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DWN 2014 : Development: What Now?


When Oct 9, 2014 - Oct 11, 2014
Where Hong Kong
Submission Deadline Jun 30, 2014
Categories    international development   foreign aid   poverty reduction   social sciences

Call For Papers

In 2015 the Millennium Development agenda which was set up more than a decade ago will come to an end. Nevertheless, many countries will need more years and better focused policies to fully achieve the eight established goals. Importantly, while in 2000 the main concern was to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and improve health, today’s challenges appear more complex. People demand more than just having a meal or meeting basic needs. The Arab spring, the riots in Ukraine, the mass protests in the European Union, in Thailand, South America, South Africa, and the weekly rallies and protests in Hong Kong, are clear signs of people wanting to have democracy, security, peace, good governance, rule of law, equality, human rights and freedom of speech in place rather than rhetoric. All these have suggested it is time to re-examine, rethink and reconfigure what development means in an age of post-globalised rapid economic growth and affluence.

In 1960, Lester B. Pearson affirmed that "The widening gap between the developed and developing countries has become a central issue of our time." Ironically, the same statement remains both relevant and urgent not only for emerging but also for affluent economies as social inequalities have become more visible. In China, for example, the benefits of double-digit economic growth have been enjoyed mostly only by a small part of the population. Likewise, the break-neck rapid economic expansion of India and China and their consumptions of energy and natural resources have raised some serious environmental concerns. This also means that the development agenda has been changed.

For one thing, the Western powers as aid donors have been challenged by the rise of China and its new agenda of aid-giving emphasizing sovereignty, respect and partnership, particularly in their ways of delivering aids to many African countries, has rewritten many rules governing the aid industry. Yet the Chinese model has prompted criticism for its sole economic focus without any consideration for instituting and strengthening democracy, especially when their development experiences are compared with Taiwan, South Korea and Japan; where democracy has been incorporated as part and parcel with development. Certainly the Millennium Development Agenda has brought positive steps towards poverty reduction with more than 1 billion people taken out of extreme poverty since its implementation. However, new challenges have arisen. A series of financial crises and subsequent unemployment, which has plagued the European Union, have also brought a further decline of the welfare state in many Western countries. However, being poor in Europe is different from being poor in a developing economy. Many skilled Europeans are now moving to developing countries to seek skilled and well-remunerated work opportunities, creating a different flow of population movement with many of its impacts on these countries unexamined.

Meanwhile, while sustainable development and local empowerment have been seen as key to a successful development agenda, in reality minority and vulnerable groups, ranging from people with disability, LGBT, of different religious and linguistic backgrounds, and stateless people, have been deprived of their rights and freedom. Increasing frequencies of natural disasters brought forward by extreme climate change have also caused displacement, impoverishment and loss of lives of hundreds of thousands everywhere, covering the Philippines, Haiti, China, the US, UK, Indonesia, Japan and Pakistan. In short, after another decade of development effort, the question remains: What now?

It is in these contexts that the conference will explore the following themes and questions:

Where is development heading to? What are we looking for?
What are the aims of development in this ever-changing world?
How are the new ideas emerging and what can people do to influence development?
What are the strategies for formulating an effective development agenda?
What are the alternatives models for development?
What are the roles for international organisations, nation-states, local governments and private individuals in development?
What can be done to plan and address climate change and help people to prepare for natural disasters?

In addressing these questions, the conference will organize a number of panels covering the following themes:

1) Goals of development;

2) Strategies of development;

3) Diversity in development;

4) Development and risks;

5) Politics of development; and

6) Roles of key players in development


Submission of abstracts (300 words to
30 June 2014

Submission of presentations
30 September 2014

Submission of final papers
30 September 2014

Registration opens 1 August 2014 (No fee will be charged)

9-10-11 October 2014


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