This title sets out to clarify the meaning of the "social" dimensions of development, with an emphasis on sustainability. It outlines a conceptual framework to facilitate better communication and understanding as a basis for improved policies, implementation strategies, and learning strategies. It reviews the concepts of social development as currently used in policy documents, operational work, theoretical texts, and monitoring and evaluation. The meaning of social development is related to core concepts of sustainable development, and to other specific concepts such as the economy and the environment as well as more closely related categories such as social sectors, social welfare and social security. It concludes that social development would be more useful as a category of policy and practice if it were relinked with the concept of society and with positive efforts to build or facilitate social progress. The analysis and examples draw on the author's recent research and advisory work on social development policy, poverty reduction strategies, human rights assessment, and evaluation and learning strategies.
In Social Progress and Sustainable Development, Neil Thin provides the international development community with thoughtful conceptual guidance that should have positive practical impacts on our work.
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