Transforming Development for Sustainability

Modular value: 20 credits

Lecturer: Fiona Nunan

Sustainable development is increasingly recognised as the paradigm for development in the 21st century in light of the need to transform economic growth and radically shift towards a more carbon neutral future and adaptation to climate change. The concept of sustainable development challenges mainstream approaches to development by questioning assumptions about the exploitation of natural resources, the traditional measures of welfare and the prioritisation of economic growth at any cost.

The module encourages students to ask whether and how development can be made more environmentally and socially sustainable, recognising that the concept has been in wide usage for at least the last twenty years and a critical appraisal of what has been achieved in the name of sustainable development is essential. Students will explore how the concept evolved and how it is interpreted in practice, and will analyse tools for putting sustainable development into practice, and its relationship with approaches to poverty reduction.

The module will be delivered using a range of teaching and learning methods in a highly participatory environment, including interactive lectures, group discussions, student presentations, case studies, videos and invited speakers.

By the end of the module you will:

  • Be able to critically engage with and understand the complexity of sustainable development issues.
  • Be familiar with the key concepts and terminology commonly used in sustainable development.
  • Understand and be able to critically compare and contrast the main principles and values of the three main ‘pillars’ of sustainable development:  economy, ecology and society.
  • Understand the philosophical and political history of the emergence of sustainable development and the purposes and negotiations involved in the creation and processes of key international conventions and events guiding approaches to addressing sustainable development issues.
  • Be familiar with the varied roles and responsibilities of the main international actors and their competing and complementary interests. • Be able to engage with and understand sustainable development issues.
  • Be familiar with the key concepts and terminology commonly used in sustainable development.
  • Understand the main principles and values of the three main ‘pillars’ of sustainable development:  economy, ecology and society.
  • Understand the history of the emergence of sustainable development and the purposes of key international conventions and events guiding approaches to addressing sustainable development issues.
  • Be familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the main international actors.

Teaching and learning approach

The module will be delivered using a range of teaching and learning methods in a highly participatory environment, including interactive lectures, group discussions, student presentations, case studies, videos and invited speakers.

Assessment

  • Presentation worth 10% of the marks
  • 4-page policy briefing worth 40% of marks
  • 3,000 word essay, worth 50% of the marks

The presentation topics will be drawn from the session plan and will enable students to actively engage with material, theory and ideas.

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