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Introducing key global development challenges
Introducing key global development challenges

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Introducing key global development challenges


Development is about change at local, national, international and global levels. Building a new shopping centre, changing national educational policy, creating international defence alliances, or developing a global transport system are forms of deliberate development. Such changes affect all of us, our livelihoods, and our wellbeing to a greater or lesser extent, depending on where we are located in the overall picture. The issues of deep concern associated with development, such as environmental degradation, poverty, disruptive new technologies, and shifting global power dynamics, connect every society around the world. Responding to such issues entails wide-reaching social, economic, political, cultural and environmental processes. There is a need for a renewed focus on cross-cutting principles of equality, justice and peace if development is to take the form of what Robert Chambers (1997) described as ‘good change’.

In this course, four key challenges - conflict, governance, justice and transformation- are introduced. They act as a means of framing key development principles and are central to seeking an understanding of any development issue. The four challenges force us to rethink the nature and meaning of development, and to critically evaluate attempts to address complex global issues. They call for recognition of obstacles that stand in the way of enabling the level of change that will benefit a wide range of people, and that is sufficient to resolve deep-seated social and economic problems. The challenges also provoke us to think through such difficulties and imagine a better future for all.

After exploring the meaning of the four challenges, you will read about one specific global development issue, that of migration. You will then focus on a particular case study, that of increased migration to the Greek island of Lesvos during the so-called ‘migration crisis’ in Europe in 2015, as a means of appreciating the complexity of the migration issue. You will use the four key challenges to provoke new questions and to evolve a deeper understanding on this and other global development issues.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DD871 Key challenges in global development [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . You might also be interested in the related OpenLearn course, DD870 Introducing global development. To find out more, explore this OpenLearn article, which includes a video explaining what you can expect to learn.