From paradigm to practice : the politics and implementation of sustainable human development in Uganda
Today, the credibility of the international development community is increasingly being called into question. At the root of the problem are the extremely unequal nature of recent growth, the end of the Cold War, economic recession in the North, and the lacklustre record of foreign aid in reaching those left behind. By the 1990s, the notion of Sustainable Human Development (SHD) or what is sometimes called People-Centred Development (PCD) was being hailed as a possible framework for building a newly-invigorated system of international development cooperation based on genuine North-South partnership, holistic, equitable, participatory, empowering and sustainable development. This thesis explores the implementability and transformational potential of the SHD/PCD paradigm by analyzing how a multilateral development agency (UNDP) and an international NGO (Action Aid) put it into practice both globally and in Uganda. Its main argument is that despite both agencies' contributions to service-delivery and training, and their genuine efforts to reorient their work towards SHD/PCD approaches, in the final analysis neither UNDP or Action Aid realize the more transformative goals of the SHD/PCD agenda or seriously challenge the status quo. This is partly due to the excessively abstract, unfinished, ideologically confused and contradictory nature of the SHD/PCD paradigm itself, (i.e., the Baroque Science Phenomenon). However UNDP and Action Aid, both of which adopted SHD/PCD to enhance their profiles, must assume much of the responsibility blame for subordinating core SHD/PCD goals to their own organizational interests (i.e., the River Pollution Phenomenon) . The thesis also demonstrates how both agencies undermine their effectiveness by making a series of fallacious assumptions about both poor communities' and their own catalytic potential in an effort to reconcile the gap between their agencies' SHD/PCD aspirations and the real-life constraints facing their goals.