Towards Inclusive Development for and with the Poorest

International Roundtable Conference on
Marginality and Extreme Poverty: Towards Inclusive Development for and with the Poorest

June 20‐22, 2011

Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany

The poorest are often marginalized, living at the edge of economic, ecological, social and political systems. Incidences of most extreme poverty and food insecurity are commonly concentrated in remote and rural areas with the furthest distance to transport, public service and market infrastructure. In addition, the marginalized poor often belong to ethnic minorities and socially excluded groups and are women. Marginalization prevents them from living up to their potentials, instead trapping them in a continuous cycle of poverty. This situation is not only socially unfair, but also economically inefficient.

Although there has been progress in reducing the number of poor at the global level, especially those just below the income poverty line, the marginalized poor have been left behind. In particular in Sub Saharan Africa, but also in other parts of the world, their numbers are stagnating or increasing. Conventional poverty reduction and development programs struggle to effectively reach the poorest or respond to their needs because they are not just poorer than the poor – their poverty is also structurally different from poverty just around the poverty line.

The nature, extent and causes of marginality, how it drives extreme poverty and what can be done to tackle these complex interactions remain poorly understood. To address these gaps, the conference will assess the state of the art in research and projects on marginality and extreme poverty, ask what has been achieved so far and how, and identify the barriers that need to be overcome to reach the marginalized poor. To this end, the conference will bring together about 40 leading thinkers and actors from diverse disciplinary and professional backgrounds, including economists and other social scientists, ecologists, ethnologists, geographers, social entrepreneurs and development practitioners, to:

  • elucidate the nature of marginality and its links to extreme poverty, and identify therequired data for measurement and analysis of causal relations,
  • review possible policies and interventions targeted at poverty reduction and asseshow they can work for the marginalized poor, and
  • facilitate exchange between researchers, the private sector and development practitioners to discuss best practice examples and identify conditions of success.

Innovative actions in public policies, in social entrepreneurship, social investment mobilization and programs shall be explored.

Based on these discussions, insights to date and unanswered questions will be articulated to prepare the ground for a larger collaborative research network and program on exploring the opportunities for reduction of marginality and extreme poverty. The papers prepared for the conferences and the conclusions and recommendations will be published as an edited volume.

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