New Policy in Focus magazine: reduction of rural poverty is pivotal to the achievement of the SDGs

By Denise Marinho dos Santos, Communications Officer

Brasília, 12 April 2019 – The reduction of rural poverty is both urgent and necessary for societies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as it is intertwined with global challenges, from climate change effects to global food supply provision and gender equity. This is one of the main conclusions of the new issue of the Policy in Focus magazine: “Rural poverty reduction in the 21st century”.

Even though global poverty has decreased over the last several decades, including in rural areas, poverty remains a persistent feature of rural areas and societies: about 80 per cent of the world’s extremely poor people live in rural areas. By setting the goal of ending poverty for all people everywhere, the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development also expresses the urgency for more efficient and effective development efforts in rural areas.

Against this background, this new issue assesses the historical context and current state of rural poverty, tackles key factors and challenges for poverty reduction in rural areas and discusses the interconnectivity between urban and rural environments. It features specialist guest editors Ryan Nehring (Cornell University) and Ana Paula de O Campos (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations—FAO), presenting 14 articles with a wide range of perspectives from authors ranging from international organisations to academia.

Carlos Oya (SOAS) presents a critical view of the ‘pro-smallholder’ approach to rural poverty reduction, reminding us that the poorest people in rural areas typically rely on wages for their livelihoods. Linden McBride (St Mary’s College of Maryland) and Esteban J. Quiñones (University of Wisconsin-Madison) discuss the specificities of the persistence of poverty and explain ‘poverty traps’, considering the dynamics of different contexts and stressing that there is no single policy ‘panacea’ given the heterogeneity of the dynamics of rural poverty.

In the light of the 2030 Agenda, Carolina Trivelli (Institute of Peruvian Studies) analyses recent gains and remaining challenges in reducing rural poverty and in achieving the SDGs in Latin America.  The SDGs are also a key point in the article by Ian Scoones (Institute for Development Studies), who proposes the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods framework as an approach to measure progress of the SDGs worldwide.

Maya Takagi and Ana Paula O Campos (FAO) lay out the key components of a multisectoral strategy for rural poverty reduction. In their article, they posit that coordination between different stakeholders and the participation of rural poor people themselves are necessary political components for this strategy.

The following two article focus on resilience and exclusion. Marygold Walsh-Dilley (University of New Mexico) gets to the heart of building resilience in the face of climate-related shocks and natural disasters to reduce poverty and inequality in rural areas. Ben McKay (University of Calgary) describes how the structural exclusion of poor people from rights or control over natural resources hurts their ability to sustain rural livelihoods.  Taneesha Mohan (Stockholm Environment Institute at York) and Amanda Flaim (Michigan State University) discuss how access to and control over resources can promote more inclusive migration flows as a last resort for rural populations, presenting recommendations for harnessing migration as a productive force in the reduction of rural poverty.

Social protection is another important topic related to the reduction of rural povertyAndre Allieu, Ana Paula O Campo and Natalia Winder Rossi (FAO) outline the explicit and implicit barriers that remain for rural populations to access social protection. In turn, Simon Blondeau, Juan Garcia-Cebolla and Margret Vidar (FAO) write about how a human-rights based approach has allowed for many policies and programmes to be implemented in rural areas, from the right to food to the right to work. They describe the ways in which rights-based approaches can be used in rural poverty reductions strategies.  

Jill Bernstein (Independent consultant), Nancy Johnson (Independent Science and Partnership Council/CGIAR) and Aslihan Arslan (International Fund for Agricultural Development/IFAD) use the SDGs targets as a framework to assess gains made in rural poverty reduction thus far. They provide a broad framework for further data collection on the linkages between investments in agricultural and rural development and their potential impact on the SDGs

Raquel Tebaldi (IPC-IG) and Ana Paula de la O Campos (FAO) contribute to the debate on how social protection is a policy area that has shown potential in reducing rural poverty. As the specific needs of rural women have been systematically absent in the design of many social protection policies, the authors identify key bottlenecks.

Bringing the issue to a close, Youjin B. Chung (Clark University) identifies the limitations of the common policy response of promoting resource equity through individual property reforms, stressing a focus on gender relations as a way to reframe the debate for gendered forms of inequality and poverty.

Read more
Policy in Focus: "Public Policies for the Strengthening of Family Farming in the Global South"








Friday, April 12, 2019 - 13:45