Access to water resources is a vital component of any international development framework that seeks to eradicate poverty and address global socio-economic inequities. The shifting approaches taken to the question of water over the past 30 years neatly reflects the changes, continuities and challenges in the evolution of development policy itself. The negotiation around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has shown the limitations and contradictions of the international development agenda, and none has shown those limitations more so than the water goals. This chapter argues that we are in an era of the global ‘water grab’ with ten major firms controlling water in over 100 countries. It is increasingly unlikely that the water goals will be delivered, based as they are on a public-private partnership model. This may best express the failure of global international development policy itself to deliver on meeting basic needs, given what remains a non-transformative economic growth model.
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G. Honor Fagan
Christopher A. McNally
China provides an incisive example of a society that experimented during the twentieth century with perhaps every major social development model in existence at that time. Contemporary China has seen the most expansive, rapid and sustained industrialization in human history, creating opportunities for massive wealth accumulation. But in the same historical time span, Chinese breakneck growth has created some of the largest socio-economic inequalities on earth, massive environmental degradation, and a cultural no-man’s land of materialism and consumerism in the world’s oldest continuous civilization. Perhaps most intriguingly, China’s experiences have not corresponded to the standard Western prescriptions for economic development based on liberal markets and politics; neither have they adapted the insights of the post-development and post-globalization perspectives to inspire a new course of development. This chapter illuminates the broad development debates through a systematic review of China’s development path(s).
In a world increasingly challenged by structural unemployment, environmental degradation and climate emergency, the modern development paradigm appears increasingly bankrupt. While development agencies and policy-makers recognize the threats of declining biodiversity and rising greenhouse gas emissions, they are beholden to the idea of ‘sustainable development’, as if there now remains sufficient natural world to sustain. ‘Sustainable development’ focuses on sustaining ‘development’ in a compromised environment, rather than on how to actually rehabilitate degraded ecosystems, and sustain them with ecological development. In order to sustain natural cycles, development itself needs a fundamental reformulation as an ecological, rather than an economic, paradigm. This chapter addresses this issue via a critique of extant visions of development as ‘ecologically challenged’, that is, as devaluing socio-ecological relationships. In particular, it focuses on the development narrative’s disregard for the integrity of agrarian culture which remains important to sustaining ecosystems and secure and inclusive food provisioning.
From 2007 onwards many institutions within the international development community and a growing number of developing country governments began to abandon the microcredit development model. The focus of this chapter is to briefly explain this turn of events. The first section (Historical twists and turns) charts the heady rise to fame of the microcredit model following its ‘discovery’ in Bangladesh in the 1980s. Section two (But then the downfall begins) provides a summary of the key milestones in its rapid transition after 2007 into a failed development intervention, ultimately requiring its incorporation within the financial inclusion movement to help keep it alive. The third section (Three fundamental flaws of the microcredit model) first describes the two fundamental flaws in the basic microcredit model, before going on to point out the very significant flaws created by the turn to a new commercialized, or ‘neoliberalized’, microcredit model in the 1990s.
A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi
The sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) is predicated upon the idea that the ability of people to construct a livelihood strategy could be enabled or constrained by a variety of interlocking factors that could not be addressed in isolation. Despite having a hegemonic position within the field of rural development studies for a period, latterly the SLA came to be criticized from several perspectives. Its lack of attention to questions of wider power dynamics beyond the community was questioned. Livelihood options may be severely constrained or even imposed from beyond the community, especially when outsiders explicitly limit local livelihood options because of concerns around their normative suitability; the production of the plants that produce the opioids that fuel the global illicit drug trade is a case in point. This chapter argues that the solution to the poverty problematic requires abandoning or moving beyond the SLA, which falls short of prescribing structural change.
G. Honor Fagan and Ronaldo Munck
Since the turn of the century, the migration–development nexus has emerged as a key concern for policy-makers as well as for social scientists and is now regularly discussed at high-level meetings. However, most of this literature is undifferentiated with regards to gender relations despite the availability of a considerable literature on gender and migration and the fact that, today, women constitute almost half of all migrants. The purpose of this chapter is therefore twofold: ﬁrst, to interrogate the migration–development nexus in relation to that which it excludes and, second, to bring the gender and migration – and to a lesser extent, the gender and development – literature to bear on migration–development nexus debates. This chapter argues for re-engaging feminist analyses with migration–development debates, developing a better understanding of how gender relations inﬂuence migration as well as how gender relations change as a result of migration.
Edited by G. H. Fagan and Ronaldo Munck
This chapter identifies how a set of UK-based international development organisations (with all their internal complexities) understand and address gender equality in their practice, and the implications this has for the discursive landscape in which they operate. The chapter combines analysis of the literature on development NGOs and development aid and gender, with empirical illustrations of how policy and practice on gender equality in four large UK-based international development NGOs has been influenced by the discursive landscape in which they operate. Critical examination of the discursive landscape of non-governmental action is particularly relevant at this time, as development policy-making and practice is shifting in response to the increasing influence and power of other (non-governmental) actors such as private foundations, large consultancy companies, businesses and corporate retail organisations, who are having a significant impact on the development landscape, and particularly on the way in which women’s interests and issues are represented.
With its postulation of harmony with Nature and harmony among individuals and communities, as a proposal laden with experiences Buen Vivir (good coexistence) allows alternative visions of life to be formulated. In this chapter, we will start by laying bare the limitations of the concept of development. Then we will provide a quick read on the recent origins, meaning, scope and mobilizing potential of Buen Vivir that can act as a platform to discuss, agree and even respond to the devastating effects of climate change and the increasing marginalization and social violence in the world. This opportunity arises in the midst of a multifaceted crisis – social, economic, ecological, political, and even a crisis of civilization – that is battering the planet. Humanity can, and must, learn from those human groups which have learnt how to live in harmonious communities and alongside Nature, those which have accumulated a long-life memory.