Rethinking the nature of development

The model of human development, as measured by gross domestic product and other economic metrics, is no longer sufficient to guarantee a livable planet or a just society. We need to rethink the very nature of development, building models that go beyond GDP, that value nature, that respect planetary boundaries, and that incorporate the wellbeing for all of society.







Act now!


vertical-align: middle;
#ValueNature is a hashtag that recognizes that nature is systematically undervalued in our current market system. It calls for society to recognize and account for the value of nature for the immense array of benefits, beyond just the financial benefits of consumption. It also calls for society to recognize the intrinsic value of nature.
vertical-align: middle;
Many organizations promote the economic valuation of nature. Some leading ones include the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which prepared a recent report on The Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature, the United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting, which enables governments to systematically account for the value of ecosystems, and the World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services Partnership, which brings together a broad coalition of partners to develop approaches for ecosystem services accounting, and the Natural Capital Project, which provides tools and resources for valuing nature. 
vertical-align: middle;
Ways you can join the conversation on valuing nature include:
  • Ask your local government representatives how they #ValueNature in their national budgets.
  • Make your voice heard by sharing your thoughts on social media about the need to #ValueNature for all of its benefits.
  • Join the "We Value Nature" campaign to encourage businesses to value the many benefits of nature. 

vertical-align: middle;
#BeyondGDP is a hashtag that recognizes that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the total monetary value of goods and services produced in a country within a given time period - is an inadequate metric for measuring true progress. It misses important metrics of human wellbeing like happiness and equality, and it misses the environmental impacts of production and consumption.
vertical-align: middle;
Many organizations promote an approach to measuring wealth that looks beyond GDP. For example, the Club of Rome is advocating for an approach to reframe economics to recognize a better balance between people, prosperity and planetary boundaries. The European Commission has developed a “Beyond GDP” initiative that explores alternative, inclusive indicators for measuring environmental and social progress. The World Economic Forum produced a thought-provoking series on Beyond GDP. There is a comprehensive and accessible article analyzing the history of thinking beyond GDP. Searching #BeyondGDP on social media will reveal many other efforts to help society think about how to measure human and planetary progress in new ways.
vertical-align: middle;
Ways you can join the conversation on looking beyond GDP include:
  • Join the World Wide Fund for Nature’s campaign to go beyond GDP.
  • Ask your politicians what they are doing to look beyond GDP to measure progress.
  • Make your voice heard by sharing your thoughts on social media on the need to go #BeyondGDP.



vertical-align: middle;
#PlanetaryBoundaries is a hashtag that highlights the importance of staying within the nine planetary boundaries – the biophysical elements that create a safe operating space for humanity.
vertical-align: middle;
The Stockholm Resilience Centre describes nine planetary boundaries – a framework that has been widely discussed and adopted. The world recently crossed the 6th planetary boundary. The Potsdam Institute has published numerous articles on the importance of living within planetary boundaries, and numerous organizations have explored what it means to produce enough food for a growing human population, while avoiding crossing further planetary boundaries and tipping points, including World Resources Institute’s work on advancing global food systems while reducing emissions, curbing deforestation and alleviating poverty. for valuing nature. 
vertical-align: middle;
Ways you can join the conservation on staying within planetary boundaries include:
  • Adopt one of the planetary boundaries as a cause to champion, and find ways to take local action.
  • Ask your local politicians what they are doing to live within planetary boundaries.
  • Make your voice heard by sharing what you are doing to live within #PlanetaryBoundaries

vertical-align: middle;
#MapsOfHope is an approach that promotes the use of integrated spatial as an effective planning tool to balance the multiple societal goals that communities and governments are trying to achieve. From food production to water security and sustainable jobs, Maps of Hope can identify areas where protecting, restoring, and sustainably managing nature can provide multiple benefits at once.
vertical-align: middle;
Integrated land and sea-use planning is the first target of the draft Global Biodiversity Framework, and is the premise for other area-based targets, such as land protection and restoration. The United Nations Development Program, together with many partners, has developed a methodology for integrated spatial planning that provides decision makers with the tools and approaches they need to develop a “Map of Hope” that integrates biodiversity, climate and sustainable development goals, and puts nature at the heart of sustainable development planning. You can learn how spatial planning could positively impact your community by taking a self-paced tutorial on Integrated Spatial Planning, at Other examples of organizations working on integrated spatial planning include The Nature Conservancy’s work on marine spatial planning, IUCN’s work on ecosystem resilience and spatial planning, and the World Wide Fund’s work on promoting green infrastructure.  
vertical-align: middle;
Ways you can join the conversation on supporting and creating Maps of Hope include:
  • Make your voice heard by supporting the need for governments at all levels to develop #MapsOfHope.
  • Encourage your government to utilize Maps of Hope in their development plans.
  • Explore the resources of the SPACES Coalition.



vertical-align: middle;
#DoughnutEconomics is a hashtag that recognizes that even as we must avoid crossing planetary boundaries, we must also provide for the needs of nearly half of humanity who live on less than $5.50 a day, and the 860 million people who live in extreme poverty – on less than $1.90 a day. This means finding a narrow window of economic development for all, while not depleting our planet.
vertical-align: middle;
 The Doughnut Economics Action Lab provides a one-stop center to learn about doughnut economics in theory and practice, including a set of seven core principles, and a summary of how doughnut economics can apply to businesses. The SmartCityHub provides a series of thought-provoking essays on how cities can embrace doughnut economics, and Oxfam provides an essay on what it will take to create a safe and just space for humanity. Some cities, such as Sydney, Berlin, Melbourne, Brussels and Amsterdam, are already applying the principles of doughnut economics.
vertical-align: middle;
 Ways you can join the conversation on the value of doughnut economics include:
  • Help your town or city officials understand the principles of doughnut economics, and encourage them to take action.
  • Join the conversation on social media by encouraging more cities to apply principles of #DoughnutEconomics.

vertical-align: middle;
#StopTheSame is a hashtag that recognizes that the pace of change is too slow to achieve our goals on nature and climate, and that decision makers must stop the same policies that drive biodiversity loss.
vertical-align: middle;
The Global Biodiversity Youth Network represents the voice of global youth in the negotiations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), raises awareness among young people of the values of biodiversity, and connects individuals and youth organizations in order to build a global coalition to halt the loss of biodiversity.
vertical-align: middle;
Ways you can join the conversation on the importance of stopping the same policies that are driving extinction and planetary collapse include:
  • Join the ‘Stop the Same Campaign,’ and make your voice heard.
  • Speak up when you see politicians promoting the same old policies that lead to biodiversity loss.
  • Join the conversation on social media by celebrating decisions that #StopTheSame, and calling out those decisions that do not #StopTheSame policies and practices.




Nature for Climate and Development



Aligning finance with nature



Nature-positive economy



Catalyzing local action



Creating a planetary safety net


The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in the materials on this site are those of the various Nature for Life partners, and do not necessarily represent the views of UNDP.