International development is a field dedicated to improving the living conditions of the world’s population. It focuses on long-term solutions to problems such as poverty, poor health care and sanitation, human rights violations and inequalities. These solutions often involve humanitarian organizations or economic institutions, most of which were set up after World War II. Development is about growth, but not just economic growth. It is about improving the quality of life and providing opportunities for success. As our world becomes increasingly globalized, international development is a vital concern for every government, as well as for every conscious world citizen. Many terms are used to describe all aspects of international development, and some very important organizations set standards and goals for development activities. Below are some of the key terms and ideas for understanding international development What is Development? Development is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components. The purpose of development is a rise in the level and quality of life of the population, and the creation or expansion of local regional income and employment opportunities, without damaging the resources of the environment. Development is visible and useful, not necessarily immediately, and includes an aspect of quality change and the creation of conditions for a continuation of that change. The international agenda began to focus on development beginning in the second half of the twentieth century. An understanding developed that economic growth did not necessarily lead to a rise in the level and quality of life for populations all over the world; there was a need to place an emphasis on specific policies that would channel resources and enable social and economic mobility for various layers of the population. Through the years, professionals and various researchers developed a number of definitions and emphases for the term “development.” Amartya Sen, for example, developed the “capability approach,” which defined development as a tool enabling people to reach the highest level of their ability, through granting freedom of action, i.e., freedom of economic, social and family actions, etc. This approach became a basis for the measurement of development by the HDI (Human Development Index), which was developed by the UN Development Program (UNDP) in 1990. Martha Nussbaum developed the abilities approach in the field of gender and emphasized the empowerment of women as a development tool. In contrast, professionals like Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Collier focused on mechanisms that prevent or oppress development in various countries and cause them to linger in abject poverty for dozens of years. These are the various poverty traps, including civil wars, natural resources and poverty itself. The identification of these traps enables relating to political – economic – social conditions in a country in an attempt to advance development. One of the emphases in the work of Jeffrey Sacks is the promotion of sustainable development, which believes in growth and development in order to raise the standard of living for citizens of the world today, through relating to the needs of environmental resources and the coming generations of the citizens of the world. What is International Development? THE WORK OF ASSISTANCE Development work promotes international and inter-organizational connections and collaborations, from an understanding that regions and countries under conditions of poverty, or a relatively low level of development, can benefit from international assistance or collaboration. International assistance work was established with the founding of the Bretton Woods organizations after World War II, among them the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which were established in order to aid various countries to regain their strength after the war. During the 1980s, when many developing countries found themselves in difficulties with a budgetary deficit, these organizations began to supply them with credit under alternative terms, which mainly included changes in the management of the country that were meant to lead to development. These included the liberalization of markets and the promotion of openness, transparency and privatization. While some of the countries managed to gain strength following this assistance, most of them, especially the African countries, did not succeed in leveraging this international aid into long term development. Included among the additional international companies were aid organizations of the UN (the Development Program, the Environment Program, the World Health Organization, etc.) as well as additional international banks, such as the African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank. THE SECRET IS COOPERATION In addition to the international development entities, many of the developed countries operate a government branch of international development and cooperation, similar to the Israeli MASHAV (the Center for International Cooperation), whose role it is to assist development in the world in a variety of activities and fields — each country’s branch according to their policy and resources. MASHAV, for example, works mainly on training decision makers from developing countries and developing projects in the many areas in which Israel has knowledge and ability, such as agriculture, water, gender, education and regional development. Not only public bodies are active in the area of development; many private entities, profit making and non-profit, are involved as well. Some of them operate from their bases in developed countries and some within the developing countries themselves. Historically, “aid” mainly meant the transfer of funds and credit to the governments of developing countries. Since the end of the 1990s, the transfer of funds to the local level has been increasing, to local authorities, non-governmental organizations, communities or to the individuals themselves (as in the case of micro financing organizations). In addition, many of the funds are given to specific projects and not to general budgets. The reason for this is that dozens of years of donations and assistance to government budgets did not succeed in bringing about significant and long term improvement. In recent years, an emphasis has been placed on funding sustainable projects that can sustain themselves over time, even after outside funding ends. WHAT ELSE? In addition to financial assistance, developed countries and various other bodies also supply equipment, food, knowledge and experts and are very involved in strengthening the organizational and institutional systems of local workers in the field of development, out of a desire to increase the independence of the local population and decrease its dependence on international aid. The Developing World vs. the Developed World International development is mainly aimed at the neediest countries: the developing countries. “Developing world” is a vague term, but it is important to remember that it is not meant to devalue a nation or its people, but rather to capture areas of growth and opportunity. The developing world is often defined as including low-income nations. The threshold set by the World Bank for 2018-2019 for a low-income nation is a gross national income per capita of $996 to $3,985. These nations also have lower levels of human development. The Human Development Index was created by the United Nations to measure and add another dimension to development rather than just economic success. The index is based on three pillars: the ability to live a long and healthy life, access to knowledge (education) and the ability to have a decent standard of living, calculated on the basis of GNI. Map of Developing and Developed Countries (as determined by GNI per capita), ChartsBin.com The “developing world” is defined as opposed to the “developed world”, which is generally made up of high-income nations. Once again, human development scores play a role in determining whether a nation is developed or developing. Other markers that measure the “developed” and “developing” world include inequality, poverty, and gender disparity. It is important to remember