As the founder of ADEP – Another Development Perspective, I want to welcome guests and visitors of this website as well as give people and organizations a sense of what ADEP is all about.

ADEP is an initiative and a company that promotes another development through projects, education, training, communication, debate and analysis.

ADEP works for peace, respect for human rights and sustainable development through democratic, civic and non-violent means.

ADEP works to strengthen the capacity of various actors who searches for other development perspectives, strategies and practices than established powerful global actors presents and forcing on the rest of the world. Yes, the neoliberal global order is an impossible project – just as impossible as different variants of self-centred nationalism, fascism and tribalism. These ”-isms”, alongside sexism, militarism, racism and homophobia, produces violence, inequalities, environmental stress and cultures of fear and distrust. We, as a collective and interdependent humanity, need efforts on every level of society that promotes peace, human security, respect for human rights, gender equity and sustainable development.

Why another development?

Another development is a concept developed by many actors from south and north in the 1970´s, with an interest for disseminating mainstream thinking on development and enhancement of alternative visions for the future. The roots and meening of another development thinking were examined and discussed in the early journals of Development Dialogue published in the framework of Dag Hammarskjöld Project on Development and International Cooperation. It was a an effort to reach out for a development beyond the logic of the Cold War, colonization and neocolonization as well as unsustainable use of planetary resources.

Marc Nerfins´definition in Another Development: Approaches and Strategies from 1977 (p.10-11) is still relevant even though some of the assumpitons and arguments can be problematized. He wrote:

”Essentially, its message was that there would be no genuine development and no really new international order if certain key questions were not asked – and concretely answered. Development of what, development by whom and for whom, development how, it asked, and it went on to outline the basic features of another development, required in all societies, wheter in the North or the South, centrally planned or market-dominated, at high or at a low level of productivity. Another development would be:

Need-oriented, that is, being geared to the meeting human needs, both material and non-material. It begins with the satisfaction of the basic needs of those dominated and exploited, who constitute the majority of the world´s inhabitants, and ensures at the same time the humanization of all human beings by the satisfaction of their needs for expression, creativity, equality and conviviality and to understand and master their own destiny.

Endogenous, that is, stemming from the heart of each society, which defines in sovereignty its values and the vision of its future. Since development is not a linear process, there could be no universal model, an only the plurality of development patterns can answer to the specificity of each situations.

Self-reliant, that is, implying that each society relies primarily on its own strength and resources in terms of its members energies and its natural and cultural environment. Self-reliance clearly needs to be exercised at national and international (collective self-reliance) levels but it acquires its full meaning only if rooted at local level, in the praxis of each community.

Ecologically sound, that is, utilizing rationally the resources of the biosphere in full awarness of the potential of local ecosystems as well as the global and local outer limits imposed on present and future generations. It implies the equitable access to resources by all as well as careful, socially relevant technologies.

Based on structural transformations; they are required, more often than not, in social relations, in economic activities and in their spatial distribution, as well as in the power structure, so as to realize the conditions of self-managment and participation in decision-making by all those affected by it, from the rural or urban community to the world as a whole, without which the above goals could not be achieved.

These five points are organically linked. Taken in isolation from each other, thew would not bring about the desired result. For development is seen as a whole, as an integral, cultural process, as the development of every man and woman and the whole of man and woman.

Another development means liberation.”

It was a while ago since these words where put together. However, the embedded meaning of another development with its implication for action is still very relevant considering contemporary challenges; the urgent need for transforming societies to sustainable places, mobilizing people, communities and organizations, protecting the rights of nature and people, moving away from war, violence and corruption to peace, trust, respect for human rights and rule of law, managing climate change, migration, technological development, international relations etc.

Of course, the definition put forward by Marc Nerfin and others can be questioned from different point of views; not mentioning human rights, elaborating far to little on for example gender equality, conflict management and peacebuilding, romanticizing concepts as the society and community as well as being vague about what structural transformations means.

ADEP is not putting a blind eye to the need of thinking about development in relation to contemporary challenges and contexts, but nevertheless give support to the basic analysis that Nerfin and others provided, i.e that everyone has the right to development, that ecological sustainability is necessary, that the local level is important since this is the level where the vast majority of the worlds people live their lives and where peace, human rights and sustainability need to be implemented. Empowerment of people where they live, and participation in decision-making are of outmost importance if sustainability in its full meaning will be achieved. It is also important, and necessary, that national and international policies supports local development and not the other way around; making the marginalization, opression and exploitation of local communities and people possible.

ADEP is therefore working for Another Development in projects, through different means, for and with people and organizations.

Once again, welcome!

/Ingvar Rönnbäck