The Role of the State in Rural Poverty Reduction: Where do Sector-Wide and

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The Role of the State in

Rural Poverty Reduction:

Where do Sector-Wide and

Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches Fit in?
June 15th, 2000

Oxford Policy Management,

6 St Aldates Courtyard,

38 St Aldates,


Table of contents

Introduction 5


Poverty reduction – the changing context 6

Effective Anti-Poverty Strategy and the Role of the State 7

Evolving consensus on priorities for poverty reduction 7

The role of the state in poverty reduction 8


The conceptual basis of SWAPs 11

The contribution of sustainable livelihoods approaches 11

Informing SWAPs through Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches 13

Opportunities to integrate SLAs into components of the SWAPs process 14

Using SWAPs to enhance the sustainability of rural livelihoods 16

A more pragmatic approach to sector-wide approaches? 18


Including the poor: participation in public policy 21

Rural Poverty in Pakistan 22

Pakistan’s NR Policies and the Rural Poor 22

The Pakistan PPA and rural livelihoods 23

The Pakistan PPA as a process 24

52.The purpose of a PPA is to initiate a broad process that establishes a dialogue between the poor and government. Its success, therefore, is judged by the degree to which the views of the poor are incorporated in an ongoing fashion in the formation and implementation of public policies. In order to maximise the impact of the PPA in Pakistan, the process will be characterised by: (i) a lead role for government with senior government figures chairing PPA steering groups at federal and province level; (ii) national ownership; (iii) decentralisation to province and district level; (iv) implementation through an alliance of federal, provincial and district government, and key local NGOs with experience in researching the complex relationship between gender inequalities and poverty; (v) formal links with federal, provincial and district government poverty monitoring cells; (vi) a formal link to the implementation and monitoring of the PRSP; (vii) a communications strategy to support dissemination; and, (viii) a dissemination programme that will include: workshops for government donors and NGOs, presentations to parliamentary standing committees and key government committees, briefings for journalists, local and national screenings of a PPA video. 24


Conclusions 25

Guidelines for DFID 26

References 28

This paper looks at the linkages between sector-wide and sustainable-livelihoods approaches in the context of poverty reduction. The paper notes that there is a two-way relationship between the two approaches – SLAs provide one means by which SWAPs can focus more effectively on poverty reduction, whilst SWAPs provide an entry point by means of which government and donor initiatives can be made supportive of the livelihoods of the poor.
The paper notes a growing focus on the part of donors on poverty reduction, born of concern about the lack of impact of existing approaches on global poverty. Critical assessment of the determinants of poverty has led to an emerging consensus about the impact of low levels of empowerment, security and opportunity, and high levels of vulnerability. This consensus forms the basis for debate about the potential role of governments and donors in fighting poverty, particularly in providing a facilitating environment for private investment and collective organisation for the empowerment of the poor, and in the financing of services and infrastructure.
SWAPs offer one potential means of improving the poverty impact of government and donor expenditure. In principle, they do this by institutionalising an effective and sustainable cycle of policy formulation and implementation, and using national systems, thereby reducing transaction costs, and increasing transparency and accountability. To date, however, SWAPs have had mixed success in the natural resources sector, largely as a result of problems with the dominant means by which sector-wide approaches have been implemented – the sector investment programme. But increasing awareness of the shortcomings of ASIPs has led to a more coherent view, in which SWAPs are seen as a long-term process, with objectives including stronger management and policy capacity within government, a more coherent, broadly owned sector policy framework, and greater attention to financial sustainability.
The paper presents a framework that indicates the relationships between SLAs and SWAPs. The two approaches are seen as broadly complementary, with SLAs helping to ensure that SWAPs emphasise the principles of being participatory, cross-sectoral, dynamic and sustainable, and SWAPs providing a means of strengthening the poverty impact of: the vision and strategies for poverty reduction; the quality of public expenditure management and of institutions; and learning and monitoring processes. A case study, drawing on experiences from the Pakistan PPA, illustrates how participatory approaches are being used to strengthen poverty impact of public policies.
The paper concludes with a set of guidelines that indicate the core areas upon which DFID and other donors need to focus if they are to exploit potential synergy between these two processes. In particular, the conclusion is drawn that the modest successes in implementing sector approaches raise questions about how best to address core SWAP issues without returning to the types of project-based approach which have had limited impact on poverty in the past.

The Role of the State in Rural Poverty Reduction: Where do Sector Wide and Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches Fit In?1

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