Our thinking on reconciling economic, environmental, social and gender concerns

Is there really a way to drive economic growth and poverty reduction in a way that is gender equitable, environmentally beneficial (or at least neutral), and socially positive? This was the driving question for a major research programme commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), implemented by the UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and coordinated by Dr. Chris Coles of Coles Development Consulting Ltd.

The ODI commissioned seven studies in Africa and Asia covering agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and forest products. These took an action research approach to learning, with interventions monitored for impact and the lessons channeled back into amended implementation. The volume of evidence for ‘what works’ was overwhelming — so much so that we wrote a book!

In order to embed our learning within the context of what was already known, we undertook a systematic review of the effectiveness of different ‘upgrading strategies’ in leveraging positive social, environmental and gender outcomes. We presented the gender component of this research as a background paper for the UN FAO.

You can read the book, which developed its own conceptual framework for thinking about these issues, here.

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