Discussion Forum:

Rethinking the nature of development

Think about it!

Take a moment to reflect on how we measure “progress,” as a world, as countries, as cities and as communities. What are the hidden impacts of how we measure progress?

Beyond GDP:

What are the alternatives to using GDP as a measure of growth? What would it take to transition to a measurement of development that includes nature as an integral part of prosperity?

Doughnut economics:

Some places are already aiming to live within planetary boundaries, while ensuring the social and economic wellbeing of all. What would it take to transition to such a model within your city or community?

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Vinamra Mathur

I agree with the discussion so far. I think it is time to consider and develop comprehensive metrics that include environmental indicators like carbon emissions, biodiversity, air and water quality, and ecosystem health/ function, these indicators should be integrated into how we measure development. As concepts such as degrowth theory become more relevant it will be interesting to see how we can actually scale up these models at a national level.

Jeremy Donaire

What a great idea @Vinamra Mathur , I completely agree, it could be a good initiative to make a change in the global consciousness and how development is perceived. Do you know of any studies that promote this kind of change in the concept of development? I also invite other participants to join this discussion !


@Jeremy Donaire you are mentioning global consciousness. I can only think of the multiple angles of such a transition towards living within planetary boundaries: environmental, social, governance related aspects, behavioral economics, environmental economics, wellbeing, health, and many others. Which would be the most critical one in your view?

Diego Nahuel Campos Salazar

Dear @Andrea Pazos Niño de Guzmán , that is a good point you developed. Although it is still challenging to determine when an ecosystem is functioning “how it is supposed to be”, indigenous knowledge can help to establish an idea of how to use the ecosystem services properly, sustaining their livelihoods and maintaining healthy ecosystems.


I believe many examples can be shared from around the world. Although a city or region based perspective would provide some more clarity to exemplifying the model, I believe a “business” perspective can also be very valuable here. I am happy to engage in further discussions about the transition towards a doughnut economy, be it either local, regional or national!

What is your company/city/region doing to contribute to wellbeing beyond classic economic results?

Andrea Pazos

Dear @andreeamm exactly, I think it is a holistic process that needs to be evaluated and of course will depend on the context. For example, at a very local level (let’s say, small fishing communities) there is scientific evidence that it is important for management systems to start giving importance to the cultural, local and spiritual ties that communities have with nature. And this, while respecting and prioritising ancestral activities. For example, by empowering local people and improving their capacity to manage enterprises with agricultural or fishery products that they themselves extract, rather than letting third party companies do so. This would provide a fairer price directly to locals and at the same time, perhaps lower the pressure on ecosystems. If anyone wants to share another idea, I’m always open to new perspectives 🙂 !


Indeed, thank your for sharing your views! Empowering local communities is crucial, I believe, to a sustainable development of nature, ecosystems, supply chains and many others. It is of course one of the steps, yet an important one!