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. 


avatar for SARA SECK


Sara L Seck is an Associate professor at the Faculty of Law, Western University, in London, Ontario, and a Senior Fellow with the International Law Research Program of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ontario. Together with Neil Craik, she co-directs the BSIA/CIGI International Law Summer Institute. In 2015, Sara received the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Academy of Environmental Law’s Emerging Scholarship Award for her extensive research contributions on transnational corporate accountability, colonialism, and resource extraction in international environmental law. She has published numerous book chapters and journal articles, including in the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, the McGill Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, and the Canadian YearBook of International Law. Her current research interests include business responsibilities for human rights and climate change, international legal theory, and sustainable development. She is a member of the editorial board of the Business and Human Rights Journal (Cambridge University Press), a member of the board of the Canadian Council of International Law and the Canadian branch of the International Law Association. Originally from St John’s Newfoundland, Sara holds an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and a PhD from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in Toronto, where she was the recipient of a SSHRC doctoral fellowship.