Integrated development approaches

PSN promotes integrated sustainable development approaches that respond to the complex interactions between humans, their health and wellbeing, and the environment.

We believe that environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation depends, in part, on ensuring that everyone, and particularly communities and couples living in environmentally fragile regions, have the ability to manage the size of their families as they wish.

Population, Health, Environment (PHE)

An innovative way of addressing both population and consumption issues in an integrated way is through a Population, Health, Environment (PHE) approach.

Integrated Population, Health, Environment (PHE) programmes take a pragmatic and holistic approach to the interconnected issues of poverty, unsustainable use of natural resources and environmental degradation. Integrating these factors creates synergies and reverses this vicious cycle, improving both the health of local communities and the ecosystems upon which they depend.1

Over the last decade or so, a small but growing movement of community-based conservation projects in areas of high biodiversity have incorporated reproductive health, and sometimes additional livelihood and development interventions, into their work. This includes work by PSN members Blue Ventures Conservation, Conservation Through Public Health and PHE Ethiopia Consortium.

Credit: PAI

Experience from these projects has shown that integrated programmes provide multiple benefits. Not only can the primary project goals be reached, such as environmental protection and improved reproductive health, but also poverty alleviation, food security, increased gender equality and greater community participation can be achieved.

Addressing interactions between people, health and the environment therefore makes conservation programmes more effective and sustainable than traditional vertical programmes, as well as more cost effective.2,3

Efforts to scale-up programmes in Madagascar and the Philippines has been successful, demonstrating the scope for wider replication of PHE programmes in other priority areas for biodiversity conservation and community development.4

Model projects

PSN supports and showcases innovative community-based projects which serve as good practice models demonstrating the wide-spread benefits of investment in voluntary family planning programmes.

Over the years PSN has collaborated with a number of integrated model projects, many of which we continue to work with today:

Credit: CHAT

  • Blue Ventures Conservation is a UK-based, award-winning marine conservation organisation, which has an incredibly successful community-led PHE project in Andavadoaka, a coastal village in Madagascar.
  • Community Health Africa Trust (CHAT) is a community-based organisation in Northern Kenya which offers health services via mobile health clinics to poor, remote, nomadic communities who lack access to health resources. 

Credit: CtPH

  • Conservation through public health (CtPH) works in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to achieve biodiversity conservation by enabling people, wildlife and livestock to coexist through improving their quality of life in and around national parks.
  • Path Foundation Philippines, Inc is home of the pioneering Integrated Population and Coastal Resource Management project combining reproductive health, marine conservation, livelihoods and food security.
  • PHE Ethiopia Consortium is an Addis Ababa-based consortium that works with members to enhance and promote the integration of population, health and environment.
  • The Zisizeni Association for Development works to increase understanding of HIV/AIDs and promote access to reproductive health services in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa. 

Research and publications highlights


  1. USAID (2008) Balancing People and the Environment to Promote Resilient Communities. 
  2. Pielemier, J. (2005) Review of population-health-environment programs supported by the Packard Foundation and USAID. 
  3. Mohan, V. and Shellard, T (2014). Providing family planning services to remote communities in areas of high biodiversity through a Population-Health-Environment programme in Madagascar. Reproductive Health Matters, 22, 43, 93-103.
  4. De Souza, R-M. (2009) The integration imperative: How to improve development programs by linking population, health and environment. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
  5. Population, Health and Environment Programmes: An Integrated Approach to Development Post-2015 (PSDA paper).