All contributions listed here are under creative commons, and can be republished with reference to the ISC, UNDP and the Author.
Conceptualizing and understanding human development requires intercultural dialogue and engagement with other traditions and ways of seeing the world, says Johannes M. Waldmüller.
Sari Hanafi frames human development as “the aim of living a good life with and for others in just institutions”.
Poor people have expert knowledge of the complexities of living in poverty, yet their perspectives are often excluded from development discourse. Future Human Development Reports must acknowledge the hidden dimensions of poverty, argues Xavier Godinot.
Photo: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré via Flickr.
The world has never been more unequal, and it is time to reclaim the notion of human development in thinking and policy-making, and to recalibrate strategy for delivering on it, says Adebayo Olukoshi.
One of the most important aspects of rearticulating human development is to emphasize the need for fairness to nature and other living beings. We cannot be developed unless our lives become reconnected and in balance, in cooperation and harmony with nature, according to Yanfen Wang.
The climate change emergency and the digital century are challenges to all of us and at the very same time they are challenges to each of us. They demand attention to our shared humanity, says Shoshana Zuboff.
Jürgen Nagler provides eight talking points on rethinking human development from a “mindset” point of view
Mariana Mazzucato explores how a missions-orientated approach must be used to solve “wicked” problems, including reinvigorating the debate about value and value-creation.
Photo: Simon Fraser University
Mandy Yap argues that conceptualizing and measuring Indigenous wellbeing that is both relevant and usable, requires an alternative approach
Leena Srivastava discusses the issues around empowerment and opportunity, dignity and respect.
Jason Hickel discusses the direct harm high income economies cause to the rest of the world
David Molden suggests that a rethinking of human development needs more weight on non-material aspects such as happiness, cultural richness, diversity or nature
Isabel Ortiz reflects on how governments are facing an unprecedented high level of debt and fiscal deficits because of the COVID-19 emergency and how austerity cuts undermining human development
Aditi Mukherji argues that human destiny cannot be separated from Earth’s destiny, and, flourishing is impossible without access to clean water.
Ian Gough argues for the kind of development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the abilities of future generations.
David A. Crocker’s reflections on the visionary role of a normative view of human development, informed by ethical thinking, concerned with humanity and future generations.
Desmond McNeill reflects on how we can’t solve environmental challenges, protect future generations, or achieve individual human wellbeing without social cohesion.
Flavio Comim explores why we have to pay more attention to Martha Nussbaum’s work in thinking about human development.
Julio Lumbreras’ reflections on human development and a systems approach to cities
Amy Luers says it’s time to shift our thinking towards “humanity development” – an approach that removes the emphasis on the individual and that instead focuses on the systems in which humanity functions every day.
Dr Connie Nshemereirwe discusses how human development needs to be self-determined, and why it cannot be externally imposed
Marc Fleurbaey proposes to define human development with diversity of values in mind.
Sakiko Fukuda-Parr‘s reflections on human development
Facundo García Valverde‘s reflections on human development
Adrian Jjuuko’s reflections on human development
Photo: Erwin Olaf
Stuart Carr’s reflections on human development
Jhonatan Clausen’s reflections on human development
Ilona Otto’s reflections on human development
Des Gasper’s reflections on human development
Karen O’Brien‘s reflections on human development
Craig Calhoun’s reflections on human development
An extract from an interview on rearticulating human development, with Maria Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition.
Photo: Maria Mendiluce
Anne Greet Keizer’s reflection on human development
Photo: The Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR)
David C. Korten asks – Is humanity’s defining economic goal to grow GDP or to secure the wellbeing of people and the living Earth?
Photo: David Korten
Anthony Bogues’ reflection on human development
Photo: Brown University
Arthur Grimes’ reflection on human development
Photo: Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Responses from the scientific community
“We are in an era of unprecedented technological advancements. Science providers need to reflect on ethical dilemmas, with an eye to improving gender/age/context specific communication and coordination with communities and Indigenous people.”
Shona van Zijll de Jong
Queens University, Geothics – IPAG Canada Chapter, CGEN
“We would need to step away from “human centric” priorities, and begin to acknowledge, for instance, what do the active market economics of trees look like? How and what do they need in order to thrive? How do we need to alter our thinking/systems in order to accommodate those needs?”
Cassandra Blondin Burt
Medicine Talk, USA
Photo: Cassandra Blondin-Burt
“The COVID crisis reminds us of the importance of the state, the collective and solidarity. We need to advance towards a conception of human development that has at its centre the possibility to build a new order, based don justice, the recognition of diversity, the re-articulation of science and public policy, the deepening of democracy, peacebuilding and the recognition of the key role of social movements and inequality.”
