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This report aims to give a concise overview of some people-centred approaches to rural development that are being used, or have been used, in different areas of the world. The approaches covered here are the sustainable livelihoods approach, as is being developed by DfID; the gestion de terroirs approach; the farming systems approach; and some approaches that have been emerging from Latin America, and in particular ordenamiento territorial.

The discussion, here, of the sustainable livelihoods approach focuses on reviewing the major principles of the approach and opening the discussion of the SLA’s potential in the field. The sustainable livelihoods approach is an emerging and evolving approach to rural development, with a great potential to learn from other approaches in the field, and to successfully apply those in the battle against rural poverty.

The gestion de terroir approach has a longer history than the SLA and as such has many potential lessons to teach. In chapter 2 of this report, there is review of the approach, with an emphasis on these lessons. The key theme in this chapter is the weaknesses of the gestion de terroir approach and the potential for other people-centred approaches to learn from and adapt these weaknesses.

The discussion of the approaches emerging from Latin America involves a review of the practical experience of the integrated rural development schemes in Ceara, Brazil and Oaxaca, Mexico. The newer approach, ordenamiento territorial, is placed within the socio-economic and political context of Latin America in recent decades and its general features considered. The adaptation of the SLA to the Brazilian context is also outlined in this section.

Farming Systems is an approach that has been in place throughout the world for decades. Here the particular form of farming systems being reviewed is that version that is being adapted and developed in the FAO, under the direction of John Dixon. The aim of this chapter is simply to review the approach and discuss some of the features that make it useful for people-centred development.

There is then a comparative review of the people-centred approaches that have been covered, which is set up in a predominantly tabular fashion. The potential for all these approaches in successfully battling rural poverty emerges in this chapter.

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