22 June 2017
Ceres Summer School 2017

Prof. Henning Melber – Keynote speaker Ceres Summer School 2017

We are very pleased to announce that Prof. Henning Melber will be the keynote speaker for the Ceres Summer School on June 22th, 2017. Hereby we share the abstract for his presentation:

Development Studies and the SDGs – Mapping an Agenda

On 25 September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets with its resolution Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Since then, the SDGs or Agenda 2030 have emerged as the ultimate reference point not only for sustainable development, but also often as an a justification for applied development studies.

However, SDGs did not fall from heaven but were the result of a long process of negotiations. They also do not cover all aspects related to development studies and cannot claim ultimate power of definition over development, notwithstanding their strong influence in the debate. While policy makers and the aid industry within international collaboration tend to link almost everything nowadays to the SDGs, development studies should not become hostage of such a limited perspective. Rather, development studies, while engaging with the SDGs and contributing to their implementation, should maintain a certain critical distance to the dominant global norms and paradigms implemented.

This presentation explores the battles over the concept of sustainability and which definition one should embrace. It revisits the notion of development and by implication scrutinizes the meaning of development studies. It revisits earlier efforts towards true development and thereby seeks to look beyond the SDGs. It positions the efforts towards securing sustainable development as a concept in an emancipatory discourse, which should be rooted in global solidarity, justice and human dignity. Thereby an agenda not in full compliance with the SDGs is advocated to maintain ownership over development studies by scholars vis-à-vis the political and aid bureaucracy.