Human-centred development may be provisionally defined as the development of communities placing emphasis on the principle value of human-beings as human by nature not to be instrumentalized in economic processes. This is uniquely compatible with human respect the environment and living according to ecological values.

Economic growth can mean dehumanization of civic society and of personal relations and lead to unwelcome effects on our planet. The current movement in the European Community to frame social policies in terms of their impact on human happiness and well-being is a recognition of the need for new ways of thinking in this area. Policy-makers are looking for a new paradigm. At the same time, many people are now questioning the fairness and effectiveness of the global economic system.

Our aim is to find a deeper understanding of human-centred development that is based on human values and which places economic growth within the context of human development as well as ecological values. We propose to answer the question ‘What does ‘development as if people mattered’ mean?’ in a systematic manner. We also aim to look at its implications for governance.

The objective of the Conference on Sustainability, Governance, and Human-Centred Development was to delve fairly deeply into the various factors that have been influencing and shaping development in general, and more specifically in Central Kalimantan, and to determine what can be done to change the prevailing paradigm of economic development to one with more of a human focus.

Collaboration with Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta and other organizations in co-convening this two-day event. The objective of the conference was to explore and imagine ‘development as if humans matter’ and see an alternative development path for the province of Central Kalimantan. We envisage a path to human dignity and livelihood is one that is based on human values rather than one that is focused solely on economic or material values. The event engaged a futures thinking expert, Hardin Tibbs, who has helped take the participants through this process of shared investigation, dialogue and discovery.

Participants of the event included representatives from a cross-section of society – government, civil society, business, academia and the donor community. The conference has been successful in achieving a shared vision for how to move forward on a development path that is largely based on human values, one that truly is sustainable and equitable for the people of Central Kalimantan. This new pathway promises hope for humanity in a world that is about to reach the tipping point in human’s relationship with the planet earth.

Indeed, case studies from Indonesia presented at the conference have demonstrated that real change can be achieved which ultimately enable people to live a more meaningful and productive life.

URL: Conference Summary