Global Development Institute Blog

With so much news of political, social and environmental doom it’s easy to forget that good things have also been happening in the world. We asked our researchers to tell us some nuggets of good that took place in 2018:

Dani Malerba, Honorary Research Fellow GDI.

Despite a general gloomy picture, some signs of hope are coming out from 2018. This year, in fact, European Parliament members from different political groups have organized a post-growth conference in September to start discussing policy alternatives to economic growth. This conference arises from an increasing number of researchers, politicians and citizens that advocate for de-growth. This means decreasing global production and consumption. But doing so in an equitable way to make sure that human well-being still increases. De-growth addresses the issue that technological improvements are not enough to avoid climate change and an alternative to capitalism is urgently needed. The recent protests in France show that environmental and social issues need to go hand in hand. And this is critical in a situation when populistic movements are spreading. De-growth is the solution. As Ghandi once said, we have enough for everybody’s needs, but not everybody’s greed.


Johan Oldekop, Senior Lecturer in Environment & Development, GDI

A tiny pocket of the Great Barrier Reef is showing resilience – about three percent of Great Barrier Reef is still unscathed from a host of threats, such as warming waters, pollution, bleaching and disease. According to a report in PLoS Biology, if properly protected, these cool-water reefs could supply larvae to nearly 45 per cent of the entire ecosystem in a single year.


Whitney Banyai-Becker, Research Assistant, Effective States and Inclusive Development

US Congress is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House in 200 years. 2018 saw the first Native American congresswomen, the first Muslim Congresswomen elected, as well as a further 42 women and 23 people of colour. This takes the total number of women in Congress up to 131 and means 23% of the seats are now held by people of colour.


Ambarish Karamchedu, PhD researcher

In September in India the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality, ruling that section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was unconstitutional. It was introduced in 1830 by Thomas Macaulay as part of the British Empire colonial law and continued to be upheld after Indian independence but finally some good news in 2018 came ending it!


M Niaz Asadullah, Honorary Research Fellow and Antonio Savoia, Effective States and Inclusive Development

According to the United Nations, Bangladesh has fulfilled the criteria to graduate from a “least developed country” to a “developing country”.  Such graduation follows a period of recent high rate of economic growth, which popular discussions attribute also to the incumbent government presiding over 2009-2018.


Note:  This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of the Global Development Institute as a whole