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Sustainable livelihoods

The Sustainable Development Department assists Member Nations to explore and design policies and strategies for achieving sustainable livelihoods in different socio-economic and agro-ecological settings.

Livelihoods consist of the capabilities, assets - both material and social resources - and activities required for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, and provide net benefits to other livelihoods locally and more widely, both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.

The sustainable livelihoods approach addresses two key questions: What institutional arrangements enable some poor people to achieve sustainable, secure livelihoods, when others fail? What policies and strategies can support the poor?

SD undertakes studies and provides policy and programme support Member Nations to explore and identify alternative routes to sustainable livelihoods. It assists countries to analyze the core elements in fostering sustainable livelihoods: the dynamics of the natural resource base; strategies for poverty reduction and the promotion of well-being; the reduction of risk and the need to initiate coping behaviour; and the promotion of positive adaptation to change. It also undertakes studies and analyses aimed at developing and applying suitable indicators of sustainable livelihoods.

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