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Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge facing the world today and an overarching objective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The mainstreaming of poverty-environment objectives into policy, budgeting, programming and investments by the United Nations Development Programme–United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP–UNEP) Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2018, and its predecessor entity, the UNDP–UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative, demonstrates how improved environmental sustainability can address this challenge and contribute to poverty eradication.

The focus for Poverty-Environment Action is on deepening and broadening poverty-environment mainstreaming and aligning finance and investment with poverty, environment and climate objectives, in the face of the changing forms and conditions of poverty found in the world today.

Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals has embarked on eight full-fledged country projects — in Bangladesh, Lao PDR, Malawi, Mauritania, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nepal and Rwanda — and six technical assistance efforts — in Indonesia, South Africa and Tanzania; an establishment of virtual platform; and via strategic partnerships with the Asian Development Bank, GIZ and UN Women, in which substantive gains had been made through Phase 2 (2014–2018) of the Poverty-Environment Initiative, and that had high potential to deliver on the shift in investments expected from Poverty-Environment Action.

The overall intended outcome for Poverty-Environment Action is "Strengthened integration of poverty-environment objectives into policies, plans, regulations and investments of partner countries to accelerate delivery of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals."