A Time of Transitions and Opportunities; Call for Expressions of Interest: New Directions in Social Policy; New Publications: Issue 20 September 2014
UNRISD is an autonomous institution within the UN system that carries out multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.


Welcome to the 20th edition of the UNRISD eBulletin. Here in Geneva, we are enjoying some late summer sunshine and preparing for an exciting period of change and new possibilities for UNRISD.

Globally, we are entering the final phase of the post-2015/SDG negotiation process: the emphasis on the need for a transformative agenda that integrates social with economic and environmental dimensions of development reflects the focus of UNRISD’s work over five decades. This provides new opportunities for engaging around the policies and institutional arrangements necessary for implementing the new agenda. In this context UNRISD is shaping its new research strategy, and we will be consulting with our partners and stakeholders on this over the coming months.

The initial step was a Stakeholder Meeting held in Geneva on 1 September. Participants included our key donors, representatives of Permanent Missions, UN agencies and other research and civil society partners. The main conclusions will be shared in coming weeks, but we were encouraged by the strong support for UNRISD and our work, and will continue working to translate this into longer term, stable funding for the implementation of our research and influencing agenda.

At the end of August we said farewell to Peter Utting after 23 years at the Institute. As a researcher, Peter has led important programmes of work on areas of critical concern to the UN system—from the early sustainability debates on agriculture, community resource management and participation, to work on corporate social responsibility and the green economy. His most recent initiative, on the social and solidarity economy (SSE), leaves a legacy to the UN in the newly established Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE. As Deputy Director since 2002, Peter has played a key role in keeping the Institute stable during challenging times, while ensuring we hold firm to our core values of social justice and equity, and a commitment to progressive change, while undertaking cutting edge scholarly research. He has also shaped the Institute as a welcoming and nurturing environment particularly for young researchers. We are pleased that he will remain affiliated with UNRISD as the first of a newly created group of Senior Research Associates. We wish him all the best as he continues to pursue his passions for research and social change in other ways.

This moment of transition is marked by a several new appointments. We are delighted to welcome Valeria Esquivel and Pascal van Griethuysen as Research Coordinators. Valeria joined the Institute in August from the Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento and the Argentine National Research Council in Buenos Aires to run the Gender Programme at UNRISD. A feminist economist and time-use expert, she has previously collaborated with UNRISD most notably on the landmark inquiry on the social and political economy of care. Pascal, an ecological economist, moved from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, on 1 September. He has collaborated with UNRISD in our activities for Rio+20 and our work on social and solidarity economy, and in his new position, he will coordinate the programme on Socially Sustainable Development. Both join the institute with strong scholarly credentials, and with commitment and enthusiasm to use this expertise to shape policy agendas that can inform the work of the UN system.

In addition UNRISD is fortunate to have received support from Switzerland for an Expert position in gender (Andrea Kaufmann) and from Germany for a JPO (Dunja Krause) to work on the social dimensions of climate change. With these substantially strengthened research teams adding to our existing capacity in social policy, we look forward to expanding opportunities for engaging with our research partners around the world, and supporting the UN system and Member States in delivering on the promise of social justice within a new global development agenda.



Reforming Pensions in Developing and Transition Countries
Katja Hujo (ed.) This book moves beyond technical studies of pension systems to firmly ground the analysis of recent pension reforms in developing and transition countries in their socioeconomic and political contexts. It addresses the political economy of pension reform, the relative benefits in terms of social and economic development of various pension models (for example, pay-as-you-go versus funded schemes; contributory versus non-contributory programmes) as well as challenges to managing and reforming pension systems in development and transition contexts.

Occasional Papers: Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy

Social and Solidarity Economy: Is There a New Economy in the Making?
Peter Utting, Nadine van Dijk and Marie-Adélaïde Matheï This paper is the capstone of our international conference Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy, held in May 2013. Synthesizing the analysis provided in over 70 submitted papers, it highlights the crucial role that SSE, seen as an integrative development approach, could play in successfully implementing the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Interaction between Popular Economy, Social Movements and Public Policies: A Case Study of the Waste Pickers’ Movement
Angelique van Zeeland This paper examines the challenges of expansion and sustainability of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). It focuses on the interaction between popular economy and SSE, and stresses the importance of collective action and public policies to enable the transition from the informal economy toward SSE. The main focus of the paper is on the waste pickers’ movement. Experiences from Latin America, Asia and Africa demonstrate the possibilities of incorporating a significant contingent of informal waste pickers in solidarity economy organizations, and demonstrate the potential of expanding SSE through collective action and effective public policies that support a process of social transformation. However, they also show the need for political conditions to ensure an enabling environment for SSE as well as the need to strengthen SSE through effective capacity building to meet the demands that arise as a result of the newly shaped public policies.

