Taking sustainability from policy to practice: bringing poverty concerns into the project cycle

The concept of sustainability has evolved and expanded to include more than just environmental issues. Development practitioners now address questions linking sustainability to population and, in particular, to poverty alleviation. Environmentally sustainable development cannot be achieved, let alone maintained, unless poverty is reduced. Thus, the connection between sustainability and poverty reduction must be properly understood if economic assistance for the poor is to be successful. These questions can be confusing and difficult to address satisfactorily in practice. How can poverty reduction programmes and projects be designed for sustainability? How can the elements of sustainable poverty reduction be built into all stages of the project cycle? These issues are examined and a set of guidelines and minimum standards proposed. Relevant examples are cited to illustrate how the inclusion of poverty alleviation concerns into the project cycle can be achieved.