The development sector works to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a nation, region, local community or individuals. This can include working on projects or initiatives that combat climate change, provide access to clean drinking water, promote financial literacy, create entrepreneurship and job skills, and improve education, health, and infrastructure. You might also think of the work done by intergovernmental organizations, like the United Nations or World Bank, that are focused on addressing issues on a global scale.
Rather than thinking of development as a yardstick against which a nation is judged (the First World versus the Third World), it should be understood as a characteristic of the system. It describes the ability of the system to sustain improvements in human well-being.
While there can be value judgements made on what counts as development, it is universally acceptable that the goal of development should be to fulfil mankind’s basic needs. To do this, the development sector must be concerned with the improvement of people’s living standards and their ability to make their own choices. This can be achieved by promoting a sustainable economic growth, improving food security and nutrition, providing safe water, increasing access to educational opportunities and healthcare, and by promoting democratic decentralisation of government decision-making. These goals should be pursued by both developed and developing countries alike. This requires a unified approach to development, integrating the economic and social components in plans and policies for people’s betterment.