This paper circles back to a debate opened in the context of last year’s DSAI conference which explored ethical issues for development, such as securitisation, privatisation or ‘NGOisation’, fragmentation, and declining internationalism, and advocated an explicit turn to development ethics.
This paper further considers ethical justifications for ‘development’, given renewed arguments for dispensing with it altogether (Orbie & Delputte 2019). ‘Postdevelopment’ arguments have become en vogue again in policy and practice, decades after they were advanced in theory. The ethical challenges to development practices now cluster under the ethical demand for ‘decolonization’. Given my advocacy for the human development and capabilities approach (HDCA) as the main, explicitly ethical tradition in development theory, I consider its puzzling lack of penetration in everyday policy and practice, despite high-level adoption by the UNDP as the leading theoretical and evaluative approach. It considers some current initiatives, learning and obstacles around ‘decolonizing’ development research, practice and education – and relates this to the EADI Convivial Thinking collaborative activities and the HDCA Ethics and HDCA Capabilities in Practice thematic groups’ work programmes in the past year and for some years ahead.