what is development

What is Development – A Definitive Guide

But how do you tell which change is good?

The word ‘development’ is widely used to refer to a specified state of advancement or growth. It could also be used to describe a new and advanced idea or product; or an event that constitutes a new stage under changing circumstances.

Generally, the term development describes good change. But how do you tell which change is good?

In this regard, researchers explain three ways that the term ‘development’ is used:

  • Development as a vision:
    Here, the term is used to describe how desirable a society or a region is, possibly with regard to what it can become
  • Development as a historical process:
    This refers to social change that occurs over extended periods of time due to inevitable processes. For instance, it is widely believed that both communism and capitalism are an inevitable outcome of progress.
  • Development as action:
    This refers to deliberate action to change things for the better, as with providing aid to alleviate hunger
  • All of these are definitions of development, but when it comes to distinguishing between nations that are more developed than others, or when describing some other international aspect, usually more meaning is implied in the word.


    So, how do you tell what country is more/less developed than the other?

    In terms of wealth, it is perhaps easier to identify countries that are richer or poorer than others. However, the typical indicators of wealth only reflect the amount of resources available to a specific society.
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    End Poverty SDG 1

    UN Approves Global Goals to End Poverty in 15 Years

    As it has now become the norm, at the end of the every 15 years, the global community, under the cloak of the United Nations, comes together and formulates another ‘to-do list’ that should span over the next one and a half decades.

    The script wasn’t any different this time around when on September 2015 the international community converged and approved a global agenda consisting of a series of 17 goals to be achieved before 2030.

    The agenda, dubbed as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) takes over from the almost expired Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were drafted at the turn of the century.

    An ambitious initiative

    At the top of the 15-year blueprint, that some critics have lauded as overambitious and exorbitantly costly, is the initiative to ‘end global poverty in all its forms’ ( sic) and combat emerging issues such climate change.
    UNS ustainable Development Goals
    The sustainable development goals come at a time when the world is sinking in a myriad of 21-st century problems such as environmental degradation, extreme poverty, famine, disease, etc. In particular, the goal to eradicate poverty comes at a time when the gap between the rich and poor, the wealth and the despicable has never been greater.
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    UN Global Pulse MDG SDG

    Quid and UN Global Pulse to Analyse the Media Data for SDGs

    The end of 2015 ushers in a variety of mixed offerings. And sitting on the top of this list is the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    For those who are not aware, the Millennium Development Goals, which were proposed in the late 90s, are coming to a close at the end of 2015. So, in short, the Sustainable Development Goals represent the new framework taking over from the outgoing MDGs.

    At the helm of this ambitious and revolutionary project is Quid – an internationally recognised data generation and analyzing enterprise – that is assisting the UN in implementing the SDGs. It has availed its resources and a platform for the UN’s data scientists to visualise how best these goals can be achieved over the next 15 years.

    This was after a partnership between Global Pulse (UN’s wing involved with the visualisation of the SDGs) and the information mapping platform was effected in September 2015.
    Quid Global Pulse

    The goals’ general framework

    The SDGs, which comprises of 17 goals and over 169 targets, are at the most basic level, globally set targets and standards that UN member states are expected to use a benchmark when designing their individual national agendas and policies. And like the MDGs, the SDGs are expected to run for the next 15 years – until 2030.
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    climate change accord reached by leaders in paris, france 2015

    Climate Change Accord Reached at the Paris COP21

    It took them little under two weeks of drawn out discussions and debates, but finally on Saturday evening leaders and diplomats at the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris, France came to an agreement on the much-anticipated global climate change accord.

    The final draft of the agreement was presented by French President Francois Hollande to delegates on Saturday morning, while thousands of impatient protestors flooded the streets of Paris in bid to see the already delayed pact wrapped up.

    In a year that the UN has laid a number of targets that would prove to be milestones if realised, the accord marks the first time developed and developing countries come together to jointly combat and adapt to the recent alarming climate change across the globe.

    What’s the Climate Change Accord All About?

    Inside the 31-page final agreement are two very important sections:

    1. A commitment to maintain global warming at “well below” two degrees Celsius.
    2. A bargain to protect low-lying nations against the slowly rising sea level by working to further reduce global warming to as low as 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    That’s what the better part of the two-week debate has been all about: the two targets and, particularly, what should be done to achieve them.

    One of the viable ways out of the warming crisis, as the Paris text states, is to increase “emission reduction efforts”. A promising number of nations have already submitted their pledges to reduce greenhouse emissions, which is a good sign, the UN notes, but that will only alleviate warming to 2.7 degrees, which according to experts, is still way above the “safe” maximum. The text calls for the “widest possible cooperation by all countries as climate change “represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.”

    That said, not everyone is 100% optimistic that the accord will bring about the climate change relief the world has been desperately hunting for. Not even after seeing numerous global talks over the subject in the past few decades come to sudden standstills. Some advocates who’ve voiced their doubts over the feasibility of the accord seem to be particularly dissatisfied with the lack of a well-defined parameter for measuring and verifying countries’ emission reductions. Also, the lack of a timeframe to eradicate the extraction and use of fossil fuels is a good reason the accord receives blemished support.

