keyvisual small bs new

Themes and Expertise

Themes and methodological expertise

SLE has traditionally concentrated on rural development issues in the global south, that is, the ‘classic’ developing countries, fragile states, transition economy countries and emerging countries, with special emphasis on marginalised groups. Due to changing economic, social, demographic and ecological conditions, rural populations all over the world are undergoing diverse processes of change. As a result, SLE has broadened its horizon to include issues such as urban-rural relations, urban development, structural change, and migration, all topics that go beyond rural development in the conventional sense.

Against the backdrop of the international development 'agenda 2030', SLE has aligned its programmes and its research with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 'Zukunftscharta' of the German development cooperation community, both of which foster social inclusion and ecological sustainability. These goals also apply to the global north, notably in terms of CO2 emission reduction and social objectives such as the envisaged development-oriented regulation of international trade and the prevailing inequalities in its societies.

The SLE topics include:

  • rural and agricultural development (value chains, microfinance, rural institutions);
  • poverty reduction, structural change, particularly in the global south;
  • civil society, development ethics, anti-discrimination;
  • food security and sovereignty, quality of nutrition;
  • management and governance of natural resources (forests, water, soil, pastures, biodiversity);
  • urban-rural relations, green or sustainable cities, urban farming;
  • climate change (protection and adaptation), disaster prevention;
  • cooperation with fragile states, peacebuilding, crisis prevention and conflict management.

SLE provides expertise and high-quality advisory services in all of these areas.

We combine our expertise in these topics with our exceptional methodological skills so that processes of development can be set in motion successfully. Methods are key when research knowledge is to be gathered, tested and put into practice as workable policies, measures and tools. Designing new methods is therefore a central aspect of our applied research.

The following approaches, methods and tools are used and taught in our projects:

  • vulnerability, resilience, livelihood and value chain analyses;
  • integrated approaches to resource management, the nexus approach, the stewardship approach;
  • systemic climate change adaptation measures, no-regret measures;
  • disaster risk reduction strategies, conflict prevention, emergency and transition aid, rights-based approaches (inclusion);
  • translation of research results into policy and practice through systemic knowledge management;
  • participatory approaches.