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Research : General

Research themes

The Pakistan Research Group of NCCR-N-S concentrates on the analysis of livelihood constraints and options of people living in the highlands and adjoining lowlands of North-West Pakistan, with special attention to the institutional context that supports or hinders people in securing and improving their lives (a context that is rapidly changing under conditions of accelerated globalisation).

Livelihoods, forests and power relations in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
(Research theme coordinators: Abid Suleri, Urs Geiser)
In a first phase, the Group analysed - in a gendered way - the livelihood conditions of these people, and focused on their access (and related institutional constraints) to natural resources, esp. forests.

Since 2006, the group expands its research into livelihood conditions by addressing three additional dimensions:

From vulnerability to resilience: gender, migration and social capital
(Research theme coordinator: Karin A. Siegmann)
Reasons for livelihood vulnerability, and avenues to strengthen resilience: here, emphasis is given to the understanding of the role of social capital and migration.

Development disparities on natural resource management
(Research theme coordinators: Abid Suleri, Babar Shahbaz)
Access and benefit sharing from natural resources: here, emphasis is given on the analysis of environmental functions of forests.

Development policies and livelihood realities
(Research theme coordinator: Urs Geiser)
In principle, the state of Pakistan designs (and implements) a whole series of regional and sectoral policies to fight poverty, reduce inequalities and create livelihood opportunities, also for the people living in the (marginal) highlands of North-West Pakistan. In addition, the state attempts - through decentralisation - to bring these policies closer to the people, and thus to involve them in shaping these policies. Our research however indicates that few households only benefit from these policies - why?

With these research priorities (which are supplemented with additional emphasis on advocacy and training), the Pakistan Research Group is joining the efforts within the NCCR N-S to strengthen comparative and collaborative research among the research partners in South Asia.

Regional focus

Research focuses on the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). See the map for research locations.


As a general framework for the research, the sustainable livelihoods perspective has been chosen, giving specific emphasis on the institutional context. This approach is used as a sort of checklist which also is expected to facilitate interaction between the involved researchers (who often use their specific theoretical concepts). Key publications are:

Backhaus N. 2004. The Globalisation Discourse.

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Kollmair M, Gurung GS. 2005. Marginality. Concepts and their limitations. 185 KB

Please secure copyright permission for reproduction of all publications from the author(s). The Pakistan Research Group cannot be held responsible for breaching of copyright laws protecting these publications.


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