Population, Health, and Environment: Collaborating for Solutions

Linking Family Planning and Global Development

Daniel Adero

CCP | Knowledge Management Specialist
PHE champions in Bisoro Commune, Burundi at their demonstration site.

PHE champions in Bisoro Commune, Burundi at their demonstration site.

On September 27-28, 2017, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), in partnership with USAID/Kenya East Africa, the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project and Population Reference Bureau (PRB), will host a regional Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) Symposium in Entebbe, Uganda. The theme of the symposium is Enhancing Resiliency and Economic Development through Strengthened PHE Programming.

As home to one of the world’s fastest growing populations, East Africa is quickly losing its biodiversity due to changing human habitation patterns, deforestation, pollution, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, and introduction of invasive species. The region is confronting major public health challenges associated with an unusual triple burden of disease, high maternal mortality ratio, and child mortality rates.

These health and environmental challenges are interrelated and require multi-sectoral solutions. PHE programs offer an integrated approach to addressing these concerns. PHE can positively influence population growth, health, and environmental conservation patterns by enhancing community resilience and helping stakeholders balance environmental protection, natural resource use, and human well-being.

Following up on the 2015 PHE conference held in Kisumu, Kenya, the primary purpose of this year’s symposium is to take stock of PHE policy and programming contributions toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). PHE programming has since strengthened within the region, and the East African Community (EAC) secretariat worked hand-in-hand with LVBC to develop a regional 2016-2021 PHE Strategic Plan that will further guide the process.

During the symposium, PHE stakeholders will share what they have been working on in their various fields to strengthen programming, implementation, documentation, monitoring and evaluation, and policymaking. Sessions will also focus on exploring innovative tools, techniques, lessons learned, and best practices. Attendees, including policymakers, programmers, implementers, and beneficiaries, will work together to develop a road map that will strengthen PHE program design and implementation across the region.

Ms. Pascasie Butoyi, a PHE champion in Bisoro Commune, Burundi, and her husband demonstrating how the tip-tap hand washing facility works.

Ms. Pascasie Butoyi, a PHE champion in Bisoro Commune, Burundi, and her husband demonstrating how the tip-tap hand washing facility works. 

The PHE symposium intends to reinvigorate ongoing global and regional discussions on how to mainstream population and health into environmental issues and other development agendas. It hopes to consolidate gains made since the 2015 conference and new interventions that have been undertaken, bringing these efforts to the forefront of the conversation. To this end, the symposium organizers have set the following objectives:

  • Provide a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences in PHE policy, advocacy, and programming efforts.
  • Identify and prioritize ways to integrate PHE into national and regional strategies and institutional frameworks.
  • Discuss the role of technology and innovation in improving health and environmental conservation outcomes.
  • Share knowledge management strategies, approaches, and products that support PHE practice, policies, and advocacy.
  • Identify opportunities for resource mobilization to support scale-up of PHE policy and programming efforts.

Supported by USAID/Kenya East Africa, the symposium will not only be a platform for evaluating implementation of the 2015 conference resolutions, but will also serve as a vehicle for accelerating PHE programming within the East African region and beyond.

For more information, please visit LVBC online.