The Hidden Side of Social and Solidarity Economy: Social Movements and the “Translation” of SSE into Policy (Latin America)
Ana Cecilia Dinerstein International organizations and governmental institutions are increasingly interested in obtaining support from social movements and SSE organizations for new public policies and laws that encourage their engagement and participation from below, and facilitate their access to the new policy schemes. This underscores the growing importance of civil society actors in rethinking "development" and in devising and effecting development policy, particularly in the current period of global crisis. This paper addresses a concern resulting from this—namely, the process of translation of SSE practices into state policy. The paper uses the examples of the Zapatista Movement in Mexico, the Unemployed Workers Movement in Argentina, and Brazil’s Rural Landless Workers Movement to explore how civil society practices are translated into policy.

La consolidación de las iniciativas de economía social y solidaria: Alcances y desafíos—Aproximación a partir del análisis de procesos de recuperación de empresas de Argentina
María Victoria Deux Marzi Este trabajo describe y analiza procesos de recuperación de empresas desarrollados en Argentina durante el período 2000-2010. El mismo se centra en el análisis de los procesos que han logrado sostenerse con relativa estabilidad, superando la etapa fundacional e incipiente recuperación. Un punto de especial atención es la posibilidad de regularización e institucionalización de las modalidades de trabajo construidas, así como los dispositivos organizacionales tendientes a ampliar los ámbitos y espacios de participación y a reducir las desigualdades, las jerarquías y las asimetrías entre los que deciden y los que acatan.

Working Papers: Migration and Health in China

Policy Actors and Policy Making for Better Migrant Health in China: From a Policy Network Perspective
Yapeng Zhu, Kinglun Ngok and Wenmin Li Given the phenomenal scale of internal migration in China, migrant health has become a prominent policy issue. Various policy actors are now involved in the development of migrant health policy. However, little is known about who the main policy actors are, what roles they play, how they interact with each other, and how they might improve their collaboration for better migrant health. This paper aims to identify the main policy actors and explore their roles in migrant health policy making.

Burden of Disease in China: Contrasting Disease Burden Patterns of the General and the Migrant Workers Populations
Alexander Kraemer, Florian Fischer, Dietrich Plass, Paulo Pinheiro, Li Ling, Yuanyuan Sang, Jianli Kan and Heiko J. Jahn This paper aims at describing the disease burdens of migrants and their specific health needs in contrast to the general population. Assuming that several diseases are more frequent in the migrant population, the literature review illustrates the relevance and challenges of selected diseases for this subpopulation. It further discusses the potential influence of this large subpopulation on the health status of the general Chinese population.

Working Paper: Towards Universal Social Security in Emerging Economies

Welfare: Theoretical and Analytical Paradigms
Susanne MacGregor This paper aims to set out a framework for the debate on how best to develop health and social security systems in the future, looking at concepts of universalism and targeting, and reviewing the main paradigms of welfare states. It discusses the assumptions, arguments and policy implications related to universalism and/or targeting.

Position Paper by the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on SSE

Social and Solidarity Economy and the Challenge of Sustainable Development
This position paper has been prepared by members and observers of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy. It responds to the concern that the process of crafting a post-2015 development agenda and set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has paid insufficient attention to the role of what is becoming increasingly known as the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). Also available in Portuguese and Spanish.


Earlier this year, UNRISD launched the Young Scholars Think Piece series to provide promising young researchers with an opportunity to present their research to a wide platform and to contribute to the diversity of ideas within the development community. The first edition was on Extractive Industries and Social Development. We received over 70 submissions, out of which four think pieces were selected to be published on our website. A key strength of of the winning entries is that they highlight approaches to research which are often acknowledged as important but rarely feature prominently in the study of extractive industries.

Paving a National Avenue on Top of a Complex Network of Trails: Contentions Around Mineral Extraction In Ecuador
Duygu Avci, Turkey The current government in Ecuador is promoting extractive industries as a main source of revenue for social development. However, there are contradictions in the government's approach. This think piece looks at the lessons that can be learned from this case.

Corporate Social Responsibility and Oil in the Niger Delta: Solution or Part of the Problem?
Michael Marchant, South Africa What obstacles have prevented Shell Petroleum's CSR efforts in the Niger Delta from succeeding? This think piece looks at three key factors: the complex nature of the conflict; Shell's organizational culture, which has prevented it from adopting CSR activities that would help achieve developmental goals; and Shell's unwillingness to acknowledge its role in the situation in the Delta.

Extractive Industries, Power Struggles and the Battle of Ideas
Karolien van Teijlingen, Netherlands Discursive power is a recurrent but often ignored element in struggles to gain control over natural resources. This think piece stresses the importance of the battle of ideas in power struggles over extractive industries and local development.

Activists and Extractive Industries: An Alliance Against Social Development?
Martin Tengler, Czech Republic It is not unusual for environmental NGOs to work with multinational corporations in extractive industries. This think piece argues that such collaboration creates a risk of government complacency, which shifts discursive power toward extractive industry corporations. For extractive industries to have a positive impact on social development, ENGOs should work more closely with the state.