that “developed nations” also have room for growth in the economy, human development, and other areas such as inequality. Who is involved in international development? There are many different stakeholders in international development. Some of them are shortened into acronyms that can be confusing. Here is an overview of some of the different players in global development: NGO: Non-governmental organizations. These types of groups are distinct from governments and engage in political and social advocacy and service delivery. They are usually, but not always, non-profit organizations. Read about NGOs here. CSO: Civil Society Organizations. These are non-profit organizations that service communities and the public. These could be faith organizations, research groups, gender equality/empowerment advocates, health clinics and more. Read about civil society and its important role in international development here. INGO: International Non-Governmental Organization. Many NGOs and CSOs are international, but an INGO refers specifically to organizations that operate at the international level. Private sector: The private sector is part of a national economy but is not linked to government. The private sector plays an important role in international development through growing economies, global economic partnerships, foreign loans and investments. These investments can have a significant impact on international development through so-called impact investing. Impact investing is an investment practice that combines measurable social, environmental and economic returns on investment with guaranteed financial returns. It is a powerful tool that can be used by the private sector, but also by governments, individuals and NGOs. Governments/Intergovernmental Organizations: Governments play a role in international development by supporting initiatives, entering into trade agreements and setting policy objectives. Intergovernmental organizations, such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the United Nations, work to foster global partnerships and multilateral movements for international development. These organizations are able to fund larger projects and initiatives because of the multitude of governments and organizations with which they work. They are also considered a relatively neutral authority on international issues. PPP: Public-Private Partnerships: International development and humanitarian aid are made up of an ecosystem of organizations and actors that must work together. To effectively work towards development goals, there must be a cross-sectoral approach. This is often referred to as PPP, or public-private partnerships. The cooperation between the public and private sector works to achieve projects that neither can fully accomplish on their own: the private sector has expertise in investment and capital building as well as management, whereas the government works to ensure the work is done in the citizens’ best interest, as well as to subsidize projects. Each party deals with risks that it is best suited to handle and shares a stake in the project. SID Israel includes a plethora of public and private organizations, as well as works with the Israeli and foreign governments. Watch a video on PPP here. For a comprehensive list of organizations involved in International Development, check out our international development glossary. Humanitarian Aid: Immediate relief Many of the approaches mentioned above take on a long term lens as they attempt to solve deep rooted issues and provide steady growth. Another crucial part of the work done by organizations involved with SID Israel in the international realm is humanitarian aid. NGOs/CSOs/ INGOs and governmental organizations usually play a role in humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid consists of financial and material assistance, as well as services and logistical support. Aid organizations respond to dire conditions such as disaster relief, epidemics, food shortages and refugee crises. These types of problems also require long term solutions, but many of the populations affected cannot wait for policies to be enacted or growth to pick up. Humanitarian aid assists these vulnerable populations, ensuring their safety and survival. Looking at our list of partners, you will be able to find organizations that partake in humanitarian aid as well as long term international development practices in various regions of the world. Everyone can play a role in improving the global condition, whether it be through humanitarian aid, advocating for policy initiatives, investing in socially beneficial companies, or simply educating yourself on the importance of international development! SID Israel has many resources for engaging with international development: check out our partners, our conferences and learning materials for inspiration! The main theories of development: The first theories of development emerged in the 1950s as a field of economic science. The American economist Rostow was one of the first to elaborate a theory of development. According to him, development is a linear historical process consisting of defined stages and is related to the level of modernization of a country. Thus, each country, as it modernized, went through the different stages of its development. Conversely, the theories of dependency maintain that development does not follow linear stages. According to the theories of dependency, it is the domination of the developed countries that has led to underdevelopment of the dominated countries, whose economies are, consequently, not very diversified. The role of the State and its choice of monetary policy are then emphasized in the search for development. In the 1970s, the theories of development from below appeared, according to which a country’s economic development does not necessarily eradicate poverty. The populations then become actors of development and not only the beneficiaries. These populations will moreover be central to the theories of human development, which establish a human development index, that has nowadays become indispensable for measuring the development of an economy. With the rise of large financial institutions, such as the IMF or the World Bank, structural adjustment theories appeared. According to them, the monetary measures taken by these organizations according to the economic conjuncture favor the functioning of the market and investments, which are conducive to development. However, for several decades, development theories have had to take into account the environmental threat. This has led to the development of the notion of sustainable development, defined as “a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Mrs. Gros Harlem Brundtland, Norwegian Prime Minister, 1987). Humanitarian Aid: Immediate relief Many of the approaches mentioned above take on a long-term lens as they attempt to solve deep rooted issues and provide steady growth. Another crucial part of the work done by organizations involved with SID Israel in the international realm is humanitarian aid. NGOs/CSOs/ INGOs and governmental organizations usually play a role in humanitarian aid. Humanitarian aid consists of financial and material assistance, as well as services and logistical support. Aid organizations respond to dire conditions such as disaster relief, epidemics, food shortages and refugee crises. These types of problems also require long term solutions, but many of the populations affected cannot wait for policies to be enacted or growth to pick up. Humanitarian aid assists these vulnerable populations, ensuring their safety and survival. Looking at our list of partners, you will be able to find organizations that partake in humanitarian aid as well as long term international development practices in various regions of the world. MAKE A DIFFERENCE AT YOUR LEVEL Everyone can play a role in improving the global condition, whether it be through humanitarian aid, advocating for policy initiatives, investing in socially beneficial companies, or simply educating yourself on the importance of international development! SID Israel has many resources for engaging with international development: check out our partners, our conferences and learning materials for inspiration!