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By the 1990s, innovative ideas such as Sustainable Human Development (SHD) and People-Centred Development (PCD) had begun to shift the development discourse beyond economist perspectives and the ideological (market versus state) debates of earlier days. This article describes how, despite their promise and the genuine efforts of international development agencies such as UNDP and ActionAid to put SHD/PCD ideas into practice, the conceptual deficiencies of the SHD/PCD paradigm, and internal organisational interests within the two agencies, have gradually displaced the agenda’s core components.

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