Another Development

The report What Now: Another Development, was published already in 1975 for the special session on Development at the UN General Assembly — as a result of an extensive process involving scholars and activists from both the Global South and Global North. 

The report is still highly relevant and merits careful reconsideration.

What Now was issued one year after the UN General Assembly resolution on the establishment of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) at a time when the Third World was asserting itself with confidence, and unprecedented unity.

What Now concluded that:

‘[D]evelopment is a whole; it is an integral, value-loaded, cultural process; it encompasses the natural environment, social relations, education, production, consumption and well-being. The plurality of roads to development answers to the specificity of cultural or natural situations; no universal formula exists. Development is endogenous; it springs from the heart of each society, which relies first on its own strength and resources and defines in sovereignty the vision of its future, cooperating with societies sharing its problems and aspirations’.

In addition to the principle of endogenous development, other core principles of Another Development highlighted that development must:

• Provide basic needs, equity, and well-being for all;

• Respect the ecological ‘outer limits’ (the idea of planetary boundaries several decades ahead of its time);

• Ensure that development must treasure self-reliance in the sense of cooperation and exchange with others, but with energy, food, and other systems not at the mercy of other commercial or geo- political forces.

• Enshrine the notion of ‘collective self-reliance’ as a key force for Third World countries to exercise collective power to change the current economic and political world order, including controlling and reigning in the power of Transnational Corporations;

• A fifth, concluding principle underscored the need to understand that all societies, in order to achieve the four other principles, would need to undergo deep transformations — and that there are no ‘developed’ societies.