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No future without justice – Report of the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives

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H Melber (ed)
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This paper argues that the world faces a number of global crises which reflect the failures of the dominant model of development and economic progress. This model ignores human rights and the ecological limits of the global ecosystem, and considers poverty as a primarily technical challenge in which categories of inequality and social justice are neglected. As a response, the Civil Society Reflection Group on Global Development Perspectives brought together 18 civil society activists and scholars from different disciplines to draw lessons from the current crises, looking beyond conventional development concepts and goals, questioning the models and measures of development and social progress, and presenting alternatives. For example, when thinking about indicators and goals, the report suggests moving beyond GNP/GDP as a primary indicator, and instead focusing on equity and distribution, well being, human rights and sustainability. Ideas for progression include emphasising progressive taxation so that rich individuals, transnational corporations and large landowners can be taxed accordingly, and strengthening participatory, gender and human rights budgeting initiatives, ensuring that budgets are complying with government’s obligation to promote, protect and fulfil the economic, social and cultural human rights of present and future generations. The report also recommends focusing on small producers and ecological farming, since these farming methods secure long-term productivity, increase resilience, conserve the soil and protect biodiversity. Such methods have the potential to produce more food per hectare than industrial agriculture but implementation will require a significant shift in investment. Gender sensitive policies are an essential part of increasing and stabilising this local food production.