Linking Social Protection and Human Rights; Post-2015 Development Agenda; New Directions in Social Policy: Issue 19 June 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 new issue of the UNRISD e-Bulletin. In this edition, we’re pleased to bring you a preview of one of our innovative activities, and one which touches a nerve in current development debates: a new web platform Linking Social Protection and Human Rights, developed in collaboration with Magdalena Sepúlveda, former UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and currently Visiting Fellow at UNRISD.

We also recently launched a new research project, New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South, with a workshop and lively public panel debate about which you'll find information below.

In addition to a wide array of publications and seminars, for example on social and solidarity economy, migration and health in China, and development lessons from Korea, we’ve recently reached out to policy makers in New York and Geneva by participating in briefings of UN delegates on the post-2015 development agenda.

Other lively outreach activities have involved Master’s candidates from the International Institute of Social Studies, and local high school students. We’re also announcing the winners of the first edition of the Young Scholars Think Piece Series and have been impressed with the level of the winning entries.

The UNRISD e-Bulletin will now take a break until September—but UNRISD staff will be hard at work over the European summer on a range of institutional and research activities, and preparing the next instalment of news and publications from the Institute. Until then, we hope you enjoy browsing through our recent work, and we wish you a pleasant and productive few months.


Occasional Papers: Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy

Regional Policy Frameworks of Social Solidarity Economy in South America
Marcelo Saguier and Zoe Brent This paper looks at how the social and solidarity economy (SSE) discourse has been deployed at a regional level by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and Southern American Common Market (MERCOSUR), and the implications of these new policy frameworks for the advancement of SSE practices.

La Presencia de la Economía Social y Solidaria y su Institucionalización en América Latina
José Luis Coraggio Las instituciones de la Economía Social y Solidaria (ESS) pueden ser respuestas formales a prácticas y demandas sociales de abajo arriba, o intervenciones dirigidas de arriba abajo. La evolución de las reformas institucionales durante la última década en América Latina sugiere que éstas pueden ser fácilmente revertidas o perder su fuerza a través de los cambios en las prioridades del gobierno y de los partidos en el poder, y que su consolidación depende del apoyo activo y sostenido de los actores colectivos en diálogo permanente con el gobierno.

Working Papers: Migration and Health in China

Two Decades of Research on Migrant Health in China: A Systematic Review—Lessons for Future Inquiry
Li Ling, Manju Rani, Yuanyuan Sang, Guiye Lv and Sarah L. Barber This paper examines the adequacy, quality and relevance of existing evidence on migrant health in China based on a systematic review of publications between 1985 and 2010. It finds that despite a substantial increase in volume, research on migrant health in China has provided limited information to inform current policies and programmes. The authors suggest increasing the rigour and relevance of future research, which will require better sampling frames with comparison populations; a focus on neglected research areas, including access to services; and partnerships with government and other agencies to evaluate specific interventions.

A Longitudinal Study of Migration and Health: Empirical Evidence from Thailand and its Implications
Chalermpol Chamchan, Win Kit Chan and Sureeporn Punpuing Using longitudinal data and analysis from 2005 to 2009, this paper presents the results of a study that assessed the physical and mental health of 2,397 respondents, tracking them over this five-year period with regard to migration status and relevant socio-demographic characteristics. The study found that rural-urban migration in Thailand depended on the individual’s health: the likelihood of migrating from a rural origin to an urban destination was higher for those who had better physical health but poorer mental health.

Working Paper: Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization

Fiscal Capacity and Aid Allocation: Domestic Resource Mobilization and Foreign Aid in Developing Countries
Aniket Bhushan and Yiagadeesen Samy Given that domestic resource mobilization (DRM) is now seen by the international community as an important component of financing for development and countries have committed to linking aid disbursements to DRM efforts, the paper analyses whether—and the extent to which—donors consider tax performance in aid allocation decisions, using Bolivia, Guatemala, Uganda and Zimbabwe as case studies. It finds that there are important gaps in terms of donors delivering on their commitments to align with recipient country priorities and providing aid through country public financial management systems.

