Community development - the 'missing ingredient' in striving for sustainability


This paper will commence with a global view of the content and requirements of the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The need for unprecedented approaches worldwide to stimulate social, environmental and economic change is covered, based on the areas including the exceptional number of people living in extreme poverty and those living without electricity and with water scarcity, plus the unparalleled damage to our ecosystem. It will then proceed with a short examination of differing views on the SDGs and move on to examine where non-government organisations (NGOs) could be involved, through education and practice, using ‘bottom-up’ community development approaches. This is advocated for, given many United Nations (UN) processes target national governments and businesses, using ‘top-down’ methodologies. The importance of education to the UN is addressed and then the paper will move on the involvement with the UN, in particular in relation to the SDGs, by the International Association for Community Development (IACD). It will culminate by supporting the IACD’s submission to the UN, which pointed out that “without community development there is no sustainable development”. Finally, the need for professional development for community development practitioners in many areas, including SDGs, is covered and seen as one way forward for community workers, both paid and unpaid, across the globe.


community development, sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), social change, non-government organisations (NGOs)

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