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Development Co-operation Report 2012

Lessons in Linking Sustainability and Development

image of Development Co-operation Report 2012

The Development Co-operation Report is the key annual reference document for statistics and analysis on trends in international aid. This year, the Development Co-operation Report 2012 seeks to provide insights into how to address today’s sustainable development challenges, with a focus on inclusiveness and good governance to ensure that our finite resources are equitably distributed, now and in the future.

Sharing finite resources among a growing number people – and consumers – is a critical challenge. It is in this spirit that J. Brian Atwood, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), invited several intellectual leaders on the challenges of inclusive, sustainable development to contribute to this year’s report.

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Managing watersheds for resilient livelihoods in Ethiopia

The concept and principles of sustainable development have been accepted for several decades as being central to societal progress. Yet, we are still trying to shift to a truly sustainable development model. This chapter illustrates sustainable development in action through the story of an integrated watershed management project in Ethiopia in which the authors were involved. The project has regenerated and enhanced natural resources, improved incomes and food security, and provided a range of social benefits. It has also improved people’s resilience in the face of climate change, while contributing to carbon sequestration. The success of this approach to watershed management lies in the fact that it is not solely a technical approach. Full participation of local resource users has been fundamental, as has social capital and a supportive institutional environment. The project’s approach has now been scaled up to the national level, influencing key areas of national policy, including the Productive Safety Net Programme and Ethiopia’s Green Economy Strategy. Too many sustainable development approaches never go beyond the pilot project. An important lesson from this experience is that while a successful local approach can and should be applied at the national level, doing so requires institutional and policy commitment from governments and from civil society, as well as the investment of enough funds to enable scaling-up. As the initial project was inspired by similar work in India, it also demonstrates the value of sharing experiences.

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