Of global concern: rural livelihood dynamics and natural resource governance

Of global concern: rural livelihood dynamics and natural resource governance

Case studies of rural livelihood and natural resource governance issues

The global challenges of hunger, poverty and disease have led to an increasing focus within global initiatives - policies and strategies - on conditions and developments in rural areas in the South. The aim of this paper is to analyse and understand the rural livelihood dynamics and natural resource governance that are unfolding across continents. The authors attempts to document and analyse the complex processes and outcomes related to rural struggles for survival and improvement primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Latin America and to some extent in India and Sweden. The Swedish rural context shows that the challenges of rural development and natural resource governance are of global character.

The three themes that emerge from the findings of this paper are:

  • the complexity of livelihood systems, risk perceptions and responses to interventions
  • the crucial issue of access to and control of land
  • global governance creating a space for development from below.

Taken together, the three themes demonstrate that a framework for analysis of rural dynamics and natural resource management, with a bearing on governance and livelihood perspectives, add crucial understanding of the institutional, socio/economic and cultural complexities of rural areas and their interconnections with larger scales.