The ICDD is an interdisciplinary and international scientific network of excellence with its head office at the University of Kassel (Germany) and partner universities in Latin America, Africa and Asia. It collaborates closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and various NGOs.
Against the background of widespread unemployment, underemployment and unfair working conditions, the ICDD is making a committed contribution to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal 8 of the United Nations (UN), which aims to "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” .
ICDD’s central focus, the decent work agenda, received a strong boost in 2005 when the UN World Summit proclaimed decent work for all to be part of the Millenium Development Goals (MDG) and again in 2015, when decent work was included in the Sustainable Development Goals following the MDGs. In line with the joint FAO / ILO initiative, a special thematic focus of the ICDD lies on the over 800 million people facing grave food insecurity, especially in rural areas.
In particular, the ICDD is engaged in research, teaching, knowledge transfer and cooperation with the emphasis on improving work and income opportunities in rural and urban regions in developing countries. This mission is of the utmost importance against the background of globalisation, climate change and urbanisation.
In the period 2009-19, the ICDD was one of the five Centers of Excellence for Exchange and Development funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the exceed program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Since 2020, the ICDD is an exceed transfer center and thereby seeks to support new exceed centers by sharing expertise and organizational know-how. In this capacity, it closely collaborates with the Global Partnership Network (GPN) at Kassel University.