1. Agencies agreed strongly on the guiding principles that underpin sustainable livelihoods (SL) approaches.
2. The SL framework is a diagnostic tool that has to be made context-specific.
3. The tools and methods used to put SL approaches into practice are not specific to SL methodology.
4. SL approaches add value to our work because they:
shift the focus from resources to people and from livelihood constraints to people's strengths;
emphasize the relationship between people's assets and their resilience in the face of external shocks, highlighting how poverty contributes to vulnerability;
focus on the synergy between natural, physical, financial, human and social capital;
stress outcomes rather than outputs;
prioritize early diagnosis, demand-driven implementation and the establishment of feedback mechanisms;
emphasize project design as an iterative process involving continual learning and adaptation on the basis of feedback from unfolding implementation;
ensure economic, institutional, social and environmental sustainability through the adoption of exit strategies in the early stages of programme implementation;
foster interdisciplinary teamwork;
stress the interdependence between "real-life experiences" and the broader policy context as a basis for forging bottom-up micro-macro linkages to bring about policy changes;
encourage innovative partnerships.
5. The participatory approaches that underpin the SL guiding principles are not unique to SL approaches and need to be adapted.
6. A participatory analysis of livelihoods, differentiated by socio-economic strata, gender and stages in household cycle, should be conducted early on to determine entry points; overinvestment in research and analysis should be avoided by building on existing secondary data and local institutional knowledge and relying as much as possible on pilot interventions accompanied by participatory process monitoring.
7. Holistic diagnosis may result in interventions in a single sector or at a few key entry points, provided that they address the concerns of the poor.
8. Initial entry points can be sectoral, and can then widen to include other sectors.
9. Grassroots institutional capacity-building and risk-management capacity are crucial to sustainability.
10. SL approaches must consider the interaction between livelihood systems at the micro level and their policy environment.
11. SL-driven policy analysis must consider policy content and processes.
12. SL approaches upstream are valuable, provided that they are linked to micro-level ground-truthing. Policy changes that are driven from below - that have a strong grassroots power base and are supported by civil society - are likely to be more lasting.
13. Certain issues need further clarification:
SL approaches may help us to understand the poor, but do they help us reach them?
What are the most effective entry points for SL approaches?
What is the best way to analyse the policy context and to bring about policy changes?
Does the SL framework give adequate guidance on how to prioritize possible project interventions?
What outcome indicators can we use to assess the impact of SL approaches?
What are the perceived omissions or inadequacies of the DFID SL framework?