Call for Expressions of Interest: New Directions in Social Policy

UNRISD currently has a call open for expressions of interest from researchers to take part in country-level research under the project New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South. We particularly welcome expressions of interest from women and young post-doctoral researchers from developing countries. The deadline is 15 October 2014, 23:59 (CET). For more information, visit the UNRISD website.

Vacancy: Communications and Outreach Consultant - Creative Design, Multimedia, Web and Events

UNRISD is now accepting applications for a Communications and Outreach Consultant to work full-time at the Institute in Geneva. The successful candidate will combine excellent interpersonal and internal communications skills, and a passion for promoting social development research to a range of external audience groups. S/he will bring proven skills in creative design for print and digital products; multimedia production, in particular videos and podcasts; event organization; and web and social media that will complement the expertise of other team members. S/he will also have strong visual, oral and written communication skills, with a proven ability to translate complex analysis and ideas into clear, message-oriented, accessible formats for different platforms and audiences.

Vacancy: Internship: Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development

UNRISD is now accepting applications for a three-month internship position, starting in October 2014 (earlier starting date possible), to assist with the project on Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development. The intern will be asked to provide research assistance for the project indicated above, and other related projects as required; assist with editing and formatting of publications and conduct library and Internet searches; contribute to ongoing working tasks related to project management, fundraising activities, external relations, or event organization; and produce a short draft paper, literature review, article or another similar output, on a subject related to the Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization project.


Korean Translation of UNRISD Book Launched at International Conference in Seoul

2 September 2014, Seoul The Korean translation of the recent UNRISD publication, Learning from the South Korean Developmental Success: Effective Development Cooperation and Synergistic Institutions and Policies, was launched at the 8th Seoul ODA International Conference "Good governance and effective institutions". Many of the 600 conference participants attended the launch seminar, and engaged in a lively debate on the "enabling role of institutional mechanisms".

Where Do Great Ideas Come From? A Discussion with The Rockefeller Foundation

22 July 2014, Geneva How can we distinguish a good idea from a great one that bears potential to transform lives throughout the world? How can we identify new ways to address old problems? How can we collaborate to better understand and impact the changing world around us? Claudia Juech and Rachel Bergenfield from the Rockefeller Foundation gave an UNRISD seminar on these questions and shared the organization's approach to assessing new opportunities to address global challenges.

Listen to the podcast.
Watch the video.


Senior Research Associate: A New Way to Engage with UNRISD

UNRISD is drawing on the extensive network of researchers it has built up over several decades to form a select group of Senior Research Associates. This group will comprise experienced researchers, policy makers and practitioners who know the Institute well, share its normative and analytical orientation, and are keen to see its work and role in international knowledge and policy circles receive greater recognition. The group will play a significant role in enhancing the visibility of the Institute and strengthening the dissemination of UNRISD research findings at country, regional and international levels.

Ideas to Impact: Research for Social Change

This new brochure looks at how we move from ideas to impact, highlighting recent UNRISD influence in gender and development; poverty, inequality and the post-2015 agenda; and social dimensions of sustainable development. Find out what makes UNRISD distinctive and how our research and global convening power work to influence policy agendas.

Download the brochure.

New Material on Linking Social Protection and Human Rights Platform

UNRISD continues to develop its Platform Linking Social Protection and Human Rights. We have now launched a Legal Depository of court cases in which human rights law has been used to achieve better social protection. Have a look round to find some inspiration, and if you know of new legal cases on different themes and regions that should be added to the Depository, email us at sp_hr@unrisd.org.

Valeria Esquivel Interviewed by Social Protection Blog

UNRISD Research Coordinator Valeria Esquivel was interviewed by Priorizar La Equidad, a social protection blog. In the interview (in Spanish), she discusses the care economy and how the heavy burden of unpaid care work assumed by some women prevents them from joining the paid labour force, and makes them fall into poverty or become poorer. The blog is run by Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento (CIPPEC), based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona Interviewed by Priorizar La Equidad

Priorizar La Equidad also interviewed UNRISD Visiting Fellow Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona. In the interview (in Spanish), she discusses social protection and human rights, and the challenges facing the incorporation of the human rights approach into social protection in Latin America. The interview referenced the UNRISD resource platform on Linking Social Protection and Human Rights.

Jenifer Freedman Interviewed by Politics & Ideas

UNRISD's Head of Communications and Outreach, Jenifer Freedman, was interviewed by Politics & Ideas, a think net. She spoke about how the Institute defines its research agenda, its engagement with researchers and institutions, and the impact of its work.

Jon Shedrick via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: ++41 (0)22 917 3020
E-mail info.unrisd@un.org

If you no longer wish to receive our UNRISD eBulletin, please click here to update your myUNRISD profile

Follow Us
YouTube Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Scribd