Sustainable Livelihoods: A Case Study of the Evolution of DFID Policy

This paper is a case study of the influence of research on a particular shift in policy for the Department of International Development (DFID). In the 1997 White Paper on international development, DFID made the ‘sustainable livelihoods approach’ (or SLA), a core principle of its strategy for pro-poor policy making. The concept of SLA had first appeared in research literature in the 1980s, and its inclusion in the White Paper marked its transfer to the policy domain. This Working Paper offers a descriptive narrative of this progression, identifies major events in the story, and analyses this successful transfer from research to practice and policy through the framework of context, evidence and links.