Sustainable Livelihoods and Governance

WWF-India has a large and growing conservation programme that includes field projects, campaigning and policy work, education and outreach, research and networking. Given the ground realities in the country, where poverty, population pressures, an active civil society and strong democratic principles co exist, it is inevitable that all conservation initiatives must include elements of community empowerment and community mobilisation. The role and involvement of local communities in conservation is diverse and depends on a range of social, economic, ecological and political factors.

It is critically important to establish approaches and models that demonstrate effective linkages between sustainable livelihoods and conservation management by local communities. It is also essential to adopt such approaches to minimize dangers of over-exploitation of forest resources, loss of some of the most high value conservation forests in the country and subsequent negative impacts on local livelihoods in the long term.

Most of WWF-India’s field projects work with local community institutions and government agencies to develop and put in place forest-based or alternative sustainable livelihood models that can effectively demonstrate how conservation practices can be mainstreamed into livelihood enhancement.

Sustainable Livelihoods programme provides strategic inputs and capacity building to ongoing and new projects across all divisions of WWF-India. The programme is trying to ensure that the projects having components of community participation/sustainable livelihoods have a strong and consistence approach that can demonstrate impacts of poverty alleviation on conservation. In addition, the programme also contributes to national and regional policy dialogue.