The Connexions Annual:
Introduction to Development, International
In recent years, we have become increasingly aware that there
is only one earth. For better or worse, we share this planet with
other people, and with all other living species. If the rainforests
disappear, the greenhouse effect will have devastating effects on
us all. If other countries are in crisis, if they are ravaged by
economic catastrophes, repression, or civil war, their refugees
will appear on our doorsteps. If they douse the food they export
to us with dangerous chemicals, we and they will both develop the
Yet there are enormous pressures dividing us and pitting us against
each other — nation against nation, ethnic group against ethnic
group, religion against religion.
The international nature of the world’s economy, dominated as it
is by multinational corporations, is itself an enormous source of
division and conflict. The system sets up intense competition to
attract economic activity, leading to pressure to keep unions out
and wages low, slash taxes and social programmes, ignore environmental
dangers. Local economies are warped to meet the demands of production
for the international market.
Our hope of turning this around is to join together across international
borders and other dividing lines to work together and support each
other in evolving non–exploitative forms of sustainable development.
We in the ‘developed’ world have a special responsibility to stand
by the Third World, which, already desperately poor, is being plunged
into further misery and environmental devastation by massive debt
payments to first world banks and by irrational economic policies
dictated by the International Monetary Fund, the multinational corporations, and the local elites they enrich.
We owe the peoples of the Third World a debt of solidarity, but
beyond that we must realize that the issues of world peace and the
global environment which concern us here in the West cannot be solved
unless the issues of poverty, women’s liberation, land reform, and sustainable economic
development are dealt with in the Third World.
Many of the groups in this section are concerned with promoting
alternative forms of sustainable development — development as distinct from growth. Such approaches tend to the
small–scale and the local, and are concerned with getting resources
to those who need them most and will put them to the best use. Perhaps
most importantly, such initiatives necessarily require empowering
local people and communities (and especially the women who are often
the key to rural economies), helping them to plan and implement
projects which meet their needs and which they can control. It is
a fundamental fact that a development project will only work if
local people feel that it is theirs.
Other groups concentrate on education, a key component in development,
and equally important in our own country to create support for appropriate
forms of development.
Yet other organizations are concerned with issues in particular
countries or regions, such as South Africa, Chile, or the Middle East.
All of them grow out of the belief that the principle of `Thinking
Globally, Acting Locally’ can and must also be extended to acting locally on behalf of and in solidarity with those
in other parts of this globe.
Aussi disponible en français:
Connexions: Introduction au Développement International
Other Overview Articles from the Connexions Annual:
to the Connexions Annual
to the Arts, Media, Culture section of the Connexions Annual
to the Community, Urban, Housing section of the Connexions Annual
to the Development, International section of the Connexions Annual
to the Economy, Poverty, Work section of the Connexions Annual
to the Education, Children section of the Connexions Annual
to the Environment, Land Use, Rural section of the Connexions Annual
to the Health section of the Connexions Annual
to the Human Rights, Civil Liberties section of the Connexions Annual
to the Lesbians, Gays section of the Connexions Annual
to the Native Peoples section of the Connexions Annual
to the Peace section of the Connexions Annual
to the Women section of the Connexions Annual
and Reading List from the Connexions Annual
Other Resources and Links:
Selected articles in the Connexions Online Library
Online: Development & International Links