national strategies for rural poverty reduction a comparison of experiences n.
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National strategies for rural poverty reduction A comparison of experiences. Objective of the Presentation. The achievement of the MDGs highlights the importance of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS)

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objective of the presentation
Objective of the Presentation
  • The achievement of the MDGs highlights the importance of Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS)
  • The purpose of this presentation is to identify common features and differences in terms of: objectives, ownership, participation and implementation
  • The range of strategies has evolved in recent years, but three broad categories can be distinguished:
    • PRSPs linked to HIPC
    • PRSPs linked to concessional loans
    • PRS developed outside the PRSP framework
  • Country classification is becoming increasingly difficult as processes are evolving and gradually converging


PRSP monitored by the Bretton Woods Institutions

poverty reduction strategies in developing countries
Poverty Reduction Strategies in developing countries
  • From a sample of 139 countries, 97 countries (i.e. 70%) have or are in the process of formulating a poverty reduction strategy.
  • Of these 97 countries:
    • Almost half are implementing a PRSP and almost a third a PRS, while the rest are in the process of formulating a strategy.
    • In Sub-Saharan Africa and in Eastern and Central Europe PRSP prevails
    • For Near East and North Africa region, half of the countries have developed or are developing strategies outside the PRSP framework
    • In Asia, many and the most populous countries have developed best practice national PRS processes outside the PRSP framework
    • In Latin America, most countries have a strategy for poverty reduction, with a majority of PRS outside the PRSP framework.
a variety of approaches
A variety of approaches

- but some common features:

  • PRSPs
    • process is coordinated by a single unit
    • role of donors is influential and increasingly coordinated
    • consultation is mandatory
  • PRS outside of the PRSP framework
    • better integrated within existing government structures
    • donor-government relationship is not uniform
    • less established participation standards
  • Experience shows that country ownership is of key importance.
  • However:
  • Ownership is often limited to the government executive branch
  • The process is often dominated by key central ministries, failing to take into consideration its full political dimension
  • Ownership is frequently stronger in PRS experiences outside the PRSP framework
  • Influence of donors is decreasing although still present for some PRSP cases

Fragile ownership has a negative effect on continuity and sustainability for the implementation of all kind of PRS processes

  • With a few exceptions, limited participation is a common feature of poverty reduction strategy processes
  • Participation is directly related to the strength of civil society, prevailing attitudes and political traditions
  • The extent and quality of participation is strongly influenced by government appreciation of the role of civil society in this process
  • Participation has taken place mainly at the formulation phase and not during implementation

Poverty reduction strategies involve a large number of stakeholders. This makes the achievement of broad participation processes difficult

participation and regional differences
Participation and regional differences
  • PRSP “ad hoc” consultative processes may have contributed to the exclusion of democratically elected institutions such as parliaments
  • In some regions, for example in Eastern and Southern Africa, participation of civil society has mainly involved NGOs with weak or non-existent linkages with rural areas
  • Overall, progress is being made regarding the involvement of CSOs – particularly in Latin America
  • Democratisation, decentralisation, and civil society contribution to policy dialogue – particularly in Asia and the Pacific region – are at the core of the PRS strategy processes
scope and instruments
Scope and instruments
  • Most strategies have not considered the full range of policy actions required for growth and poverty reduction
  • The focus is largely on public expenditure for social sectors rather than on pro-poor policy reforms
  • PRSPs started as all-encompassing and general strategies, but are becoming better focused with increasing linkages to existing policy tools.
  • The use of PSIA methodologies is raising the quality of the debate on the sources of growth and its distributional impact
prs in rural areas
PRS in rural areas
  • The first generation of PRSPs and many strategies outside this framework have been weak in identifying the rural dimension of poverty reduction
  • Strategies featuring the rural sector tend to:
    • be oriented towards agriculture sector in general rather than on the livelihoods of poor rural people
    • lack an intersectoral approach to rural development
    • emphasize market liberalization and export promotions, without showing how the rural poor could benefit from these opportunities
    • lack a set of clear instruments and policies that effectively target the rural poor
  • These limitations are gradually being tackled with the development of specific tools for PRS implementation
poverty reduction strategies as part of the new development architecture
Poverty Reduction Strategies as part of the New Development Architecture
  • Emerging tools for PRS implementation:
  • At the international level:
    • Agenda on Harmonization & Alignment (Declarations of Rome 2003 and Paris 2005)
  • At the national level:
    • PRS processes are essential strategic instruments to reach the MDGs
    • Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks, which link the PRSP to the budget with a multi-year planning tool;
    • Territorial based action plans are increasingly used, particularly in Latin America
    • Sector Wide Approaches, which are action-programmes for sectoral PRSP implementation
emerging features of prs implementation
Emerging features of PRS implementation

Outside the PRSP framework:

  • strategies are better integrated in national policies and budgetary processes
  • implementation is through existing mechanisms and frameworks
  • great variety of situations and outcomes. Noticeable progress in targeting and pro-poor policies in some cases


  • on average, implementation is still relatively recent (2 years). Nonetheless, with marked country differences
  • institutionalisation within existing policies and budgetary mechanisms is still embryonic in many countries, while already in progress in a number of African countries
ifad and poverty reduction strategies
IFAD and poverty reduction strategies

The Fund has a key role to play in the development of rural poverty reduction strategies given its specific mandate and the identified weaknesses of PRS in tackling rural poverty. It can contribute to:

  • Ownership: IFAD supports partner governments in developing rural strategies and investment programmes that are country-driven
  • Participation: IFAD promotes broad based participatory processes, inter alia enabling rural CSOs to participate in PRS development and implementation processes
  • Implementation: IFAD supports programmes and projects to operationalise PRS strategies
questions for discussion some suggestions
Questions for discussion: some suggestions
  • What should be the main components of PRSs? Who should lead the process and how?
  • What are the critical lessons learnt and to what extent PRS countries could benefit from the experiences developed by PRSP countries, and vice versa?
  • What should be the role of IFAD supported projects and policy dialogue in the design and implementation of PRSs?
  • What is the future of PRSs and what shape will they take in the long term?