Global Learning Programme Wales

Development and the Sustainable Development Goals

The terms used when discussing development can alter the way we think about and approach the topic, they
Satellite dish in a village in Peru, provided by Practical Actioninclude: 

These varied understandings of development start from different assumptions, use different measures and result in different outcomes. Two of the most important approaches are

Among the most significant international efforts to reduce global inequalities has been the pursuit of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (to 2015) and the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), commonly known as the Global Goals (for Sustainable Development). These 17 goals have an increased focus on protecting the natural environment and reducing inequality. They establish ambitious targets applicable to every country in the world, which are to be achieved by 2030.. These eight goals (see links below for details) established ambitious targets to be achieved by 2015. Progress toward the MDGs has been mixed. 

Teaching and learning about development touches on a wide range of topics including aid, conflict, debt, education, environment, gender, globalisation, governance, health, human rights, international monetary systems, trade and many more.

All of these are involved in helping to improve people’s lives and explaining why some people are better off than others. You could approach teaching about development through any of these topics and through pupils’ own experience of these. 


Teaching resources


Useful teaching resources about development and the SDGs: 

GLP-W Sustainable Development Goals: resources and activities to introduce the SDGs

Geographical Association Global Learning site: resources and activities for all key stages

RGS: Africa – a continent of contrasts Key Stage 3 module with contrasting case studies of Sudan and Ghana 

RGS: China Today Key Stage 3 module on China as an emerging global power 

RGS: New India Key Stage 3 module exploring India’s changing status on the global stage 

RGS: Who wants to be a billionaire? Key Stage 3 module exploring inequalities in the global distribution of wealth 


Tide~ Global Learning: Development Compass Rose A framework within which participants can raise questions on development issues 

For further teaching resources, browse through the Global Dimension resources database 


Recommended reading

The following links and articles provide useful background information to help you teach about development: 

Oxfam: ‘Experts Inspire’ film clips Eight development ‘experts’ say what they think the world should focus on for the post-2015 development goals 

80:20 Development in an Unequal World Publication exploring human development and human rights – website includes free extracts 

Guardian: The future of development Collections of news and comment articles 

We welcome your suggestions for useful articles and teaching resources on the topic of Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Please email them to