DEVELOP 713 : Ethics and Governance in International Development


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Addresses challenges to ethics and governance that arise in international development processes. Examines the competing demands of various stakeholders in the development of appropriate governance mechanisms and the values and judgements that inform societal choices and political decision-making. Students shall be familiarised with ethical debates in international development and engaged in ethically informed conversations on contemporary development challenges.

Course Overview

This course addresses the ethical dilemmas and governance challenges arising from conflicting goals and interests in international development. Balancing competing demands of various stakeholders through appropriate governance mechanisms requires an in-depth understanding of the values and judgements that inform societal choices and political decision-making. Students shall be familiarised with ethical debates in international development and enabled to engage in ethically informed conversations on contemporary development challenges.

In 2020, the major emphasis of the course will be on the so-called “Food, Water and Energy Nexus”. The principal aim of this course is to provide students with a clear understanding of the trade-offs and conflicts emerging from the increasing interconnectedness of global and local food, water and energy supplies and discuss their ethical implications and governance challenges in the field of international development. Given the myriad of interactions and possible trade-offs, it is pivotal to successfully address the triple challenge of securing food, water and energy supplies for present and future generations. This requires taking a holistic view and balancing the many competing demands through appropriate governance mechanisms, while understanding the different values and judgements that may inform societal choices, political decision-making and local priority setting. Classes will draw on a variety of case studies, predominantly in developing country contexts.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand the interconnections between food, water and energy security (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1 and 3.1)
  2. Evaluate major ethical debates surrounding the food, water and energy nexus and approaches to governing the nexus (Capability 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 5.2 and 6.3)
  3. Identify the societal, political and economic transformations that are essential to support the transition to integrated and ethically sound food, water and energy systems (Capability 1.1, 1.3, 2.2, 2.3, 3.2, 4.2, 5.2 and 6.3)
  4. Communicate ethical arguments in a reflective, coherent, informed and unbiased manner in both written and verbal form (Capability 1.1, 2.3, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.2 and 6.3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Group Presentation with Individual Notes 30% Group & Individual Coursework
Blog-Style Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Stakeholder Roleplay 30% Individual Coursework

Next offered

Semester 2 / 2020

Learning Resources

There is no particular course book or text book required for this course. Readings will be provided through the Reading List and Files on Canvas.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 5 hours of work on assignments.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Well-being always comes first
We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page (, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.