Approach and Strategy

Our strategy

At the SLE, our work is characterised by a focus on problem solving. We work in multidisciplinary teams, following a multidimensional and multi-level approach (the '3 Ms'). The starting point for this approach is a conception of development, whether in states, regions or communities, as the result of many different processes of negotiation. These development processes can only be sustainable when they link all levels to those above and below them, the local to the regional, national and global, and vice versa. The specific global and national situation, and the interactions among levels, should always be considered as important factors that can support or obstruct development processes. This background situation is extremely relevant, as it determines the conditions in which actors negotiate and make decisions. The SLE's approach takes into consideration these various levels, factors and negotiation processes in formulating solutions to development problems. This guarantees that development processes are firmly and sustainably rooted in the societies that must implement them.

In development policy, the SLE stands for:

  • a focus on, and critical assessment of, current concepts and debates in development studies;
  • participatory and context-specific consultancy, bringing its own special expertise to discussions with local people and with a sensitivity to local conditions;
  • a multidisciplinary and interactive approach that integrates ideas and methods from other disciplines;
  • teaching the understanding of global, national and local conditions that is necessary for professional management of projects and programmes;
  • the use of carefully selected methods appropriate to, and adapted for, development policy;
  • an awareness of the importance of soft skills, since communication and management are essential to work in international cooperation;
  • a holistic, inter-sector, regional and actor-based approach to development issues, not as an alternative to sector-based approaches but as a perspective that all specialists need in order to be able to deliver results;
  • a focus on rural development, environmental and resource management, climate protection, adaptation to climate change as well as an awareness of rural-urban relations and urban development;
  • training specialists who can deal competently with crisis and conflict situations.