Environment & Urbanization

World leading environmental and urban studies journal

Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: What contribution can we make?


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Department for International Development

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THIS BOOK CONTAINS the main papers presented at a conference organized by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for its natural resources advisors to produce guidance on how to best promote improved and sustainable livelihoods for rural communities. It also highlights the main conclusions reached, arguing that the sustainable rural livelihood approach can play an important role in the elimination of poverty.
The book has three main sections, starting with an introduction summarizing the current thinking on the sustainable livelihoods approach by staff from DFID and outside organizations (research institutes and NGOs). This includes a framework for analyzing rural livelihoods, recognizing the many complex interactions it involves. The second part of the chapter suggests ways in which DFID activities, skills and partnerships will need to change in order to promote sustainable rural livelihoods and eventual poverty eradication.
This is followed by a set of “key issues” papers addressing policy consistency and looking at the relationship between sector-wide approaches and decentralization of sustainable livelihoods (Chapters 2 and 3). Chapters 4 and 5 seek to expand the traditional concept of “rural” by examining livelihood diversification and rural/urban linkages. The last section has papers on “entry points” that examine the contribution to sustainable rural livelihoods that can be made by involvement in particular areas - including natural resource sub-sectors (forests and livestock) to issues such as ethical trade. Throughout, the emphasis is on people rather than resources. The final chapter summarizes key points from the less
formal sessions of the conference, including contributions from UNDP and the Institute of Development Studies.
The aim of the book is to widen the debate around DFID's commitment to sustainable rural livelihoods. It is an important step in opening up the dialogue on the “livelihood approach” and how DFID personnel and others can work to promote this in their day-to-day operations.

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Published by and available from the Department for International Development, 94 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5JL, UK.

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