Executive Secretary of CLACSO
Photo: The Wilson Center
“[The human development approach] should utilize all unpolarized communication means so that institutions of goodwill participate in the process. The framework is the global achievement of happiness, equality of opportunities, and harmony of mankind. The blind spot is to change the mentality of success meaning accumulation of assets.”
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Academy of Science
“The conceptual understanding of Human-Centered development must shift towards Nature-Centered development while respecting the Rights-of-Nature and Rights-of-Soil so that nature is protected, restored and allowed to flourish. Because human are part of the nature, restoration and enhancement of nature will automatically lead to human wellbeing and prosperity. Human must learn to work in synergism with nature.”
International Union of Soil Science/Ohio State University
“Keep our human bond with and within the web of life is the biggest challenge of our time. Therefore, we must leave behind the present human centered development for an overall human development centered within Nature.”
Othon Henry Leonardos
University of Brasilia, Brazil
Photo: Beatriz Ferraz / Secom UnB
“The potential of the human development approach is that, since its primary conceptualizations in the 80s […] it tried to bring philosophical aspects of development into the political debate. […] This philosophical coalescence is not easy to achieve, nonetheless, but has all his rewards in the course changing of misconceptions about human ends and human needs. A risk exists, however, in the ‘technocratization’ of the human development approach and its policy content. An optimum point of view must make communicable to technical and political elites, as well as ordinary people, a message that has profound roots in reason and in the reflection about human nature.”
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean)
Photo: University of Virginia
“The human centred development is about more choice. It is, in fact, about providing people with opportunities, not insisting that they make use of them. […] The process of development (HD) should at least create an environment for people, individually and collectively, to develop to their full potential and to have a reasonable chance of leading productive and creative lives that they value.”
Santosh Kumar Mishra
Women’s University, India
Photo: The Club of Rome
“Human development is founded on the understanding that we are part of a larger eco-system that requires balance; a balance that is exhibited in our cultural and geographical differences, our values, and our preferences on how to live.”
Angela R. Pashayan
Howard University / Washington, DC, USA
“The first great effort to undertake will be to enhance the level of literacy in all the world. Parents must be expected to have the physical, economic, and mental abilities to put their children into the world. Procreation cannot more be a private matter, it becomes a public fact.”
Photo: Adriana Galvani
“In the near future, the digital divide is a particularly decisive challenge, not to mention pandemics as COVID19. The disruption fostered by digital technologies is shaping the world to come, like never before in the history of humanity.”
University of Omar Bongo Libreville / UNESCO MOST
“Humanity has become a geological force, which interacts with natural processes, not always in a positive life-supporting way. […] Since human beings are a species in development, the concept of human development should definitely be rethought and reworked towards an increase in self-development by means of complex multidisciplinary methods, leading towards a more positive interplay between humans and natural processes.”
Cristina De Campos
Brazilian Academy of Science/ LMU Munich
“[Human Development] means a development that focuses on humans in harmony with their environment. A development that prioritizes health and education, over the aspects of the production of goods and services and that the services and goods are organized with equality and reach to all human beings.” (translated from Spanish)
CEM UCV / Celarg
“We need to move beyond the assumption that human agency is the only force shaping development, and to embrace the increasingly apparent fact that natural systems such as the climate and other components of the global ecosystem are imbued with a form of capacity, serving as impersonal agents shaping our world. Embracing both social and ecological sources of agency in the world entails a far-reaching shift beyond conventional human-centric assumptions of agency, and towards an approach to human development theory that embraces complexity and systems theory.”
Regional Hub for the Arab States, United Nations Development Programme, Egypt/Jordan
“The human development approach may help the public in the developed world grasp the immense challenges posed by gross inequalities and possibly also help that public to further understand the dependence of all humans on a healthy natural world and, thus, the need to protect land, sea and climate, all without exacerbating disadvantage.”
University of Tasmania, Tasmania
Photo: The Club of Rome
“The regeneration of natural and built environments, on the one hand, and the social and cultural regeneration, on the other, is a two-way street, both intertwining and depending on each other. Changes must be simultaneous in time and space, in view of reciprocal support (motivations and enabling contexts are complementary aspects). An Ecological civilization includes natural and built environments, health, education, equity, ethics, safety, justice and beauty.”
Andrea Francisco Pilon
University of Sao Paulo / International Academy of Science, Brazil
Photo: The Club of Rome