ACC Network:Resources:Sustainable livelihoods

ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security

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Posted 20 July 1998

Resources: Sustainable Livelihoods

See also Resources on: Natural Resource and Environmental Management (NREM) | Building a pluralistic network | World Food Summit/IFADEVAL

ACC Task-Force on Full Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods

At the World Summit for Social Development, world leaders committed themselves to "promoting the goal of full employment as a basic priority of our economic and social policies, and to enabling all men and women to attain secure and sustainable livelihoods through freely chosen productive employment and work". To give effect to the commitments towards full employment, made at the Social Summit and at other world summits, the ACC Task Force on Full Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods was set up in October 1995 with the International Labour Office (ILO) as its coordinator.

The Task Force decided to undertake a number of comprehensive employment policy reviews in order to: assess policies related to employment and sustainable livelihoods; provide lessons of experience; and suggest policy alternatives for the achievement of full employment and reduction of poverty. Policy reviews were undertaken in Chile, Hungary and Nepal (led by the ILO), Morocco and Zambia (led by UNDP), Indonesia (led by the World Bank) and Mozambique (led by UNESCO) from August 1996 to January 1997. On the basis of these country reviews, the ILO prepared a synthesis report.

The report points to a number of proven ways to promote employment and sustainable livelihoods, including: achieving continued economic growth that makes good use of the assets that the poor own, i.e. labour; investing in human capital; removing distortions that discriminate against the poor and the unemployed; and targeting interventions towards the vulnerable and the extremely poor. While it acknowledges that market reforms are essential for achieving sustainable employment growth and poverty alleviation, it recognises that they need to be supplemented by policies and programmes designed to strengthen the capacity of key groups, including the poor, to respond adequately to new opportunities. The report also underscores the role of good governance, and the need to encourage social dialogue and to attain national consensus on policies that influence employment and sustainable livelihoods.

For further information on the ACC Task Force on Full Employment and Sustainable Livelihoods or to obtain a copy of this synthesis report, please contact the Employment and Labour Market Policies Branch, International Labour Office (ILO), Geneva; tel: +41.22.799.6538; fax: +41.22.799.7678; e-mail: or go to

Sustainable Livelihoods Programme in Pakistan

UNDP Pakistan addresses the issue of poverty eradication and sustainable human development through three thematic programme areas: i) governance; ii) gender; and iii) sustainable livelihoods (SL) which form the core of the first Country Cooperation Framework (CCF) for 1998-2003.

The SL Programme in Pakistan is aimed at addressing poverty eradication in the context of the poverty and environment nexus. The high incidence of poverty in both rural and urban areas, population growth and on-going development efforts are putting ever increasing pressure on the country's limited natural resources. Deforestation, desertification, water and air pollution and other forms of environmental degradation have reached alarming levels. A reversal of this trend calls for the promotion of sustainable public and private consumption and production practices, and a greater awareness of the need to incorporate environmental considerations into poverty eradication and economic development efforts.

Additional information about the Sustainable Livelihoods Programme in Pakistan may be obtained from the Director (Development) in the office of the United Nations Development Programme: 9th Floor, UN Offices, Saudi Pak Towers, F-7, Jinnah Avenue, Islamabad, Pakistan; fax: (92-51) 279080/279083; or on the Internet site of UNDP Pakistan at:

Social Mobilisation for Sustainable Livelihoods for the Poor and Disadvantaged (SMSL)

SMSL is a three year Pacific regional program which was started in January 1998. It has four mutually supporting objectives: i) to help countries identify who are the poor, where they live and why are they impoverished so that governments and CSOs can better plan and implement projects to improve their livelihoods; ii) to identify and help remove legal and bureaucratic barriers preventing the delivery of services to the poor or which makes it difficult for the poor to earn a dignified living; to promote, at the community level, the implementation of practical and innovative projects that will enhance the livelihoods of the poor with particular emphasis on building capacity of operating sustainable microfinance services for the poor; iv) to provide technical support to the other 3 UNDP Pacific country offices as well as to other UNDP sub-regional and national programs and projects to optimise the use of resources for improving the livelihoods of the poor.