    A Foundation For Progress

    In an interview with huffingtonpost.com, though, one Mr. Robert Stavins, director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, thinks it’s too soon to start with the criticism. “This is a broad foundation for meaningful progress,” he said. “Anyone who suggests this is a success or a failure is only speaking based on ideology, not reality. Only 10 to 20 years from now, when we look at the implementation of all this, will we really know.”

    SDG 17 - Sustainable development through global partnerships

    SDG 17 – Sustainable development through global partnerships

    Leaders across the world have a monumental opportunity to reduce inequality, end poverty, protect the environment and promote justice and peace in implementing Sustainable Development Goals.

    Unmatched in their ambition and scope, the SDGs are poised to test the determination of the global community over the following fifteen years in regards to the global endeavor to improve livelihoods for all. Any success or even failure will largely depend on SDG number 17, which aims to revitalise the universal partnerships for development.

    Introducing SDG 17 on global partnership

    One important aspect of SDG 17 is that it binds the other goals together. For one, it is quite content heavy as compared to other goals and subdivided into five crucial components; finance, capacity building, systemic issues, technology, and trade.
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    SDG 16 - Promote Peace, Justice and Inclusive Societies

    SDG 16 – Promote Peace, Justice and Inclusive Societies

    Debate on post-2015 sustainable development has so far agreed consistently that a new development guideline should advance not only poverty reduction and sustainability but also justice, good governance, and peaceful societies.

    Even though most states are backing the agenda for ensuring sustainable peace in the world, the framing and inclusion of this SDG on peaceful societies remains a bit sensitive for certain member states. Achieving honest buy-in into this peace agenda for these states will be crucial to the adoption, implementation and monitoring of SDG 16 over the following 15 years.

    Importance of peace in SDG 16

    We simply cannot achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication without first tackling insecurity and conflict. There is an increasingly large gap with regards to MDG performance when comparing developed countries with other states being affected by elevated violence levels and unrest. Strikingly, the seven nations that are not likely going to meet even one MDG as 2015 draws to an end have suffered high violence levels in the last couple of years.
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    Business Has a Role to Play in Sustainable Development

    Business Has a Role to Play in Sustainable Development

    Earlier this year at the Aspen Institute’s Action Forum, Anand Giridharada held a talk about the looming Sustainable Development agenda, and discussed it from a very atypical angle. He maintained that instigating the numerous targets attached to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is not the solitary way to the conducive living atmosphere we are hunting for. The UN is telling us the opposite, but according to Anand, preventing what causes poverty, for instance, would be more rational than combating an already established crisis.

    Looking at the direction the once-auspicious MDGs took, you would almost concur that facing the SDGs in the premeditated way is nothing but another well-fashioned reverie. (more…)

    SDG 15 - Sustain Life on Land - Forest, Ground and Animals

    SDG 15 – Sustain Life on Land – Forest, Ground and Animals

    Do you enjoy going camping? Reading a good book? That ice-cream you recently had? Whether you appreciate it or not, you cannot deny the important role our earth’s natural habitats have in our daily lives.

    We depend on terrestrial ecosystems and forests as an essential source of materials, food, product ingredients and also for livelihoods. The Sustainable Development Goal 15 on ‘life on earth’ is all about protecting, restoring and promoting the sustainable use of all terrestrial ecosystems so that we can have a better future.

    Why SDG 15 is important

    The world has lost over 12 million hectares of forest every year from 2000 to 2010. Expansion of commercial agriculture, especially large-scale farming, has largely caused this significant loss of forest cover. Nevertheless, damaging the environment, particularly forests, comes at great costs.
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    SDG 14 - Conserve and sustain the oceans, seas and marine resources

    SDG 14 – Conserve and sustain the oceans, seas and marine resources

    Oceans are the biggest ecosystems on planet earth, and they are essential to our survival. They cover 65% of the surface of the earth, generate nearly half of the air we breathe in and also 16% of animal protein, besides playing an important role in the global economy.

    Over 3 billion people across the world depend on coastal and marine resources, generating many jobs in various industries such as tourism, biotechnology, fishing, and shipping. The ocean has a significant part to play in the worldwide development, and it can help fight poverty. However, marine ecosystems across the world are currently being threatened by our human activities. We must start protecting our oceans’ health if we are to prosper and survive.

    Introducing SDG 14 on conserving the oceans

    There is optimism that with the latest dedicated goal of ocean conservation under the Sustainable Development Goals, companies will acknowledge the value and importance of our coastal areas and oceans. In the previous Millennium Development Goals, oceans were covered in the broader target of securing environmental sustainability. The new SDGs, however, give oceans the important dedicated attention with distinctive underlying targets. Goal 14 seeks the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, seas, and oceans.
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