ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Impacts and implications of global environmental policies on land use and livelihoods in developing countries (2012-ongoing)

Strategic Research Area

Improving Rural Livelihoods and Environments in Developing Countries

Investigators/ Researchers

Dr Rik Thwaites, Project leader, ILWS, Dr Ganga Dahal, Rights and Resources Institute, Bangkok,Dr Digby Race, CSIRO/ANU ,Dr Richard Culas, CSU, Mohan Poudel, ILWS PhD candidate, Horrie Poussard, International Landcare, Patrick Cobbinah, ILWS PhD candidate, and Eak Rana, ILWS PhD candidate


In developing countries, a high proportion of people may depend on the local environment and natural resources for their livelihoods, and therefore have a stake in the implementation of any policy developed outside the community to deliver a 'greater environmental good'.

To ensure effectiveness and sustainability, the design of policies often seeks to deliver 'co-benefits' to local stakeholders, and to understand the trade-offs that may result. At the same time, societies are not homogeneous, and local social hierarchies and power relationships mean that people are differentially engaged in policy implementation, and experience the outcomes in different ways.

This research will adopt qualitative and/or quantitative social science methods to explore the concept of marginalisation, as both a precursor characteristic of local society, and an outcome of policy intervention.


Two literature reviews have been conducted as background to this study. Several PhD topics have been advertised.


An understanding of the social processes around marginalisation will contribute to more effective and sustainable policy design and implementation.
This study will contribute to an existing program exploring the interactions between local communities and global policy approaches such as the REDD+ mechanism (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), Payments for Environmental Services (PES), and protected area policies.

Dr Rik Thwaites
Charles Sturt University – Albury

September 2013