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Sustainable Rural Development in Latin America: Building from the Bottom-up

Altieri, M.A.
Masera, O.
April 1993

Conventional \"top-down\" development strategies have proved fundamentally limited in their ability to promote equitable and environmentally sustainable development in Latin America. Poverty, unhealthy living conditions and environmental degradation continue to be widespread problems within the region. This paper argues for an urgent and comprehensive reframing of rural development strategies in Latin America. Immediate priorities include the empowerment of local communities, poverty reduction, natural resource conservation, securing an adequate food supply and promoting food self-sufficiency. The paper begins reviewing the main features of Latin America's resource endowments and current ecological problems, as well as the interlinkages between the dominant economic strategies of the region and environmental problems. The challenges for sustainable rural development in Latin America given the current changes in macro- and micro-economic conditions are subsequently discussed. Promising local experiences in the rural sector are described and new directions and indicators for integrated technology evaluation procedures that incorporate sustainability concerns proposed.

Publication type: 
Journal Article
Source name: 
Ecological Economics
Page numbers: 
pp. 93-121
Elsevier Science Ltd, UK
Community Conservation
Poverty-Environment Linkages
Latin America and the Caribbean