Working Paper: Towards Universal Social Security in Emerging Economies

The Continuing Enigmas of Social Policy
Ben Fine The global crisis, together with an international climate committed to human rights, poverty alleviation, and improvement in human well-being, have put social policy firmly on the agenda not only in the differentially impacted developed world but also across the equally diverse developing economies. In this light, how are social policies to be understood, explained and made? This paper offers surprising insights and suggests a number of lessons based on an extensive and critical review of recent literature on the topic.


Learning from the South Korean Developmental Success: Effective Development Cooperation and Synergistic Institutions and Policies
Edited by Ilcheong Yi and Thandika Mkandawire This edited volume suggests lessons for development in the twenty-first century through an analysis of the South Korean experience. Looking beyond the analytical scope of the developmental state, contributions focus on the institutional mechanisms enabling the state and society to establish complementary economic and social policies, the actors involved and the consequences of the choices in a range of policy areas — aid, industrialization, labour markets, fiscal and monetary policies, social policy, rural development, the environment and gender relations — between 1945 and 2000.

Articles by UNRISD Staff

Recent UNRISD staff contributions to external journals on inequality and social protection, global finance and well-being.

UNRISD Director Sarah Cook co-authored an article with Jonathan Pincus on "Poverty, Inequality and Social Protection in Southeast Asia: An Introduction", which was published in the Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, Vol. 31, No. 1.

UNRISD Research Analyst Marie-Adélaïde Matheï reviewed The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money by Brett Scott for the International Journal of Community Currency Research.

Nadine van Dijk, a former UNRISD Research Analyst, wrote a paper, Can't Buy Me Happiness: How Voluntary Simplicity Contributes to Subjective Wellbeing, which was published as part of the University of Bath Papers in International Development and Wellbeing.


A Model for Social Protection in Africa? Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme

11 June 2014, Palais des Nations, Geneva Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) was introduced in 2005 to provide support to approximately eight million chronically food insecure people. Ever since, the programme has been promoted as a model of social protection and has already been influential in the design of schemes in other African countries. In this UNRISD Seminar, Tom Lavers drew on recent research published in the Journal of Modern African Studies to discuss the PSNP and the root causes of poverty and food insecurity, and the government’s political motivations for pursuing the programme. The World Bank team working on this issue in Ethiopia joined the seminar in an audio link, giving their perspective of events on the ground.

Watch the video.
Listen to the podcast.

Book Launch: Learning from the South Korean Developmental Success

29 May 2014, University of Manchester UNRISD partnered with the Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, to host the launch of our latest volume, Learning from the South Korean Developmental Success: Effective Development Cooperation; Synergistic Institutions and Policies (Ilcheong Yi and Thandika Mkandawire, eds., see article above). The volume is an output of a joint research project with the Korean International Cooperation Agency, KOICA, Making International Development Cooperation Effective: Learning from the Korean Experience.

Innovation, Human Rights and Feasibility: Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia

27 May 2014, Palais des Nations, Geneva Is there a common set of ideas and norms underlying development and welfare policy in South Asia? Is there a common political economy? Is a South Asian version of a developmental welfare state emerging? In this UNRISD seminar Gabriele Koehler presented highlights and insights from her recent book, Development and Welfare Policy in South Asia, co-edited with Deepta Chopra. There is good news—new forms of social policy in South Asia—but also many inherent structural faults and failures. The contours of a South Asian developmental welfare state might be creating opportunities to alter the social contract in a more progressive direction, but fall far short of their stated intent.

Watch the video.

Migration and Health in China

6 May 2014, Palais des Nations, Geneva People are on the move in their millions in China in search of better jobs and better lives, mostly migrating to cities from the countryside. This movement has huge implications for the health of the Chinese population, the patterns and transmission of disease, China’s health care system and related social welfare policies. These issues have been largely neglected by researchers and consequently have not been adequately addressed by public policy—a major research and policy gap.The UNRISD/IOM Panel Discussion on Migration and Health in China brought together researchers from the UNRISD project to reflect on the findings and public policy implications of their research for China and other developing nations with high population mobility.

Watch the videos of the presentations:
Shufang Zhang, Specialist, Global Fund
Joseph D. Tucker, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Director of UNC Project-China
Xiaoming Li, Wayne State University School of Medicine
Barbara Rijks, Migration Health Programme Coordinator, IOM
Migration and Health in China: Five Key Challenges and Entry Points

Listen to the podcast.

Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization: Bolivia National Workshop

29-30 April, La Paz, Bolivia Are tax systems providing governments with sufficient revenues to implement policies? Are rents from natural resources and mining a corrective for fiscal austerity? What are the linkages between domestic resource mobilization and donor relations in aid-dependent countries? And how do revenue policies impact on state-building and democratization? These are some of the questions considered by the UNRISD project, Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization, for which research is currently being conducted in Bolivia, Uganda and Zimbabwe. This workshop is the second national workshop on the Bolivia case study.


Linking Social Protection and Human Rights: New Platform

Both human rights and social protection have emerged as key elements in discussions on poverty reduction and the post-2015 development agenda. UNRISD is developing a new resource platform, “Linking Social Protection and Human Rights”, which aims to support policy makers, development practitioners and human rights advocates in their work. With many of the components already in place, we’d like to invite you take a look at the framework for a human rights-based approach to social protection, developed in collaboration with Magdalena Sepúlveda, former UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights and currently Visiting Fellow at UNRISD, and the complementary set of expert commentaries which bridge the legal elements of the framework and the realities of development practice. A depository of relevant case law, the third component of the platform, will be online soon.

Feeding into the Post-2015 Agenda

UNRISD has been feeding into recent processes around the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda. The Institute contributed a section on "Sustaining development gains through inclusive development" to the UN Secretary-General’s Report for the 2014 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review. Two of UNRISD’s publications, Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics, and Social Drivers of Sustainable Development (Beyond 2015 Brief No. 4), are mentioned in the report. UNRISD’s contribution was the result of an e-discussion on "Sustaining development gains through inclusive development" held earlier this year and co-moderated by Sarah Cook. The e-discussion aimed to encourage experts, practitioners and policy makers to engage in a global dialogue and discuss successful examples of national policies that have challenged social exclusion.

UNRISD briefed delegates from UN Member States on social inclusion and the post-2015 development agenda at an Orientation Briefing in New York on 16 April and in Geneva on 14 May. Using lessons from UNRISD research to set the stage for dialogue among invited experts and members of delegations, UNRISD Director Sarah Cook spoke via video for the New York event and in person in Geneva. UNRISD also provided a background paper for delegates (written by Esuna Dugarova and Tom Lavers), outlining how new sustainable development goals must differ from the MDGs, and how UNRISD’s broad definition of transformative social policy melds with the current emphasis on integrating social, economic and environmental policies.

Watch the briefing video.

Young Scholars Think Piece Series, First Edition

The jury is in! From over 70 submissions to the first edition of the Young Scholars Think Piece Series, four pieces have been selected for publication on the Institute’s website. The jury’s decision was based not only on quality and research relevance, but also on innovation and originality.

The Series aims to provide promising young researchers with an opportunity to present their research on social development on a wider platform than is possible within a university setting, thereby contributing to the diversity of ideas within the development community. This first edition was centred on the theme of extractive industries, with winning entries touching on issues like discourse analysis of power struggles around mining and development, and the critical roles of corporations and the state in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the Niger Delta.

New Directions in Social Policy Project Kick-Off Workshop and Panel Discussion

7-8 April and 9 April 2014, Palais des Nations, Geneva UNRISD successfully launched its newest research project New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South with two well-attended events: an inception workshop and a public panel discussion. At the kick-off workshop, 25 leading researchers from a variety of disciplines gave short, thought-provoking presentations which were followed by extensive discussions to identify and frame priority research issues for the new project. About half of the speakers were from the global South.

On 9 April, a stimulating public panel discussion on New Directions in Social Policy: Towards a Post-2015 Agenda was held as part of the UNRISD Seminar Series, in partnership with the UN Library in Geneva, and moderated by Sarah Cook. Over 100 participants heard four panelists, each from a different continent, discuss the changing nature of and challenges to social policy regimes in developing countries. The discussion was opened by Per Ronnås, Senior Specialist at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), UNRISD’s largest donor. Panellists were Jimi Adesina, Professor and DST/NRF SARChl Chair in Social Policy at the University of South Africa; Michael Cichon, President of the International Council on Social Welfare and Professor of Social Protection at UNU Maastricht; Rana Jawad, Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Bath, and founder of the MENA social policy network; and Andras Uthoff, Professor in the Faculty of Economy and Business at the Universidad de Chile.