For more information, please contact: Program Manager, UNDP/UNOPS SMSL, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji; fax : (679) 301 976; e-mail :; or go to:

Sustainable Livelihoods Research Programme

The Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex is engaged in research, in collaboration with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), aimed at exploring alternative routes to sustainable livelihoods in contrasting agro-ecological settings. Two main questions are being addressed: i) what institutional arrangements enable some poor people to achieve sustainable, secure livelihoods, when others fail?; ii) what policies can support both groups?

For further information contact: Jeremy Swift or Annette Sinclair at IDS, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9RE, UK; tel: +44-1273-606261; fax: 621202; e-mail: or go to

Community Adaptation and Sustainable Livelihoods (CASL)

IISD has successfully developed and applied an approach which brings together community-identified adaptive strategies, policy analysis, and technologies in order to start a process of helping communities to build sustainable livelihood systems. Find out more about this approach at This Internet site includes information on: possible indicators of sustainable livelihoods as well as a large annotated bibliography, in addition to contact details and Internet links to several other organizations engaged in projects and research related to sustainable livelihoods.

Or contact: International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3B 0Y4; tel: 1 (204) 958-7700; fax: 1 (204) 958-7710; e-mail:

Participatory Research for Sustainable Livelihoods: A guide for field projects on adaptive strategies

Written by Keith Rennie and Naresh Singh, and published by IISD in 1996, this Guidebook looks at long term adaptations in the organization of the livelihoods of ordinary people in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and includes experiences and lessons learned from the IISD project on adaptive strategies for sustainable livelihoods in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). The Guide is likely to provide a valuable resource tool for prospective project implementers as well as those involved in the design of field projects and policy analysis.

It is available on-line at or from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3B 0Y4; tel: 1 (204) 958-7700; fax: 1 (204) 958-7710; e-mail:

Social Innovation towards Sustainable Livelihoods for Youth

Increasing numbers of young people in developing countries are faced with sustaining livelihoods under very difficult conditions. In response, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has initiated a research exploration into the potential contribution that enterprise and entrepreneurism can make to improving the livelihoods of youth in developing countries. The purpose of the activity is to make a preliminary determination as to the possible effects of these approaches under a variety of developing country circumstances.

The research includes studies in Francophone Africa, Anglophone Africa, and Latin America. These studies will explore the broad socio-economic factors shaping development in each region with particular attention to youth enterprise and entrepreneurship. In addition, each study will focus on specific countries that illustrate regional themes. Country studies have already been arranged for Kenya, Zambia, the Gambia, South Africa, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. Go to for more information.

Guidelines for the integration of sustainable agriculture and rural development into agricultural policies

Published under the FAO Agricultural Policy and Economic Development Series, these Guidelines aim to assist practitioners to integrate the concept of sustainable agriculture and rural development in agricultural policies.

The FAO Council has defined sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) as "...the management and conservation of the natural resource base, and the orientation of technological and institutional change in such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human needs for future generations...". The focus of SARD according to the author of the Guidelines, J. Brian Hardaker, is on the "sustainable welfare of humans, living now and those not yet born". In order words, it is about "sustainable livelihoods, now and in the future."

To obtain a copy of this publication, contact: Mr. J. Tschirley, Senior Officer, Environment and Natural Resources Service, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 01000 Rome, Italy; e-mail:

Database on national legislation

For more than 40 years, FAO has collected legislation on food and agriculture and disseminated it through the publication Food and Agricultural Legislation. Now, technological progress opens up new ways to exchange information. The Legal Office is taking advantage of this to offer a more comprehensive and up-to-date legal information service through a computerized data base "FAOLEX". FAOLEX contains treaties, laws and regulations on food, agriculture and renewable natural resources world-wide. The FAOLEX database can be searched with different tools and searches can be conducted in English, French and Spanish. Go to for further information on making use of FAOLEX.

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