Rural Planning in Developing Countries - Supporting Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Livelihoods

Olivier Dubois, Barry Dalal-Clayton and David Dent 
Earthscan  2003  

Hardback  240 pages  ISBN 9781853839382      £45.00
Published in association with International Institute for Environment and Development

A major population shift from rural to urban areas in the developing world has led to an increasing proportion of people living in towns and cities. These burgeoning cities depend on their hinterlands for water supplies and waste disposal; rural population is still increasing in absolute terms and there are increasing two-way flows of people, resources and activities. As a result, rural planning in isolation from the wider economy is not realistic. There has never been a greater need for development planning and good management of natural resources.

This book provides an international perspective on rural planning in developing countries. It examines conventional technical development planning and innovations in local planning. It looks at a range of approaches to participation in planning, and explores the basis for stakeholder collaboration.

The authors analyse and draw lessons from past and current practice and ways that land use planning and management of natural resources can underpin sustainable local livelihoods. They draw on case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America to present findings and recommendations relevant throughout the developing world.


List of figures, boxes and tables
About the authors
Authors€ note
List of acronyms and abbreviations


1 Lessons from experience
Rural planning: perspectives, concepts and the objectives and roles of government
Experience of regional planning
A move to decentralized rural and regional planning
Focus on poverty and rural livelihoods
Sustainable livelihoods
Land tenure
Security of tenure
Coordinating tenure incentives and disincentives
Rural-urban linkages
Income diversification
Implications for planning
The dilemma of planning for the urban-rural interface

2 Conventional, technical planning approaches
Resource surveys for planning
Land evaluation
Land capability classification
The USBR system
FAO framework for land evaluation
Parametric indices
Process models
Financial and economic evaluation
Strategic land evaluation
Land use planning
Sectoral plans
Land allocation procedures
Multiple criteria analysis
Resource management domains
Land use planning experience in developing countries
FAO guidelines for land use planning
Faith in negotiation
Impact assessment
Decentralized district planning
Some planning responses to the challenge of sustainable development
National and regional planning exercises
Sustainable development strategies
National strategies
Sub-national strategies
Local-level strategies
Some common features of existing strategic planning processes
Guidance on strategies for sustainable development
A continual learning approach
Sustainable development indicators
Pros and cons of conventional approaches
Common limitations of natural resource surveys
Terms of reference
Inappropriate planning methods and inappropriate data: a failure of institutions

3 Approaches to participation in planning
The need for participation
Perceptions of participation
Horizontal and vertical participation
Participatory learning and action
Participatory planning
Examples of local-level resource planning
Scaling-up and linking bottom-up and top-down planning
Regional rural development
Rapid district appraisal (RDA)
Participatory approaches in large-scale projects
The catchment approach
NGOs as catalysts
The gestion de terroir approach in francophone West Africa
Participatory planning in Latin America
Approaches in the forestry sector
Landcare in Australia
Limitations of participation
The quality of information
Costs of participation
Great expectations
Dealing with power

4 A basis for collaborating
The natural resources battlefield
Constraints and opportunities for collaboration
Concepts and methods in collaborative management of natural resources
Donors as stakeholders
Dealing with relationships and power
Prerequisites for collaboration
Political will
Renegotiation of roles
An enabling institutional environment
Putting stakeholder participation into practice
Valuing resources
Differentiating goods and services
Classifying goods and services according to the concepts of welfare economics
Differentiating agriculture from natural resources
Market value of natural capital
Political values
Combination of different valuation methods
Combining PRA and economic methods
Commodity chain analysis
Linking resources to users
Forest resource accounting
Institutional support for rural planning
Institutional realities
Complex and poorly coordinated institutional framework
Incentives to maintain confusion
Poor public accountability
Inappropriate performance incentives
Unsatisfactory donors€ strategies
Little absorption capacity
Promises and realities of decentralization
Promise 1: Devolution promotes participation, representation and empowerment of marginal groups
Promise 2: Devolution entails more equitable distribution of benefits and reduces poverty
Promise 3: Devolution entails more financial autonomy at the local level
Promise 4: Devolution improves local accountability
Promise 5: Devolution increases the effectiveness of LGUs in delivering goods and services
Better institutions to make rural planning and development work: possible ways forward
The resource/community level
The local government level
Assessing local institutional capacity
Autonomy to undertake development activities and modify local rules and institutions
Greater accountability of local institutions
Capacity development
The role of the central government

5 The way forward
Planning strategy
Principles of development planning
Natural resources surveys
Institutional support
Local (community) level
Local government level (eg district)
Intermediate level (eg province, region)
National level
Implications for donors



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