6. Analysis of the effect of socio-productive development programs on the local biocultural heritage and its implications on decent work through a political ecology perspective

Main Research Question: How is the biocultural heritage in rural areas being affected by socio-productive development programs?

Project’s aim: Based on the proposed analysis, the research project aims to contribute to the decent work agenda by providing the following:

  1. Document alternative views to current development strategies from local  actors’ perspectives, based on a communities’ biocultural heritage;
  2. Develop an interpretation of ‘decent work’ based on local actors’ perspectives;
  3. Identify decent work in rural areas by gender role;
  4. Identify decent work in rural areas through the sustainable management of natural resources; and
  5. Improve the synergy between socio-productive development programs and local biocultural heritage.

Centuries of interconnectedness with a territory has rooted rural communities around the world, making them dependent of the sustainable management of their local environments. This relationship is composed by elements comprised in the communities’ biocultural heritage – its traditional knowledge, practices and Cosmo vision – which provide a holistic alternative to cope with climate change. On the other hand, socio-productive development programs are often implemented as public policy in order to assist rural communities’ weather disruptions in their lifestyles, mainly due to structural reforms. Although these programs are often framed within a sustainable development framework, they rarely embrace the communities’ biocultural heritage. As a result, these programs fail to meet their development goals of enhancing the communities’ quality of life. In this context, the research project seeks to recognize and analyze the different actors involved in the socio-productive development programs, their interests and their political conflicts with regards to their biocultural heritage, and devise strategies of empowerment for weaker political groups. The proposed approach to achieve this objective is through data collection using ethnographic methods—such as detailed observation, literature review, in-depth interviews, focus groups and socio-demographic surveys—and qualitative data analysis. An expected product from this analysis is an evaluation guide to measure the impact of socio-productive development programs on the biocultural heritage.