The Department for International Development (DFID) commissioned a scoping study to inform the design of a £15-16m research programme to increase understanding about the relationships between the management of renewable natural resources (RNRs) and the achievement of inclusive growth.
The central question to be addressed by the research programme was how RNRs (fisheries, forestry, water and land resources) can best be managed to optimise inclusive growth and contribute to the welfare of poor people dependent on these resources for food security and livelihoods.
There is broad acceptance that rapid and sustained inclusive growth is the single most important way to reduce poverty. However, while many poor people in developing countries benefit from RNRs for their survival, their food security and their livelihoods, the relationship between those RNRs and inclusive growth is not entirely clear.
The management of RNRs has had a mixed history and management weaknesses, when combined with failures in markets, states and rights enforcement, have led to significant depletion of RNRs, dissipation of benefit flows, marginalisation of the poor and threats to the sustainability of RNR use. These weaknesses are further compounded by a series of exogenous factors which, in the past, have tended to be background trends but are now turning into large-scale and persistent shocks.These include climate change, increasing commodity and food prices, increasing fuels prices, mass migration of people and major shifts in globalised markets and investment.
Faced with this array of interacting factors and uncertainty, policy makers and RNR managers are struggling to make appropriate decisions regarding RNR management and the potential benefits of RNR to inclusive growth are being dissipated.
IMM Ltd led a multi-disciplinary team to implement the scoping study that addressed four areas:
- The links between RNR management and inclusive growth;
- The extent to which this is currently being understood through existing research processes and where knowledge gaps exist;
- The comparative advantage that DFID might have in addressing these gaps and adding value to others involved in research;
- Options for managing the implementation of any future research programme.
The work was undertaken between June 2008 and January 2009.