Development Futures: Alternative pathways to end poverty

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Conference 2013 featured image
(L-R) Susan Harris-Rimmer, Uma Kothari, Enrique Mendizbal and Sohail Inayatullah



The Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney hosted the fourth ACFID University Network conference on 21 and 22 November 2013.

This conference set out to bring international debates on the future of foreign aid, development assistance and international cooperation to the context of Australian actors and partners. This is particularly important at a time when global financial constraints impact upon development budgets, increasing the imperative to be creative, innovative and responsive.

Globally, income poverty has decreased when measured by national averages (mostly due to rapid development in India, China and parts of Asia). However some 1.3 billion people still live in extreme poverty earning less than US $1.25 a day, and there are large disparities in access to education, food, health, water and sanitation, particularly in middle-income countries.

With an overwhelming concentration (around three-quarters) of the world’s poorest people in middle-income countries, some of these countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (known as the BRICS) — are now both recipients and donors.

Whilst the chronic poor still live in rural areas, major rural-urban transition is underway with growing numbers of the poor now living in cities. Concurrently, various forms of crises are facing us including rising food prices, excessive use of natural resources and the growing impacts of climate change. And as shifts occur in global powers and donors, a new context for development aid is currently being set.

The post-2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) process and related development of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided a backdrop to the conference, supporting renewed reflection and questioning of the issues at hand and how we should respond, both in terms of the next global framework and also in terms of organisational responses to this wider context.

This conference provided a space for debate and engagement on these matters.

The two main themes of the conference focused on the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of approaches to end poverty:

1. Current and emerging development priorities — reorienting notions of poverty, inequality and development

  • Citizens, rights and accountability
  • Development and resilience within a finite planet
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Ways of measuring poverty, inequality and citizenship

2. Re-configuring actions and approaches: innovating in ‘how’

  • Rethinking roles and contributions
  • New partnerships and cross-sectoral collaboration
  • Business for development
  • Harnessing technology for development
  • Preparing the next generation


View the details of the Conference sessions from Development Futures: Alternative pathways to end poverty.


Find out more about the keynote speakers from the 2013 ACFID University Conference.


Check out the video presentations from our keynotes and blogs written in response to the Conference theme.