General Development Principles
  1. Development is a social, cultural and political process and not merely a set of economic investments.  It must address the root causes of poverty and deal with the urgent demands of fundamental human rights, the natural environment and the peaceful management of conflict.
  2. Development must give primacy to the needs and aspirations of the poorest and most marginalized of the world’s people.It should promote social justice through the equitable distribution of power, wealth and access to resources.
  3. Development aims to empower all people to determine their own future.It must address ways of eliminating all barriers to an individual’s ability to determine their future, whether those barriers are based on gender, age, race, class, national or ethnic origin, or religion.This must include people’s right to self-determination and cultural integrity.
  4. Development should be environmentally and economically sustainable and should not jeopardize the well-being of future generations.It should foster an attitude of stewardship toward the environment.
  5. Development is a process of change.Solutions must be appropriate for the particular circumstances, as determined via the full and equal participatory dialogue of all local people involved, with all other partners (such as the First World NGOs, scientific researchers, etc.)

General Strategies in a Complex World

This section is a partial list of attempted efforts by the developmental community in general. There is no single solution, no single set of steps to achieve a people’s well-being.Each strategy has its strengths and inadequacies; in isolation any strategy’s success may be either limited or of short duration.

  1. Capacity-building in general: Within a local context, this is an attempt to provide a comprehensive solution allowing communities to develop the education, skills, and interactions necessary for their own development.Capacity development comprises three levels:the development of local human resources capable of designing and implementing programmes (micro);the provision of administrative support in order to ensure transparent management of institutions (meso);assistance in the definition and setup of policies and of an appropriate legal framework. (macro).Potential problems: Blockage can occur at any level although it may be influenced by internal or external advocacy, international governmental pressure, or multi-national corporate reconsideration of their policies for the area.
  2. Micro-credit and micro-enterprises: Part of development can be the ability to allow persons to use their entrepreneurial motivation and abilities to advance their living conditions.Potential problems:It may be of limited value to those who are not entrepreneurial-minded.Also, in isolation, that is, without taking into account local politics and power, ecological issues that may in fact degrade the situation, and so on, micro-enterprises may have limited scope and perhaps even negative results.In such cases, it may not necessarily address the more fundamental issue of empowerment.
  3. Women in Development: Focusing on the social and economic empowerment of women has had dramatic effects in some areas.  This is a valuable insight, but needs to be placed within the larger context of  believing that each gender must take responsibility and have the full freedom and opportunity to achieve his or her own development and to establish respectful relationships with the other gender.  However, due to the long-standing history of subordinate roles and systemic barriers to women’s full and meaningful participation, at times there is a need to strategically concentrate efforts on women to remove these barriers and alter attitudes.  Major problems: Long standing cultural steaotypes of both genders;  misplaced relativistic ethics.
  4. Sustainable Agriculture: One aspect of development is food security. It is an economic issue for small producers and actively encourages environmentally sound agricultural practices. Limitations: it does not address the full spectrum of society.
  5. Global education and engagement of North Americans: One component of development is the raising of awareness among North Americans of global conditions, how our attitudes and lifestyles impact it and how we can appropriately and effectively be engaged as agents of change. Major challenges: it is difficult to impact the strong pull of consumerism or to counteract misleading or simplistic but powerful media images; it can be difficult to make one’s voice heard among all other voices vying for attention and/or asking for donations, plus the various voices can lead to confusing and mixed messages.


    Back to Home