What is development?


Challenges posed by local development reflect an in-depth debate about the concept of 'development'. In the past decades, the concepts that used to define development since the end of World War II have been challenged. Development, when measured solely by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate, does not express other critical elements, such as social justice, economic prosperity, and respect for environmental limits.

Discussions held throughout decades looked for new references for the concept of development. One of the most significant references is the concept of sustainable development, recorded in the 'Our Common Future' report, published by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. According to that document, development can be deemed sustainable when 'it responds to current basic needs, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations'. At that time, the Human Development Index (HDI) was also formulated, as a result of life expectancy indicators and levels of education, as well as GDP per capita. First published in 1990, the HDI soon became a more suitable alternative to measure human development evolution.

Another milestone in the global movement for an economically sustainable, socially fair and environmentally balanced development was Rio 92 - the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The conference produced documents to guide practices in a global society and improve governmental actions, such as the Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Since then, new concepts and ways to encourage development started to be discussed worldwide, by countries, states, and also at the local level.

For GVces, the concept of local sustainable development is based on the promotion of better quality of life for the population, according to their ability to generate resources available in a certain territory, which may include the municipality as well as surrounding areas. Governments are considered critical for local development, but engagement of the civil society and the private sector is also very important to find alternate solutions, make decisions and raise funds that will enable the development agenda.

System Indicators

Check out Juruti Indicators online system, produced by GVces in a project jointly developed with representatives of Juruti, a town in the state of Para, with the purpose of thinking of development paths for the region, which hosts a large mining project.