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Human and social development

Once upon a time the well-being of a society was measured by its economic development. However, policy enlightenment has lead us to realise in recent decades that economic wealth and social progress are interdependent and should develop hand in hand to achieve human and social welfare in a globalising world. Also, mobility is an integral part of the modern world. Properly managed, economic migration can be beneficial to people of both Europe and other parts of the world. For these reasons, a whole array of human and social measures has been added to the economic ones.

One crucial factor in this domain is the degree of social inclusion enjoyed by different strata of society. The socio-economic marginalisation of certain groups is particularly acute in many developing countries. EuropeAid supports national and local development strategies and interventions aimed at enabling the most vulnerable population groups to emerge from poverty, deprivation and insecurity while attempting to reduce inequalities within population.

There are many factors that affect social inclusion. One of the most significant is employment. Employment is an important aspect of sustainable and equitable growth because labour is the main asset of the poor. EuropeAid promotes ‘decent work’ with all its aspects.

But focusing on employment alone as an objective is not enough, since there will always be some vulnerable groups who will suffer from unemployment or underemployment. The European model is based on economic competitiveness mixed with social solidarity for vulnerable groups. Such welfare protection is also a tenet of the EU’s development policy.

Migration has become a key political issue in Europe. Fears about unregulated and illegal immigration are issues that have featured highly in public debate, but there is plenty of evidence to show that carefully managed migration can be a positive socio-economic factor. Find out how the EU, through its external aid programmes, is cooperating with partner countries towards a comprehensive approach to migration and is supporting them in their efforts to properly manage migration flows.

But the development and evolution of society are not mechanical processes. Pushing certain buttons in a particular order is not enough. One important aspect that needs to be taken into account is culture in its broader sense. For the EU, the efficiency and impact of development aid depends on ownership and endogenous capacities of the people themselves, individually or collectively. One of the major challenges is the consideration of the diversity of cultural contexts and values of the recipient country and its people when drafting and implementing development activities

The traditional social areas such as Health and Education are addressed under chapter "Tackling universal isses".

Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top