Rural Livelihood Options for "a better and more sustainable future". Local perspectives from Myanmar and Morocco

Abstract: In 2015, state leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to address global inequalities and respond to heightened concern about challenges, arising from contemporary global change. This thesis contributes to addressing these challenges, by extending the knowledge base that rural development stakeholders can draw on to co-construct viable livelihood options for vulnerable rural people. Paper I does so on the basis of cross-sectional household survey data and clustering techniques, applied to explore the differentiated livelihood strategies of rural people in Myanmar. Results of this study show that households engaged in six relatively distinct livelihood strategies, which differed in terms of their relative reliance on land-based vis-à-vis other income generation activities and their income poverty implications. These findings imply differentiated vulnerabilities of rural households, e.g. to climate change, shifting land-governance regimes and labour market forces. Paper II is based on local knowledge research, exploring the opportunity space for a tree-based adaptation of livelihoods and farming systems in Morocco’s drylands. Results of this study show that respondents already maintain a diversity of trees on their farms, but water scarcity, the low profitability of production systems and social conflicts constitute critical barriers to an agroforestry-based climate adaptation. Paper II further demonstrates the utility of local knowledge in climate adaptation research, showing that local knowledge methods facilitate inquiry into the contextual variability of livelihood contexts, technology-adoption barriers and extension priorities that farmers perceive. Brought together, both papers contribute to realising the vision of “a better and more sustainable future” for rural people.