What is international development?

What is international development?

International development is focused on engaging with economically disadvantaged regions to empower people to improve their well-being and address the causes and effects of poverty.

The concept of international development is underlined by the idea that societies and countries have differing levels of 'development' and can be categorised as developed, developing or least developed.

More than 700 million people, or 10% of the world population, still live in extreme poverty so the scale of the challenge is immense. But there is a plan and civil society organisations, the private sector, and governments are all involved.

How is the world approaching sustainable development?

In 2015 all United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the core of this agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are a call for action by all countries.

They SDGs recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The 17 SDGs are:

GOAL 1: No Poverty

GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being

GOAL 4: Quality Education

GOAL 5: Gender Equality

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality

GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

GOAL 13: Climate Action

GOAL 14: Life Below Water

GOAL 15: Life on Land

GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions

GOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal

 

Each year a Sustainable Development Goals Report is published by the UN Secretary-General and provides an overview of the world’s implementation efforts to date, with the latest UN data highlighting areas of progress and areas where more action needs to be taken to ensure no one is left behind.

In 2019 the report showed that says that, despite headway on some SDGs, hunger is going in the wrong direction. 821 million people were undernourished in 2017, up from 784 million in 2015.

Isabelle and her sons, who are all are acutely malnourished. Photo: Chris de Bode
Isabelle and her sons, who are all are acutely malnourished. Photo: Chris de Bode
Ahimed Ali Mahamed now has apple trees - and the skills to tend to them thanks for Concern supported programme. Photo: Jennifer Nolan / Concern Worldwide
Ahimed Ali Mahamed now has apple trees - and the skills to tend to them. Photo: Jennifer Nolan
Concern Program Manager Akunsito Kananji with Baby David in Malawi. David's family home was washed away with all their belongings. David's family are casual labourers. With no crops to harvest, his parent won't have any work this season. Photo: Gavin Douglas
Concern Program Manager Akunsito Kananji with Baby David in Malawi. Photo: Gavin Douglas
Zaccharia Roberto pushes his bicycle laden with charcoal across a flooded river near Nhamatanda, Mozambique. Cyclone Idai has disrupted infrastructure across the country, impacting livelihoods and hampering aid efforts. Photo: Tommy Trenchard / Concern Worldwide
Zaccharia Roberto pushes his bicycle laden with charcoal across a flooded river in Mozambique.
Marie shows other women in her community how to improve hygiene in the house by using a tip-tap for hand washing. Burundi. Photo: Darren Vaughan
Marie shows other women in her community how to improve hygiene in the house. Burundi. Photo: Darren Vaughan

What is the UK government doing to end extreme poverty?

The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. They are responsible for:

  • honouring the UK’s international commitments and taking action to achieve the United Nations’ Global Goals
  • making British aid more effective by improving transparency, openness and value for money
  • targeting British international development policy on economic growth and wealth creation
  • improving the coherence and performance of British international development policy in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  • improving the lives of girls and women through better education and a greater choice on family planning
  • preventing violence against girls and women in the developing world
  • helping to prevent climate change and encouraging adaptation and low-carbon growth in developing countries

 

DFID works in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, many of which are fragile or at risk from fragile neighbours. They also have regional programmes in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. In addition to working directly in countries, DFID also gives UK Aid through multi-country global programmes and core contributions to multilaterals such as the UN and the World Bank.

The World Bank is the world’s largest development institution. The Bank Group works with country governments, the private sector, civil society organisations, regional development banks, think tanks, and other international institutions on issues ranging from climate change, conflict, and food security to education, agriculture, finance, and trade. All of these efforts support the Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity of the poorest 40 percent of the population in all countries.

Can we end poverty and hunger by 2030?

Share your concern