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Credited Courses

UNU Intensive Core Courses

Sustainable Development (SD)

2 credits

Course Description

The aim of this course is to foster a better understanding of the most pressing issues in development as well as the linkage between international cooperation and development outcomes.

The course begins by providing an overview of the evolution in development thinking and practice, and of how the main actors of development have evolved since the implementation of the Marshall Plan (including States and non-State actors, such as the United Nations, the Bretton Woods institutions, the private sector and civil society). It analyses guiding concepts such as national interest and international solidarity with the aim of exploring the real effectiveness of aid in addressing the main challenges we are confronted with. The course further highlights issues relating to development financing and aims to provide an in-depth analysis of bilateral and multilateral aid while putting these into perspective with trade. Core issue areas in development will be  addressed: the course aims at highlighting pressing policy concerns — such as growth, poverty, inequalities, sustainability, education, health, gender, culture, democracy and governance — and the ways in which the international community is trying to foster human-centred development in these areas through best practices.

The course further gives substantial attention to political issues, questions of gender and the social dimension of development, as well as to alternative approaches to development thinking. The analysis of case studies is an important element of the course: both renowned scholars and practitioners will lecture in this course, helping to bring about a balance between theory and practice.

Week 1: Development Theory, History and Policy

  • Introduction and Overview
  • Evolution of Aid and International Cooperation for Development
  • International Development and South-North Relations

Week 2: Aid Effectiveness, Intellectual Property (IP) and Development

  • Aid Effectiveness: Basic Facts
  • Bilateral and Multilateral Aid
  • WIPO, Intellectual Property (IP) and Global Development

Week 3: Development and Globalization

  • Emerging Issues: Intellectual Property (IP), Development, and Global Challenges
  • Globalization of Inequalities or Globalization with a Human Face?
  • Development and New –or Not so New?- Challenges

Week 4: Gender, Development and Empowerment

  • Relating Gender and Development
  • Empowerment in the Context of Globalization
  • Case Studies of the Gender/Development Interface

Week 5: International System, Poverty and Trade

  • The Nature of Poverty
  • Emerging Patterns of Inequality
  • Trade and Social Inequalities

Week 6: Culture, Society and Development

  • Connecting Culture and Development
  • Synthesis Session
  • Course Wrap-up

*Please note that the topics listed below may be subject to change.


The course will be taught by the staff of UNU and prominent external experts in the field.