This year, the International Development Conference will highlight the theoretical development studies and policy research that play a predominant role in shaping development projects. When concrete, tangible policies and projects are implemented, theory and practice often fail to coincide. Development solutions and initiatives, as well as daily livelihood decisions, executed by an array of actors - from large development players to individual households - affect the lives of citizens and underdeveloped areas throughout the world. As such, critical reflections on ongoing development efforts, common consumption decisions and ingrained aspects of the world economy highlight that, while considerable victories have been attained to achieve a more just, prosperous and equitable world, attempts at reforms and aids are not without their drawbacks. 

The controversy surrounding the involvement of religious aid organizations may politicize and undermine efforts to eliminate poverty and obtain relief. Attempts to regulate small scale gold mining, while environmentally necessary, may fail to address the dilemma of gold demand in shaping the persistence of artisans gold mining. Efforts to democratize and increase the transparency of the international trade regime may succeed in incorporating sustainability as a core principal of global commerce, but tedious institutional reform may not reflect the urgency of climate change. Alongside the IDC 2017’s thematic discussions, which will explore these and more concrete development efforts through a critical lens, the conference will also host a selection of Canadian NGOs, businesses, and student researchers to showcase the diversity and innovation of new ideas and efforts shaping the development sectors today. 




For the past fifteen years, Jim has focused his attention on the identification and facilitation of sustainable human and environmental future. He has a broad background in ecology, sociology and economics, as well as a proficiency in computational procedures relating to, optimization, simulation, data management, and decision analysis. Jim employs these tools and techniques, including ecosystem modeling, decision analysis and consultative methods to support his research into environmental decision-making over appropriate social and economic scales. Jim has also taught, lectured and guest lectured internationally and throughout Canada, focusing on the pragmatic application of knowledge and techniques. Jim is currently co-developing the Rapid Adaptation Assessment for Climate Change (RAACC) which identifies climate change impacts, and structures the consideration of adaptation/mitigation options. RAACC represents a quick review of adaptation options for a specific region or sector. The approach seeks to develop a balance between stakeholder participation and quantitative analysis.