This special section on Global Development has been developed from a conference roundtable event run by the Development Geographies Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society. In this special section, we (some of the committee) introduce the four papers and their critical contributions to emerging debates. These extend early work on how the ‘global’ is being made, focusing on the projects of multilateral development agencies and state institutions to examine how (and whether) the rebranding of ‘International Development’ as ‘Global Development’ constitutes a shift in thinking and practice . Together, the papers draw our attention to the considerable opportunities and implications that this reframing offers, whilst highlighting that critical attention is required as to how that framing is deployed and by whom. They reveal disparity between Global Development as a much-needed reframing of power, agency and progress and Global Development as produced by mainstream development actors and interventions, necessitating more critical research into how this normative agenda is adopted and enacted in dominant policy and practice.