Human Development and Global Institutions: Evolution, Impact, Reform, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Human Development and Global Institutions

Evolution, Impact, Reform, 1st Edition

By Richard Ponzio, Arunabha Ghosh


184 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415483605
pub: 2016-02-09
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pub: 2016-02-23
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This book provides a timely and accessible introduction to the foundational ideas associated with the human development school of thought. It examines its conceptual evolution during the post-colonial era, and discusses how various institutions of the UN system have tried to engage with this issue, both in terms of intellectual and technical advance, and operationally. Showing that human development has had a profound impact on shaping the policy agenda and programming priorities of global institutions, it argues that human development has helped to preserve the continued vitality of major multilateral development programs, funds, and agencies.

It also details how human development faces new risks and threats, caused by political, economic, social, and environmental forces which are highlighted in a series of engaging case studies on trade, water, energy, the environment, democracy, human rights, and peacebuilding. The book also makes the case for why human development remains relevant in an increasingly globalized world, while asking whether global institutions will be able to sustain political and moral support from their member states and powerful non-state actors. It argues that fresh new perspectives on human development are now urgently needed to fill critical gaps across borders and entire regions.  A positive, forward-looking agenda for the future of global governance would have to engage with new issues such as the Sustainable Development Goals, energy transitions, resource scarcity, and expansion of democratic governance within and between nations.    

Redefining the overall nature and specific characteristics of what constitutes human progress in an increasingly integrated and interdependent world, this book serves as a primer for scholars and graduate students of international relations and development. It is also relevant to scholars of economics, political science, history, sociology, and women’s studies.


'…this book is a valuable contribution to the human development approach literature: the reader will find it a useful review of the influence of this new paradigm in global governance debates over last 25 years.'

Juan Telleria, HEGOA Institute for International Cooperation and Developement Studies, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU

Journal of Human Development and Capabilities

Table of Contents

1. Human development: An idea whose time has come? 2. The international policy impact of the human development approach in the 1990s … the early years 3. Human development measurement tools: Advantages and shortcomings 4. Human development in international policy-making, Part I: Trade, water, energy, and environment 5. Human development in international policy-making, Part II: Democratic governance, human rights, and peacebuilding 6. Human development in global governance: New frontiers

About the Authors

Richard Ponzio is head of the Global Governance Program at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, where he serves as project director for the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance. He is formerly a senior adviser in the US State Department’s Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Richard has served with the UN in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, New York, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and the Solomon Islands.

Dr Arunabha Ghosh is CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, India. Widely published, with work experience in 35 countries and having previously worked at Princeton, Oxford, the UN Development Programme, and the World Trade Organization, Arunabha advises governments, industry, and civil society around the world on: energy and resources security, renewable energy, water governance, climate governance, energy-trade-climate linkages, and international regimes. He is, most recently, co-author of Climate Change: A Risk Assessment (2015).

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General