Issue 6 September 2011
UNRISD is an autonomous institution within the UN system that carries out multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.


Bringing Back the Social? UNRISD Conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development

Kiah Smith and Peter Utting
In the lead-up to Rio+20, debates around "green economy" are highlighting differing views on both the concept itself and the nature of any transition path. Green economy is not simply about the economy and environment; more fundamentally, it requires a deeper restructuring of economic and social processes and relations, with social dimensions critical in driving a just transition and mitigating impacts. However, the social dimensions of green economy – and sustainable development, for that matter – are not well integrated in current debates.


Bringing Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge Together for Green Economy

Laura Rival
Listen to the podcast in English and Spanish.
Laura Rival argues that green economy must re-embed economics within the bounds of nature. A new type of economics is needed for this, one that is based on a combination of indigenous and scientific knowledge.


UNRISD Conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development

10 - 11 Oct 2011, Geneva, Switzerland
With advance registrations for the conference at 750 when registration closed on 1 September, this upcoming event has generated overwhelming interest. UNRISD looks forward to welcoming researchers, representatives of UN organizations and NGOs from all over the world, as well as the art exhibit, “In the Bag: The Art and Politics of the Reusable Bag Movement”, which we are pleased to bring to the UN in Geneva in parallel with the conference.

The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class

26 Sep 2011, Geneva, Switzerland
Guy Standing will be giving the next UNRISD seminar on what he calls the precariat – a growing number of people across the world living and working precariously, without recourse to stable occupational identities or careers, stable social protection or protective regulations relevant to them. To address the resulting insecurities, Guy Standing outlines a new kind of good society, with more people actively involved in civil society and the precariat re-engaged.

Making International Development Cooperation Effective

13 October 2011, Seoul, Republic of Korea
UNRISD will be cohosting, with the Korea International Cooperation Agency, a conference on the project on Making International Development Cooperation Effective. The project looks at how foreign aid and non-aid policies interact with national development policies to achieve development across political, social and economic dimensions.

The 2nd Development Forum for G20-G8: Exploring Alternative Development Strategies

24-25 October 2011, Paris, France
The forum will help to develop a conceptual and policy framework that will position alternative development strategies at the centre of the G20 agenda. The forum will examine themes such as the financial transaction tax, universal social protection system, social policy responses to climate change and a rights-based approach to food security.


These are the first in a new series of think pieces reflecting on the importance of bringing the social dimension back into discussions about green economy.

A Fair Green Economy: Framing Green Economy and the Post-MDG Agenda in Terms of Equity

Alison Doig and Erica Carroll
In the next few years the global community must address the dual crises of global poverty and global environmental degradation. As the international community develops a successor to the MDGs and at the same time aims at a global green economy, it is essential to recognize the role of inequality in perpetuating high levels of global poverty and undermining attempts at environmental sustainability.

“We Have to Correct the Errors of Our Ancestors”: Policy Implications of Environmentalism and Gender in Intag, Ecuador

Linda D’Amico
A community in Ecuador has found ways to improve its livelihood and well-being through ecologically responsible actions. Responding to local manifestations of global crises, community members have developed creative solutions that balance economic, social and environmental concerns.


Using Legislation to Fight Racial Discrimination

Manuel Góngora
Listen to the podcast in English and Spanish.
National legislation can sometimes, unintentionally, reproduce racial discrimination. For example, laws to facilitate the operations of transnational companies—especially mining companies—can affect the rights of indigenous peoples. According to Manuel Góngora, this kind of discrimination can be prevented.

Enhancing Workers’s Capacities: A Challenge for Green Economy in Latin America

Amalia Palma and Claudia Robles
Listen to the podcast in English and Spanish.
Establishing green economy in Latin America is not going to be without challenges, of which an important one is strengthening workers’ skills. The interviewees suggest that the concept of decent work may constitute an opportunity to extend social protection in the region.

Organized Civil Society is an Important Factor for Social Change

Rosalba Casas
Listen to the podcast in Spanish.
Rosalba Casas highlights the importance of bringing a diversity of perspectives to the analysis and debate of social policies, and how such an approach can reinforce the fight against poverty and exclusion. As such, she says, organized civil society can be a crucial vector of progressive social change.

A Comprehensive Approach to Social Protection: Integrating Health Care

Armando De Negri Filho
Listen to the podcast.
The universal right to health should be part of a full social protection system that includes not only civil and political rights, but also social and economic rights.

Development and Solidarity

Francine Mestrum
Listen to the podcast.
Despite progress toward the MDGs, extreme poverty continues to afflict many. Francine Mestrum contends that it is time to turn to approaches such as universalism and a financial transaction tax.


UNRISD Publications

Research and Policy Brief on Religion, Politics and Gender Equality
Now available in French and Spanish.
UNRISD Recherches et politiques – Synthèse 11: Religion, politique et égalité des sexes
UNRISD Investigación y política – Síntesis 11: Religión, política e igualdad de género

Other Publications

International Journal of Social Welfare, Vol. 20, No. 3, Special Issue on Social Policy and Poverty
Katja Hujo and Elena Gaia, guest editors The role of social policy in poverty reduction has become particularly important, especially in the context of the MDGs and multiple crises worldwide. Five contributions from researchers from the UNRISD network focus on three vital factors in poverty reduction: social protection, including conditional cash transfers; the labour market and labour market policies; and the financing of social policies.

The European Journal of Development Research, Vol. 23, No. 4, Special Debate Section on the Politics of Poverty and Inequality
This issue of the European Journal of Development Research is a special forum around the key concerns brought up in UNRISD's flagship report, Combating Poverty and Inequality. Prominent academics working on inequality have contributed to the debate.

Global Discourses, National Policies, Local Outcomes: Reflections on China's Welfare Reforms
Sarah Cook This is the concluding chapter in the book, China’s Changing Welfare Mix: Local Perspectives, edited by Beatriz Carrillo and Jane Duckett. The book looks at subnational variation and the changing mix of state and non-state provision in China.

Engendering Social Security and Protection
Shahra Razavi The recent global crisis has underlined the important role of social security and protection. However, in practice there are going to be significant variations in crisis response across countries. What is the best way of equalizing social protection outcomes, especially for women?


Peter Utting, UNRISD Deputy Director, is at the University of Toronto as Visiting Senior Scholar at the Munk School for Global Affairs from September to December 2011.

Former UNRISD Research Fellow, Imraan Valodia, has been appointed to serve on the Employment Conditions Commission in South Africa.


United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: ++41 (0)22 917 3020

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