The consensus of the agency-based discussion groups was that their unnecessarily rigid requirements for gaining project approval presented major barriers to creating programmes that were flexible and demand-driven - i.e. characteristic of programmes adopting an SL approach. Although agencies have begun to address these issues, further changes are needed.
IFAD. IFAD emphasized the need for better diagnosis, more flexible project designs, better continuity between diagnosis, design and implementation and well-focused supervision of projects.
RIGIDITY VERSUS FLEXIBILITY - ZAMBIA CASE STUDY
There are many constraints on incorporating a flexible process approach into a project proposal, including the discrepancy between (1) the need to predetermine and quantify project outputs and objectives and (2) the budgetary and planning flexibility needed to allow communities to plan and implement their own actions based on their assessment and prioritization. On the one hand, donors and implementing agencies require that project proposals provide a common reference point for project implementation, monitoring and evaluation. On the other hand, participatory projects must be sufficiently flexible to respond to community needs when they arise.
IFAD participants believed that employing SL concepts and approaches could add value to IFAD projects by reinforcing the importance of concepts already understood at IFAD but not always put into practice. Areas where improvements are possible include refining operational approaches to effective poverty alleviation, household food security, grassroots capacity-building and participatory development. In addition, the value of placing these in a holistic framework was recognized.
IFAD recognized opportunities to promote SL approaches in improving flexible and participatory elements of project design and implementation. These included IFAD's strong commitment to building strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations; its ongoing emphasis on adopting the dynamic logical framework approach and, in particular, more fully integrating it into design and planning; and direct supervision of 15 projects, which provides opportunities for participatory process monitoring.
IFAD delegates also recognized the great potential for future partnerships with the other agencies represented at the Forum. These included: tapping DFID expertise in project design and monitoring; working with FAO on improving diagnostic and monitoring processes and continued collaboration on FIVIMS; benefiting from WFP's experience in vulnerability analysis and targeting; targeting with UNDP one or more countries to introduce SL approaches into the CCA/UNDAF process; and accessing CARE International's multilingual field and training experience for IFAD project staff and country-based pilot projects.
DFID. For DFID, the main challenge is to integrate SL approaches in those parts of the agency that are not concerned with natural resource management. SL approaches have been slow to penetrate fields such as economic policy, infrastructure, health and social development, which have adopted sector-wide approaches. The main capacity constraint is a shortage of practitioners with appropriate skills to implement SL approaches.
WFP. WFP has already introduced some SL concepts into its work, namely people-centred approaches, poverty focus, vulnerability analysis, gender analysis, asset creation (broadly defined to include human capital) and partnerships. However, certain aspects of SL approaches need more work, such as:
M&E (reviewing systems to use assets as the common unit of accountability and feedback);
ways of incorporating feedback into project management;
activity selection (selecting activities by target groups rather than governments or donors and intersectoral work arising from livelihood systems diagnosis rather than existing institutional links);
The final work of the Forum was to formulate strategies for internalizing SL principles and approaches within the work of each of the agencies.
UNDP institutionalization strategy
Perform self-critical diagnosis based on external evaluation.
Develop UNDP synthesis of UNDP SL achievements and potential (glossy)
Sensitize administrator through moral persuasion.
Organize high-level technical workshop on SLA, co-hosted by Rockefeller
and UNDP in collaboration with DFID and FAO.
Have PM/Ns brief UNDP divisional directors on outcome of this workshop.
Redefine UNDP/HQ SL team.
Produce series of papers on policy/institutional dimensions of SLA
in collaboration with DFID .
Become member of or help establish effective SLA policy networks - multilaterals, bilaterals, academic.
WFP and SL approaches. The priority concerns are:
Incorporate lessons from pilot activities in activity design and management.
Develop minimum information sets based on livelihood elements.
Advocate policy change through UNDAF.
Adapt key livelihood elements to recovery and rehabilitation (IDPs).
In the application of livelihood elements to FAAD policy implementation, WFP will:
build livelihood elements into FAAD Task Force work plan, emphasizing capacity-building;
build livelihood elements into its Vulnerability and Analysis Mapping (VAM) work plan;
mobilize additional resources for WFP/counterparts' capacity-building;
ensure that its gender analysis tools and methods are SLA-compatible;
networking/share with partners its SLA lessons and experiences.
FAO internalization strategy. The FAO Strategic Framework (2000-2015) approved by the 1999 FAO Conference includes sustainable livelihoods as one of its goals, therefore, it is mandatory.
SL principles (rather than a particular framework) should be more widely and systematically incorporated into FAO's normative and field programme.
There are different stakeholders with different needs within FAO.
How can FAO internalize the guiding principles?
1. Include initiatives in the Medium Term Plan (MTP) currently being developed (for 2002-2007) and move quickly to consolidate potential interdepartmental initiatives.
2. Work towards a strategy for impact at multiple levels:
Continue to develop a strategy to engage senior management.
Strengthen linkages between headquarters and the regional and country levels. (Pull in regional and subregional officers, multidisciplinary teams, using SL approaches as a means of working together - facilitate dialogue, share experiences and capacity-building; involvement in pilot sites; exchange of information.)
Develop country strategies that include FAO, United Nations agencies, donors, NGOs, CBOs, government and Rome agency (FAO, IFAD, WFP) collaboration.
Use DFID, UNDP and CARE experiences and frameworks. (Don't reinvent the wheel.)
3. Build on FAO's existing initiatives:
Make IWG-PA a driving force for internalization.
Create inter-agency committees (e.g. FIVIMS).
ACC Network on Rural Development and Food Security.
4. Improve communications and learning opportunities:
E-mail network with interested officers and partners.
Incorporate principles in websites, briefings and seminars.
Training in developing partnerships.
5. Develop partnerships both within and outside FAO:
Potential initiative: joint pilot projects - country-level, multipartner for the implementation of SL principles (action research).