Practice makes improvement: A contribution of the Normative Practice Approach to an ethics of international development cooperation in the agro-food domain
The WRR-report Less pretention, more ambition stated in 2010 that ethical reflection lacks in development cooperation. At the request of and in collaboration with a development NGO, this thesis proposes an encompassing ‘ethics of development cooperation’. The focus is on international agricultural development. A central question is: What norms and values should be observed for development cooperation to be fruitful? With the help of the Normative Practice Approach it is shown that development cooperation is not a neutral, technical set of activities, but rather a practice for which a more or less explicit framework of norms and values holds. Agricultural development cooperation ‘asks’ from development professionals, as it were, to facilitate the capabilities of actors to produce and trade on fair terms. Finally, for a fruitful performance of the development cooperation practice, norms and values will need to be part of the moral attitude of development professionals, and be enacted in virtues like courage and integrity.