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Adapting development: improving services to the poor

Research reports

Written by Leni Wild, Marta Foresti

2015 will see renewed global commitments to sustainable development. It is clear that there is much to be done, and that new challenges have emerged since the global agreement on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) back in 2000. 

But there is less clarity on what kind of effort is now needed to deliver lasting development, and there is a big danger that new international commitments will rely on ‘more of the same’. On current trends, it will take decades – if not longer – to bring basic services of adequate quality to the world’s most disadvantaged people. 

Meeting this challenge demands a radical departure from the MDG approach: extra funding will not be enough, and broad calls for ‘good governance’ or ‘inclusive institutions’ will miss the point. 

This report argues that if we are to avoid reproducing the pattern of uneven progress that has characterised the MDG campaign, there must be more explicit recognition of the political conditions that enable or obstruct development progress. 

In this context, domestic reformers and their international partners must pursue innovative and politically smart ways to tackle the most intractable problems. The report is, therefore, aimed at governments, domestic reformers and at the external actors (donor agencies, NGOs and others) that can support them to do development differently. 

Leni Wild, David Booth, Clare Cummings, Marta Foresti and Joseph Wales