The SDC highly values collaboration with research institutes and centres of expertise on poverty issues. On this page, you will find a series of Briefing Notes prepared for the SDC by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
The Briefing Notes inform readers about poverty issues and policies addressing poverty. They present a condensed and synthesised introduction to current state of the art and have been specifically tailored for the SDC, its partners and interested development practitioners. The notes do not aim to address the full scope of what poverty means and how it can be understood, but rather to highlight several specific issues.
The Briefing Notes section is a collection of individual documents. Readers are encouraged to pick and choose those notes that are of interest and relevance to them. Links and references for further reading are provided in each note.
New Briefing Notes are uploaded regularly on this page. Your comments and questions are most welcome. We look forward to hearing from you.
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Briefing Note 2: Perceptions of Poverty: This Brief focuses on different perceptions of poverty; how it is perceived by poor people themselves, people who are not poor, and by development practitioners. In order to have a more complete picture of poverty, it is important to take into account subjective perceptions as well as objective measures. By taking perceptions into account, the dimensions of poverty that are important to poor people themselves can emerge, thereby contributing to a better understanding of the nature, causes and potential paths out of poverty.
Download (PDF, 134 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 3: Risks and Vulnerability: This brief argues that understanding risk and risk aversion is important when seeking to understand poverty. Exposure and vulnerability to risk overlap with poverty, but they are not synonymous. All people face risks - the point is how people, especially the poor, are able to deal with them. Measures to reduce risk and vulnerability are gaining importance on the development agenda, and it is increasingly recognised that reducing risks and vulnerability is essential for poverty reduction.
Download (PDF, 171 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 4: North-South Inequality: This brief presents a number of ways inequality is conceptualised - between the developed North and the developing South; between individual countries; within countries; and between individuals. Inequality occurs both as inequality of outcomes (e.g. different levels of income or life expectancy) and as inequality of opportunity (e.g. through discrimination and exclusion). The brief concludes that ignoring inequality in the pursuit of economic growth and income generation is an ineffective strategy, as there is a pronounced danger that this will lead to the accumulation of wealth by a few and a deepening of the poverty of many.
Download (PDF, 271 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 5: Inequality, Power and Social Exclusion in India: This brief explores the somewhat paradoxical state of affairs in India with regards to 'inequality, power and social exclusion'. On the one hand, since its independence India has demonstrated a longstanding political willingness to recognise different forms of inequality and exclusion and to use constitutional and legislative measures to address them. On the other hand, there continue to be large disparities in poverty levels, mortality rates, educational attainments and access to resources between regions, social groups and between men and women.
Download (PDF, 294 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 7: The OECD/DAC Poverty and Pro-Poor Growth Framework: This brief presents the multidimensional definition of poverty as promoted by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD. The DAC suggests that poverty definitions should be context-specific and should encompass the key deprivations faced by poor women and men. Donors, therefore, need to recognise the specific country context and be able to identify the binding political, social and economic factors that either drive or block change in a country.
Download (PDF, 193 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 8: Millenium Development Goals: This Briefing Note discusses the foundations of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), presents the goals, and discusses the pros and cons of these time-bound and specific goals and targets. It summarises some of the debates around the MDGs such as uneven progress in reaching the MDGs across regions, the thematic structure of the MDGs, or problems related to measuring success. The brief concludes that despite a number of shortcomings, the MDGs are a unique effort to galvanise international action around on set of development targets and an important tool to leverage action from the powerful.
Download (PDF, 228 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 9: Poverty Reduction Strategies: This Brief presents the history of PRSPs and highlights the key areas in which progress has been made over the past years: the long way from failed World Bank/IMF approaches of structural adjustment programmes (SAP) towards today’s second and third generation PRSs in which the political objective of poverty reduction is being reflected, rather than just providing another technocratic tool. In this spirit, it is a promising sign that underlying principles of the PRSP are increasingly being incorporated into regular planning processes and that PRSPs have turned into growth strategies and national development plans with much more country ownership. The briefing note finally illustrates the difficulties for donors to ensure long-term aid delivery with little policy conditionality, while local taxpayers still require short–term tangible results. Download (PDF, 221 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 10: Equity and Empowerment: This paper introduces the concepts of empowerment and equity and discusses how interlinked these two concepts are. It highlights the benefits of a development agenda that focuses simultaneously on empowerment and equity, and suggests what such an agenda might look like. Empowerment of poor and marginalised people and equity contribute to both wellbeing and the achievement of equality. They also tend to reinforce one another, as both contribute to addressing inequalities, which in turn drive imbalances in power. Empowerment and equity can be seen as ends in their own right, from a moral or social justice perspective, and also as processes or principles that contribute to development’s core goals of reducing poverty and inequality. <>
Download (PDF, 239 KB): [en]
Briefing Note 11: Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to Understand and Tackle Poverty: This briefing note presents the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF) developed by DFID. SLFs enable coherent analysis of livelihoods, risk, vulnerability and poverty. They are powerful tools for identifying the key drivers of poverty, the factors that push people into poverty, and the potential interrupters or factors that provide pathways out of poverty. The focus of this brief is on the analytical framework and lesson how the SLF can guide practitioners to develop pro-poor programmes.
Download (PDF, 254 KB):[en]
Briefing Note 12: Rural Livelihoods Systems: This brief presents an adaptation to the DFID livelihoods framework. It is based on a shift in emphasis of sustainability away from a single focus to a much more holistic – and complex – exploration of sustainability. With this shift the targeting of development interventions can be improved by better understanding life-worlds, worldviews, (inner) perspectives and visions of individuals and households that guide their decision-making process. Using the RLS framework can provide the platform for selecting the most appropriate entry point for poverty reduction.
Download (PDF, 369 KB):[en]