Watch the video of the panel discussion.
Listen to the podcast of the panel discussion.

UNRISD Hands Over TFSSE Secretariat to the ILO

The UN Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) was set up in September 2013 with a rotating secretariat. UNRISD has taken on this role since the task force’s inception; as of 1 July the secretariat will be located with the ILO Cooperatives Unit. The task force comprises 20 members, including UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations, as well as three observers (umbrella associations of SSE networks). It aims to raise the visibility of SSE enterprises and organizations within the UN system and beyond, promote knowledge and partnerships on SSE and support the establishment of an enabling institutional and policy environment for SSE. Members of the task force organized a side event at the 8th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. A Position Paper on "SSE and the Challenge of Sustainable Development" will be published soon, and a website for the task force is being developed.

Mindful(l) of Development: UNRISD Welcomes 25 Master's Students from ISS

A group of 25 Master’s degree students from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, paid a visit to UNRISD on 2 June as part of their study programme. UNRISD Research Coordinator Katja Hujo presented the ongoing research project, Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization. The students, who came from 20 different countries, with 23 students coming from the South, were interested in a range of topics, especially in issues related to education, youth and children.

A Day of Shadowing by Students at UNRISD

UNRISD welcomed three local high school students as part of an annual outreach programme run by the UN Information Service and the Eduki Foundation, a Geneva NGO. Shadowing the Communications and Outreach staff and a meeting with young researchers gave them an overview of UNRISD's work. The students also got hands-on experience writing an article about their visit, "Poussons les portes de l’ONU : notre journée au sein de l’UNRISD" (Pushing open the doors of the UN: Our day at UNRISD), for the UNRISD website.

In Memory of Brigitte Schnegg (1953-2014)

Brigitte Schnegg, founder and director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (ICGS) at the University of Bern passed away earlier this year. As an advocate of women’s human rights, Ms. Schnegg was able to connect the work of the centre to global feminist research across disciplines and contexts. She became an active member of the UNRISD research project, Political and Social Economy of Care (2006-2009), contributing substantively to the project through the country study on Switzerland.


Linking Social Protection and Human Rights

Advocates, practitioners, policy makers and academics share practical guidance and thought-provoking commentary on their experiences with a human rights approach to social protection. These posts are part of a new UNRISD resource platform Linking Social Protection and Human Rights.

Are Conditional Cash Transfers Having an Impact on Achieving Access to Education? Some Answers from Argentina - Gastón Pierri

Conditionality and Human Rights - Guy Standing

The Compatibility between ILO Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors and the ICESCR - Francine Mestrum

Incorporating the Informal Sector in Social Protection Programmes for Universal Realization of the Rights to Social Security - Barbara Caracciolo

Biometrics Use for Social Protection Programmes in India Risk Violating Human Rights of the Poor - Usha Ramanathan

Conditionalities, Cash and Gender Relations - Maxine Molyneux

ILO Recommendation 202 is Not a Legal Island: Explicit Links between R. 202, the ICESCR and the UDHR - Michael Cichon

Improving Representation in the Design and Implementation of Social Protection Programmes through Women’s Organizations - Markus Kaltenborn

Securing a Dignified Old Age for All - Charles Knox-Vydmanov

Pro-Poor and Pro-Development Transparency Laws and Policies - Issa Luna Pla

A Rejoinder to ‘Pro-Poor and Pro-Development Transparency’ - Charles Lwanga-Ntale

Protecting the Right of Access to Social Security Benefits - Stephen Kidd

The Role that Civil Society can Play in Ensuring Accountability in Social Protection Programmes - Felipe J. Hevia

Transformative Approaches to Care Responsibilities: Overcoming Obstacles to the Meaningful Participation of Women - Valeria Esquivel

Realizing Rights in Practice: A ‘Minimum’ Level of Social Security in Relation to an ‘Adequate’ Standard of Living - Bob Deacon

Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy

The two latest posts in a series of think pieces by scholars and practitioners working on social and solidarity economy, related to the UNRISD conference "Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy", held in May 2013 in collaboration with the ILO and UN-NGLS.

Banner photo by Bekah Spangler 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

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