A Guide to Development

The study of development is a vast and varied field. It includes studies within the ‘development industry’, helping to make such projects work better; more critical studies tracking power relationships and identifying alternatives; and research on many specific topics: from globalization to rural livelihoods; from climate resilience to urban governance; from armed conflict to youth employment; from hunger to human rights. These areas of concern are interconnected in complex ways and demand a holistic, unified approach to development.

Development involves a wide range of skills and abilities that employees need to grow and progress in their careers. Regularly developing yourself can help you to become a more effective leader, teammate and colleague. Development often involves learning new skills, such as communication or flexibility. It also requires a willingness to take risks and face failures.

Moreover, it is a long-term process. The goal of development should be to achieve sustainable improvements in people’s well-being. Improvements that are short-lived, or that do not address the most basic needs of people, should not be regarded as part of the development process.

The concept of development is a central one for the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as it is essential to achieving a more sustainable world. This guide provides an overview of development, including its underlying principles, and highlights the work of some of the UN’s key organs on the subject.