1st Edition

The Last 10 Per Cent Why the World Needs a Leaner, More Innovative and Pragmatic Development Sector, Today

By Erica Harper Copyright 2023
    208 Pages
    by Routledge India

    208 Pages
    by Routledge India

    Criticism that the development sector has not delivered in terms of eliminating extreme poverty, fast-tracking growth and preventing conflict, is neither new nor surprising. In fact, it may be the one thing that scholars, donors and practitioners agree on. While many of these concerns are valid, this book makes a case that the sector is closer to unlocking the gates to more effective and efficient development outcomes than is popularly believed. Specifically, it argues that by overturning a few myths, making better use of evidence and employing some different rules, practitioners, policy specialists and donors can foster the changes in the development architecture that are needed to reach the 10 percent of the world’s population still living in extreme poverty.

    Engaging, provocative and clear sighted, the book provides insight into interventions around democratic governance, refugee response, counterterrorism, gender mainstreaming, environmental protection and private sector engagement. It is instructive reading for professionals across the development sector, think tanks and NGOs.


    Introduction: is a little bit of sunlight the disinfectant the aid sector needs?

    1 How the West got rich, and other curious questions around human development

    2 Broken, by design

    3 Towards the aid sector we need

    4 The Samaritan dilemma: promoting good governance in fragile and poverty-affected states

    5 Innovating humanitarian response

    6 Exploiting the sweet spots

    7 Playing politics to win

    8 Development beyond the development sector

    9 Charting a pathway towards enhanced aid effectiveness



    Erica Harper is the Head of Research and Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. She also serves as an affiliate researcher at the Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden University, Netherlands.

    "Carefully written and lucidly presented, Harper takes readers on a deep dive into the geopolitics of aid provision, making an irrefutable case for why everyone has a stake in human development outcomes."

    Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (2009–2017)


    "A pathbreaking examination of how political economy in aid provision is obstructing progress towards a safer, more equal and socially-cohesive world. Strongly recommended for practitioners, donors and policy makers alike."

    Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (2012–2017)


    "A major contribution to the scholarship on development effectiveness. Harper takes the frustration held by many and packages it in a solution-oriented account of how development cooperation can be transformed and strengthened in a pragmatic way but always keeping a people centered approach where their rights are respected, protected and promoted."

    Najat Maalla M'jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children


    "In this highly readable exploration of development processes, Harper sets out a constructive argument for how better outcomes can be achieved by understanding the political economy of aid flows, making better use evidence and fostering innovation."

    Gillian Triggs, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection with UNHCR