How Global Development Leaders Think Their Field is Changing

Originally from the Brookings website.

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survey of 93 leaders, representing a wide range of organizations working to advance human well-being and economic development, reveals a global development sector in transition and perhaps even turmoil. Ending extreme poverty is no longer the defining lens through which development is viewed: State fragility and climate were mentioned nearly three times more often than poverty, and migration was mentioned more than twice as often. Leaders worry that responses to these and other global challenges are inadequate.

Though we found clusters of consensus, overall the survey reveals broad fragmentation across the global development sector, with respondents identifying a startlingly wide range of priorities, concerns, opportunities, and paths forward. The most frequently mentioned challenge is access to funding and resources, which is viewed as a fundamental challenge to addressing human needs worldwide as well as to the financial health and viability of development organizations and their missions. Leaders report excitement about new actors in development, new partners, new innovations, new applications of technology and data, new models of development finance, new revenue streams, and the potential of all these trends to improve development outcomes and, in the process, people’s lives. They see the rise of middle-income countries, local partners within developing countries, the private sector, and the role of China as long-term trends that will transform global development. Together, these and other trends are forcing development organizations to innovate—and, for some, to worry about their sustained relevance.

Global Communities President and CEO, David Weiss, was one of the 93 global development leaders surveyed in this study. Read the summary of the findings here. Read the full survey results here.