By integrating population, health, and environment (PHE
) efforts, development programs can make a difference in people’s lives in a real and meaningful way – one which they understand, appreciate, and desire, said Roger-Mark De Souza
in this interview with ECSP. De Souza is the vice president of research and director of the Climate Program at Population Action International.
The PHE approach “allows itself to be applied at different levels,” said De Souza. “It’s easily implemented at the level of a village, or a town, or a city where a number of individuals can say ‘these are concrete results and outcomes that we want in our lives and that we want to live our lives in an integrated way.’”
PHE interventions not only provide tangible results to individuals, said De Souza, but they also help accomplish broader policy objectives, including improving health and alleviating poverty.
“There are lessons to be learned from different areas of integration, not just population, health, and environment,” De Souza said. For example, initiatives that integrate food security and HIV/AIDS deal with issues “similar to the ones we deal with in integrating population, health, and environment,” he said. Lessons and experiences need to be shared between these communities, but they also share similar advantages: From a cost-efficiency stand point, integration simply provides greater “bang for the buck,” he said.