporate capacity building activities across all levels of civic society to ensure effective upskilling of business, government ministers and local people. Furthermore, the Prosperity Fund’s education programmes are best placed to highlight environmental issues to a younger audience, and foster a culture of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. These programmes offer an opportunity to increase awareness of local communities to environmental issues and hazards. As secondary education becomes more widespread within society, local people become more aware of the hazards they are facing and how to minimise risk. Once a threat has become normalised, it can be transferred into local knowledge and societies can embrace adaptability as a necessity in risk reduction (Bankoff, 2001).


Prosperity Fund programmes have the potential to support sustainable development initiatives and if, managed effectively, can simultaneously build prosperity, reduce poverty levels, increase international trade and advance sustainable development in an integrated way.

Sustainable urbanisation requires interconnected development plans which incorporate consideration for the environment at every step of the process, in all sectors. The Prosperity Fund Programmes are ideally placed to consider environmental issues at every step of the way. From upskilling staff to Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), the programmes can consider how their activities do no harm and, moreover, how they can improve the environmental situation in the targeted areas. 

The Prosperity Fund brings a vast amount of international and UK best practice into the projects. It is crucial that as these projects progress, that environmental concerns and the relationship with the environment is further embedded into the Theories of Change, as they will certainly play a vital role in increasing the inequality and vulnerability of poor and disadvantaged people that will suffer the most from aggravated environmental consequences.

View and download the Prosperity Fund Paper here. 

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