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May 2004

Announcement of a new publication

Participatory policy reform from a sustainable livelihoods perspective: Review of concepts and practical experiences

Livelihood Support Programme Working Paper Number 3


A more active involvement of the rural poor in policy making, either directly or through community-based and civil society organizations, would enhance their access to assets and services and benefit their livelihood and food security goals.

Policies have considerable impact on people's livelihoods. They influence the access people have to livelihoods assets and the strategic possibilities for employing these assets to reach favourable livelihood outcomes. However, policies developed at central level are often not responsive to the policy needs at local level and, therefore, not conducive to local livelihood strategies. Local populations, especially poor and marginalized groups, have often a very weak or only indirect influence on the policy framework affecting their livelihoods.

This existing gap between micro-level actions and macro-level policy making often results in policies and institutions that do not enable appropriate access of the rural poor to assets and services they require to improve their livelihoods and food security situation.

This paper examines ways to bridge this gap through the development and application of tested strategies and institutional mechanisms to support the participation of the rural poor in policy making.

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