Elaborating on the Instruments of Inclusive Development and How it Can Contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (Working Group “Inclusive Development”)

Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals will increasingly call for a better and deeper understanding of the instruments of inclusive development. While the bulk of the literature on inclusive development focuses primarily on social issues, we argue that in the Anthropocene inclusive development is  not only about social inclusiveness, but also about ecological inclusiveness and relational inclusiveness. Ecological inclusiveness is vital as the poorest are often directly dependent on the ecosystems of nature and are also those who are most vulnerable to the negative impacts of local to global environmental change. Relational inclusiveness calls for not only addressing the direct needs of the most vulnerable but also for examining the fundamental and structural relations between different actors in society that make it difficult to ensure long-term social inclusiveness.

Although this concept is often used, (a) it has thus far been inadequately theorized and compared to other concepts such as inclusive wealth and inclusive growth; (b) the choice of instruments for implementing inclusive development have also been inadequately explored; (c) there has been very little discussion of the limits to ‘inclusiveness’ – when should policies be inclusive, what are the challenges affecting inclusiveness, what is the value and price of inclusiveness, how can inclusiveness be designed and can inclusiveness help to address global change issues; and (d) how is inclusiveness being addressed in practice  – e.g. in the water arena, social protection, or gender equality.  The purpose of this session is to build on this concept and develop it further especially in relation to the instruments of inclusive development.

Instruments of inclusive development can be regulatory, economic, suasive or management related; they can be adopted at local through to global level. They could include ideas like micro-credit, inclusive insurance, addressing tax evasion and avoidance, participatory instruments, inclusive spatial planning, human rights, environment impact assessments, environmental standards, and so on. It is critical to understand how individual instruments need to be designed in order to make them individually more inclusive in terms of social, ecological  and relational aspects, and how a combination of instruments could collectively help to address these three aspects.

Hence, this session calls for papers on the following issues:

  • How can we further elaborate on the critical requirements for a good instrument to implement inclusive development?
  • What does a critical assessment of the instruments of inclusive development tell us about how the Sustainable Development Goals, Targets and Indicators should be interpreted and implemented?


Joyeeta Gupta, Allister McGregor