Post-Pandemic transformations and the re-casting of development

Date: November 17, 2023
Date: November 17, 2023
Time: 13:00 - 14:15
Start date: November 17, 2023
Event summary: SEI’s Development Policy and Finance Team and the SweDev are happy to present Melissa Leach as the keynote speaker on 17 November.

SEI’s Development Policy and Finance Team and the Swedish Development Research Network are happy to present Melissa Leach as the keynote speaker for the SEI and SweDev dialogue on development research on 17 November, 13:00-14:15 CET.


Join Melissa Leach as she discusses the need for a re-casting of longstanding assumptions and approaches to mainstream development, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Melissa will present how the pandemic’s impacts have intersected with climate, economic, social and political challenges in an era that some now characterise and debate as a ‘polycrisis’. Building on evidence from the unfolding  and intersecting impacts of Covid-19 and earlier epidemics, Melissa will outline four central elements to this re-casting: a turn to universality that moves beyond outdated distinctions between the so-called Global North and South; a central focus on inequalities, their structural underpinnings and diverse manifestations; a rethinking of how economies function, highlighting the limits of conventional models of economic growth, and a re-orientation around resilience in the face of major shocks and uncertainties. Where mainstream approaches to development have often been top down, rigid and orientated towards narrowly-defined goals, development, re-cast, must have a radically transformative, egalitarian, care-focused and inclusive politics, and politics of knowledge, at its core.

About the speaker

Melissa Leach is the Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, with a background as a social anthropologist and geographer. She has led numerous interdisciplinary, collaborative policy-engaged research programmes in African settings and beyond, bringing local knowledge and perspectives into critical engagement with scientific, policy and public debates around global health, environment, sustainability and development – including issues of food, forests, soils, and epidemics. Amongst her external roles, she was vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth 2012 – 2017, lead author of the 2016 World Social Science Report 2016 on Challenging Inequalities, and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food). She also greatly values being a member of SEI’s Science Council.  


The discussant for this dialogue will be Dr Arunabha Ghosh, Chief Executive Officer at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water.

Welcoming remarks

Fredrik Söderbaum, SweDev


13:00 Welcome remarks

13:10 Keynote presentation

13:40 Discussion

14:55 Q&A

14:10 Concluding remarks