Some examples of development theories

Macro-economic development

– often attempt an explanation of the historical development of (Western) economies
– identify barriers to growth within other economies – the barriers identified have shifted or been augmented over the last 50 years, with the need for transparent governance practices being one of the most current. This is evident, for example, in the Australian Development Assistance Program
– propose development models that will remove these barriers
– may variously identify private enterprise or state institutions as the prime actors in achieving development, and so include both capitalist and socialist models of development. May also variously advocate centralised, localised, privatised and government-led policies and programs
– are linear in approach, reasoning that if attention is given to specific ‘key’ factors within the social, economic or political situations of an ‘underdeveloped/developing’ country then economic development and social betterment will follow
– have the benefit of furthering understanding of some of the factors that hinder development and identifying opportunities and limitations.

IVP volunteers may come across examples of macro development projects supported by the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and national development assistance agencies such as AusAID.

Local development

– highlight the need for members of communities to be actively engaged in their own economic and political development
– emphasise assistance that creates local capabilities and sustainable economies
– some versions may still be linear in approach; others, especially those that are founded in an ecological perspective of the objectives and impacts of development, are more wholistic
– generally recognise that each community is unique and that assistance must be tailored to local needs in order to be effective and provide lasting benefits; genuinely people-centred development theories regard all communities as possessing at least some of the resources required, rather than having to rely totally on external inputs
– conversely must find ways to resolve the limits to local resources and to integrate local responses with national policies and programs. Decentralisation of national government, not just in service provision but also in priority setting and decision making, is seen as fundamental to the success of local development models
– generally share the current macro-economic development concern with transparent and accountable governance, and equitable access to reliable infrastructure.

IVP volunteers may come across local development projects supported and delivered by non-government, not-for-profit organisations based within countries they visit as well as international organisations such as Oxfam. Micro-finance is another initiative that they will often encounter, in which small amounts of money are lent through locally-managed and socially-inclusive services to allow individuals to create and expand business initiatives that are appropriate to the local area and resources.

SCI and IVP are not development organisations, but the philosophy and values of SCI and the purposes of workcamps orientate SCI and IVP towards a theory and model of local development aspiring to achieve the goals of local communities through the cooperation of people from all over the world.

The UN Millennium Development Goals

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to halve global poverty by 2015. All members of the United Nations have agreed to work to the achievement of these goals, pledging aid assistance and integrating commitments to the MDGs in aid and development programs. The reality is, though, that the funding provided by the developed world is falling far short of the targets set and the levels required and undermining the achievement of specific goals.

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2006 progress:
In 1990, more than 1.2 billion people – 28 per cent of the developing world’s population – lived in extreme poverty. By 2002, the proportion decreased to 19 per cent. However the number of people going hungry increased between 1995-1997 and 2001-2003. An estimated 824 million people in the developing world were affected by chronic hunger in 2003.

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

2006 progress:
Net enrolment ratios in primary education have increased from in 79 per cent in 1990 to 86 per cent in 2002 in the developing world, ranging from 95 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean to 64 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

2006 progress:
Women’s political participation has increased significantly since 1990. One in five parliamentarians elected in 2005 are women, bringing the percentage of parliamentary seats held by women in 2006 worldwide from 12 to almost 17per cent.

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality

2006 progress:
Though survival prospects have improved in every region, 10.5 million children died before their fifth birthday in 2004 – mostly from preventable causes.

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

2006 progress:
Though the issue has been high on the international agenda for two decades, ratios of maternal mortality seem to have changed little in regions where most deaths occur (sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia). Skilled care at delivery is one of the key elements necessary to reduce maternal mortality. Though all regions show improvement, only 46 per cent of deliveries in sub-Saharan Africa, where almost half the world’s maternal deaths occur, are assisted by skilled attendants.

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

2006 progress:
Several countries report success in reducing HIV infection rates, through interventions that promote behaviour change. However, rates of infection overall are still growing. And the number of people living with HIV has continued to rise, from 36.2 million in 2003 to 38.6 million in 2005.

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

2006 progress:
Deforestation, primarily the conversion of forests to agricultural land, continues at an alarmingly high rate – about 13 million hectares per year. Per capita CO2 has remained fairly constant between 1990 and 2003, at 4 metric tons per person. But due to population and economic growth, overall CO2 emissions continue to rise, especially in the developing world, where growth has been most rapid.

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

2006 progress:
Aid to developing countries has increased steadily since 1997, reaching $106 billion – one third of one per cent of donors’ combined national income – in 2005. Developing countries have gained greater access to markets over the past decade. Three quarters of their exports entered developed country markets duty-free in 2004. Future debt payments for 29 heavily indebted countries have fallen by $59 billion since 1998, bringing their debt service to less than 7 per cent of export earnings.