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close this bookEssays on Food, Hunger, Nutrition, Primary Health Care and Development (AVIVA, 480 p.)
close this folder37. B. Sustainable Development beyond Ethical Pronouncements: the Role of Civil Society and Networking
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View the documentThe context:
View the documentThe background:
View the documentWhat commitments are needed beyond ethics?: From the normative to the operational in sustainable development
View the documentThe primarily ethics-led process to sustainable development
View the documentThe primarily politically-led process to sustainable development
View the documentNetworking
View the documentLeadership
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The primarily ethics-led process to sustainable development

As is true for slavery, there are ethical limits to tolerating extreme poverty.

The growing new development ethics that calls for working with the poor as protagonists and not merely as recipients has, so far, itself unfortunately remained mostly a top-down approach (See Carmen, 1994). It represents mostly the view of academicians, of intellectuals, of church leaders, of international bureaucrats and of only very few politicians (mostly in the opposition). Beneficiaries have remained mostly passive in this approach, being counted rather as the 'object' of the process. This ethics-led process is mostly ethically motivated and assigns a key role to 'moral advocates' who are to advance the following cascading Assessment/Analysis/Action (AAA) process:



(Entails assessing needs requiring fulfilment using "objective"(?) field research techniques)




(Entails granting selected identified needs the status of entitlements to be honored by society)



(Entails translating accepted entitlements into actual rights)*




(Entails delegating to members of Parliament the legitimization of selected rights by promulgating them into laws)



(Entails assuring/securing that the laws get enforced by government institutions)**

* : Promoting these rights is not, by itself, a progressive political act.
**: Often very weak or non-existent and without people getting involved directly.

(Adapted from Urban Jonsson, UNICEF).

The inherent weakness of this process is that to have rights ultimately respected, someone other than the poor takes the responsibility at each step to steer the process from entitlement to enforcement.