Inclusive and sustainable development: challenges, opportunities, policies and partnerships

Research reports and studies
September 2012
Andrew Norton and Andrew Rogerson. Foreword by Simon Maxwell

These two challenge papers were commissioned by DANIDA in preparation for the International High Level Conference ‘Development policy in a changing world’, marking DANIDA’s 50th anniversary.

The papers aim to address key questions posed at the conference:

  • first, how had the development challenge changed, and how could it be understood for the future?
  • second, what were the implications for development agencies and development partnerships?
Paper 1, ‘The challenge of, and opportunities for, inclusive and sustainable development’ by Andrew Norton, ODI Director of Research, aims to support high level discussion on the challenges facing global development. It reviews four key challenges: persistent poverty; globalisation and socio-economic transitions; sustainable development in the context of climate change; and human security, violence and conflict.

Major potential risks include shocks in the world economy, civil conflict and fragility, long-term resource scarcities and climate change. As a result, policy needs to engage with change, focusing on the supra-national level to deliver global public goods.

The most significant contemporary challenge is at a meta-level – how to improve the weak capacity of global institutions, processes and relationships to act coherently to address collective action problems in an increasingly multi-polar world.

Paper 2, ‘The policy and institutional response to development challenges: forging new partnerships’ by Andrew Rogerson, ODI Senior Research Associate picks up the themes emerging from paper 1 to address the policy and institutional responses that are needed for inclusive and sustainable development.

The paper argues that the challenges outlined in Paper 1 call for collective action of an unprecedented scale, scope and speed. It examines the complex institutional space occupied by the many actors, policies and instruments available to tackle these challenges, and their varied motivations and capabilities. It outlines three main options available to development agencies:
  • concentrate on being an efficient disburser of official development assistance (ODA)
  • become brokers and managers of ODA and ODA-like funds, concentrating on financial issues and building stronger partnerships with the private sector and non-traditional donors
  • become deal-makers and brokers across government and internationally, providing a unique perspective and resources (financial and non-financial) on issues that shape global well-being.
Together, these two challenge papers aim to illuminate the context of the current development paradigm, and outline potential responses.