Issue 9: Counting down to Rio+20 May 2012
UNRISD is an autonomous institution within the UN system that carries out multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.


Rio+20 is a crucial moment for the international community to rethink development from the perspective of equity and the environment. UNRISD will be there, actively communicating the findings of a year-long inquiry on the social dimensions of green economy and sustainable development through co-hosted events, workshops and panel discussions. Check our website in June for date and venue confirmation.

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UNRISD Launches New Alumni Network

UNRISD is excited to announce the launch of its new Alumni network. This network will enable researchers, activists and policy makers working on similar subjects to forge new connections. It also provides opportunities to rekindle earlier collaborations and to share professional work, research ideas, and job and/or funding opportunities. It will bring together current and former collaborating researchers, staff and interns from across the globe, and from across disciplines.

Join the new Linked In UNRISD Alumni network!

Regional Governance of Migration and Social Policy in Africa

Participants at a two-day conference in Pretoria, South Africa, discussed the role of regional governmental coalitions in facilitating free movement of migrants, both within and between regions, including equitable entitlements to residence, work, social protection, health, education and other social services.



The Global Crisis and Transformative Social Change
Peter Utting, Shahra Razavi and Rebecca Varghese Buchholz At the onset of the financial crisis in 2009, it became clear that limited attention was being paid to key social, political and developmental dimensions of the crisis. This volume consists of papers presented at a conference organized by UNRISD to draw attention to these critical, but little discussed, issues.

Seen, Heard and Counted: Rethinking Care in a Development Context
Shahra Razavi Contributors analyse the care economy in the developing world, at a moment when existing systems are under strain and new ideas are coming into focus. Empirically grounded case studies of countries as diverse as China, Nicaragua, India and South Africa shed new light both on existing care arrangements and changing policies. This book offers important insights about what it will mean to provide dignified care in the twenty-first century.

Development: Greening the Economy, Volume 55, Number 1, March 2012
Wendy Harcourt, Sarah Cook and Kiah Smith (eds.) This edition of Development, in partnership with UNRISD, includes papers presented at the UNRISD conference, Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension, on topics ranging from global crises to grassroots conservation and development projects.

Occasional Papers: Green Economy and Sustainable Development

The Political Economy of Green Growth in India
Payal Banerjee and Atul Sood This paper offers an overview of the Indian state’s alternative or sustainable development trajectories as well as the more mainstream policy decisions for high-growth objectives in the global economy. Based on a review of the current policy framework in energy and natural resources related to water, land and forests, as well as data from fieldwork in the northeastern region of India, this paper suggests that current approaches toward growth have largely privileged a mainstream development perspective, promoted privatization and often aggravated existing social inequalities.

Payment for Ecosystem Services Markets on Aboriginal Land in Cape York Peninsula: Potential and Constraints
Michael Winer, Helen Murphy and Harold Ludwick This paper argues that insufficient government funding and lack of indigenous involvement in design and implementation of natural resource management (NRM) has resulted in increased environmental risk in the region and an NRM system characterized by insufficient, unreliable and short-term government funding.

Sustainable Development through Policy Integration in Latin America: A Comparative Approach
Laura Rival This paper examines how social and political actors in Brazil and in Ecuador propose to govern natural resource use sustainably, and how they work at building an alternative political economy based on ecosystem protection, biodiversity, renewable energy use and poverty reduction.


Gendered Impacts of Globalization: Employment and Social Protection
Shahra Razavi, Camila Arza, Elissa Braunstein, Sarah Cook and Kristine Goulding The last three decades have seen remarkable changes in economic structures and policies both within and across countries, loosely captured by the term globalization. This paper reviews evidence on how key aspects of globalization processes have impacted the real economy, in terms of employment and social conditions of work for women and men across a wide range of countries.

Pension Reforms and Gender Equality in Latin America
Camila Arza As most other components of social protection systems, pension schemes can have a substantial impact on gender equality. The way in which pension systems distribute rights, resources and risks can affect men and women differently and serve to mitigate, reproduce or amplify the gender inequalities emerging from the labour market, the distribution of work in the household, and so on. Latin American countries originally embraced the Bismarckian model of old-age protection with earnings-related contributory systems. Coverage in contributory systems depends on participation in the formal labour market, earning levels and family composition, and hence they tend to reproduce the labour market inequalities between men and women.


Conference News: Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension
A fair and equitable green economy transition extends beyond addressing consequences of environmental or economic change, to enabling the transformation of social structures, institutions and power relations that underpin vulnerability, inequality and poverty.This is the report of the UNRISD conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension, held in Geneva on 10-11 October 2011. Attended by some 250 participants, the event brought together academic researchers, United Nations policy makers, government officials, civil society actors and activists from around the world.


Three New Films on "Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social" Now Online

Two new films in the series, "Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social" are now online:

Green Economy Coalitions for Change
Food for the Future: Agriculture in a Sustainable World
Sustainable Futures, Alternative Visions


Religion et politique: le genre pris au piège - The Unhappy Marriage of Religion and Politics. The Pitfalls for Gender Equality

27 March 2012, Geneva
How does the increasing presence of religion in the political arena impinge on women's rights? How is the struggle for gender equality shaped or deflected by politicized religion? These questions were addressed in a debate organized by The Graduate Institute, UNRISD and the Swiss government. Some of the speakers were contributors to the project, Religion, Politics and Gender Equality.


The Challenge of Political Empowerment

Peter Utting
In the struggle over ideas in the development arena, mainstream actors and organizations often pick up terms that are associated with more radical perspectives. And this has been the case with "empowerment". But such mainstreaming can cause original meanings to be modified or become obscure. From the perspective of strategies that aim to improve the well-being of small-scale farmers, there are various risks inherent in the way the term empowerment has been taken up by international and bilateral development agencies.

Security Sector Reform Needs Inclusive Politics and Jobs for the Poor

Yusuf Bangura
Security sector reform has gained prominence in recent years as the international community seeks solutions to seemingly intractable conflicts. However, in order to achieve sustainable peace, security sector reform needs to be grounded in inclusive government and growth strategies that deliver jobs to the poor.


Driving Green Jobs through Rural Renewable Energy Systems

Kathrin Bimesdoerfer, Carola Kantz and J.R. Siegel
Green growth is being touted as a way to reconcile economic growth and sustainable development. However, as this think piece demonstrates, there is a gap in the assessment of data and knowledge with regard to employment and labour conditions. Using a rural off-grid electrification initiative in Bangladesh as an example, the authors aim to build awareness about employment and job conditions, and suggest indicators of social dimensions.

The Social Dimension of Carbon Trading: Contrasting Economic Perspectives

Pascal van Griethuysen
This think piece combines insights from ecological economics, critical institutional economics and property economics with neoclassical environmental economics to offer an alternative theoretical interpretation of carbon markets. From this heterodox perspective, carbon trading is seen as an institutional innovation created for meeting both the interests and constraints of the industrial capitalist mode of development.

Gender Equality as Key in Defining Human Well-Being and Enhancing Sustainable Development

Gerd Johnsson-Latham
The predominant discourse on sustainable development focuses mainly on ecology and economics, not taking into account social dimensions of well-being and gender-based inequalities. This think piece emphasizes the importance of incorporating gender dimensions into the discourse on sustainable development to improve human well-being.


United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
Palais des Nations
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