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Over the past 20 years, the normative process of human development has undergone a significant transformation, evolving beyond aggregate improvements in economic growth to include a more focused concern for the well-being of individuals. The international development community has begun to embrace the idea that enhancing the freedom of individuals and groups should be the fundamental aim of the development process.Transforming a simple, low-income economy into a modern, high-income economy is no longer seen as meeting the needs of an under-developed society. Instead, development is now widely regarded as a “multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral process, involving social, economic and political change aimed at improving people's lives.”
Emphasis is also being placed on the need for sustainable development, especially in the era following the release of the Brundtland Report, as interventions increasingly seek to harmonise a variety of changes that enhance current and future human needs and aspirations.The concept of sustainable development has become an effective way of acknowledging the common ground between economic, social and environmental concerns, and the need for a coherent approach to their resolution. Maintaining policy coherence between different aspects of development helps to avoid contradictions or limitations, and may increase the effectiveness of an already stretched pool of resources.