Development 56.1: The future of development is out now!

At a time when development is the topic of policy debate of global summits and of activist protest, SID journal Development poses a question as the starting point for the volume issue 56.1: ‘What is the future of development?’

New challenges of climate change, planetary limits, rising inequality, recurrent crises, social frustrations, and global tensions call into question the very possibility of economic growth – and by implication socio-economic development.

Given this context the journal issue 56.1 explores on the one hand what shape the development agenda might take as policy-makers and analysts are actively engaged in redefining the Post-2015 Development Agenda and following up on the Rio+20 process; On the other hand, it interrogates whether  - given the overall context of insecurity - development does even have a future.

In 1992 a key achievement of the Earth Summit was the agreement over the concept of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and collective capabilities’, promising a new era of global cooperation based on an equitable social contract.  ‘Today, the question of equity remains the major obstacle to global action on any aspect of sustainable development. What holds up agreement on climate change is not a difference over its technicalities, but over equity’ (Tariq Banuri, 1-9).

When the journal Development and more generally the Society for International Development were founded more than 50 years ago, these were precisely the kind of issues that led and motivated the founders: the need for a pro-poor and people centred vision of development that responded to local needs and was inclusive of groups subject to exclusion and marginalization.

Today higher growth rates correspond to increasing inequalities, vulnerability and discrimination. International summits end up in the reiteration of the same problems rather than in the identification of solutions. Governments and civil society seem to be celebrating not the achievement of any decisions but the fact itself that the summit took place and the opportunities provided for encounters and networking.

The most central of issues are continually and systematically left to be addressed en passant, with no resolutions and decisions made: equity, political dynamics, structural change, empowerment (especially women and youth), the need for policy space for developing countries (or ‘state capacity’), debt forgiveness, global economic governance, and the need for a new financial and economic architecture.

Different voices of the international community from policy, academia and civil society address the larger question of the future of development calling for an integrated approach of development that puts together economics with the core issues of sustainability, inequality, gender, human rights and environmental justice. Articles highlight the need to move from a technocratic approach to a more political conceptualisation of development where policy discussions prevail over the mere use of quantitative targets and technicalities.

Development 56.1 also mark the beginning of a new editorship by Tariq Banuri  who take over from Wendy Harcourt.

Table of contents | Editorial  

Development is the flagship journal of the Society for International Development (SID), one of the oldest journals on pro-poor sustainable development, published continuously for 55 years. Juxtaposing conceptual analyses with dialogues over alternatives, policy perspectives with local voices, and top down development plans with community based strategies for livelihoods, gender and social justice, Development keeps readers up to date on the challenging issues of today’s rapidly changing world. It enjoys a broad readership within the development community and is published by Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the Society.

SID - Society for International Development is a global network of individuals and institutions committed to the promotion of participative, pluralistic and sustainable development. Since its inception in 1957, SID has sought to facilitate dialogue between different development actors and bridge the gap between development theory and practice.