Issue 8: Women’s rights in Pakistan and postcards to Rio+20 March 2012
UNRISD is an autonomous institution within the UN system that carries out multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.


Welcome to the latest UNRISD e-Bulletin.

This issue coincides with International Women’s Day which this year highlights the theme of “Connecting girls, inspiring futures”. To reflect on the challenges of transforming societies to protect and empower women and girls, Farida Shaheed, Pakistani feminist and activist, and a Collaborating Researcher on the project Religion, Politics and Gender Equality (2007–2009), contributes her views on the process of transforming women’s rights promised in laws and policies into tangible improvements in their lives.

Fareeda Shaheed’s article forms part of a special issue of Cahiers du Genre, co-edited by UNRISD, on religion, politics and gender equality, which has just been published (see below).

The first of a series of UNRISD papers linking economic policies, employment and social protection from a gender perspective is also highlighted in this bulletin. This series, to be posted in the coming weeks, makes explicit the links between the macroeconomic policy environment, and gendered employment and well-being outcomes—links that are generally neglected in policy debates and activism surrounding women’s empowerment.

In the lead up to Rio+20, UNRISD continues to build on the success of our October 2011 conference, Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension, with a number of new publications, podcasts and videos. An enthusiastic reception from around the world to our first video suggests that this is an effective and accessible way to communicate our key messages about the neglect of the social dimensions in the current debates on green economy and sustainable development. The March 2012 issue of the journal Development “Greening the Economy”, which is co-edited by UNRISD, also addresses this theme.


International Women's Day and Women's Rights in Pakistan: Interview with Farida Shaheed

Fareeda Shaheed, a sociologist with over 25 years’ research experience on women’s gender justice in Pakistan and South Asia, speaks to UNRISD about International Women’s Day, laws on women’s rights in Pakistan and some of the challenges women’s rights advocates are facing implementing them.


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

UNRISD is producing six short videos based on footage from the conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension, and interviews with speakers. The first three videos are now online.

Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social

Putting a Price on Nature: Can Markets be Green and Social?

Social Policies for Sustainable Development

Launch of Development and Forum

A special issue of Development, published by the Society for International Development (SID), on greening the economy is being published in partnership with UNRISD, based on papers presented at the UNRISD conference on Green Economy and Sustainable Development. The articles look at ways that often-neglected social dimensions can be integrated within a green economy.

SID will also be launching “Development Plus”, a section of the SID Forum, which will contribute to the online launch of the journal.



Neoliberal Development Macroeconomics: A Consideration of its Gendered Employment Effects
Elissa Braunstein This is part of a series of UNRISD papers linking economic policies, employment and social protection from a gender perspective.

The term Washington consensus seems almost old-fashioned now. However, from a macroeconomic perspective at least, Elissa Braunstein finds that there is little difference between today’s development policy agenda from that prescribed by the most orthodox characterizations of the Washington consensus. Her paper expands on this, reviewing empirical research on the employment impacts of the macroeconomic policy environment on women’s employment outcomes.

Occasional Papers

The UNRISD Occasional Paper series, produced in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) for Rio+20, aims to stimulate debate around the social dimensions of green economy and sustainable development.

Climate Change, Double Injustice and Social Policy: A Case Study of the United Kingdom
Ian Gough The "double injustice" referred to in this paper is that the groups and populations likely to be most harmed by climate change are the least responsible for causing it and have the least resources to cope with the consequences. In light of this phenomenon, what are the distributional implications of current, fairly ambitious, policies to decarbonize the economy? The paper looks at this question in two parts: within the Kyoto framework and beyond it.

A Fair Green Economy? Studies of Agriculture, Energy and Waste Initiatives in Malaysia
Adnan A. Hezri and Rospidah Ghazali This paper looks at how the Malaysian government deals with green economy. Through case studies of agriculture, renewable energy and waste-to-wealth initiatives, the paper demonstrates that green economy in Malaysia has the most potential when it involves the engagement of local communities.

Realizing Local Development in the Carbon Commodity Chain: Political Economy, Value and Connecting Carbon Commodities at Multiple Scales
Adam Bumpus This paper provides an analysis of how local community development is connected to the global carbon economy through the creation of carbon commodities (offset credits) and the role of premium credit certification in assisting in local development. It shows that information on local conditions should be focused on political-economic processes and the interactions between actors to nuance the social benefits of carbon credit generation in developing country contexts.

The Global Political Economy of REDD+: Engaging Social Dimensions in the Emerging Green Economy
Rocío Hiraldo and Thomas Tanner The REDD+ initiative has emerged as a means through which individuals and communities in developing countries can be financially rewarded for reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and enhancement of carbon stock. This paper assesses how actors bring the social dimension into REDD+ negotiating processes at the global level and stresses that power relations in policy processes need to be taken into account.

Journals and Books

Religion et politique: Les femmes prises au piège, Cahiers du Genre, hors-série 2012
Jacqueline Heinen and Shahra Razavi (eds.) This edition of Cahiers du Genre looks at how religion as a political force affects the struggle for gender equality in contexts marked by different histories of nation-building and challenges of ethnic diversity, different state-society relations and different relations between state power and religion. Most of the articles here first appeared in English in the special issue of Third World Quarterly, "The Unhappy Marriage of Religion and Politics: Problems and Pitfalls for Gender Equality" (Vol. 31, No. 6, 2010).

The Politics of Resources Extraction: Indigenous Peoples, Multinational Corporations, and the State
Terence Gomez and Suzana Sawyer (eds.) Despite the burgeoning number of international charters and national laws asserting the rights of indigenous peoples, they find themselves subjected to discrimination, dispossession and racism. The authors explore this paradox by examining mega resource extraction projects in Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Chad and Cameroon, India, Nigeria, Peru and the Philippines.

Business Regulation and Non-State Actors: Whose Standards? Whose Development?
Peter Utting, Darryl Reed and Ananya Mukherjee-Reed (eds.) This volume assesses the achievements and limitations of a new set of non-state or multistakeholder institutions that are concerned with improving the social and environmental record of business, and holding corporations to account.

Publications from UNRISD Researchers

Conscientious Consumers and the Global Agri-Food System
Kristen Lyons and Kiah Smith This is a chapter in the book, Food Systems Failure: The Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture. The book examines the contradictions in the global food system associated with industrial, neoliberal agriculture that impede solutions to the food crisis. Kristen Lyons and UNRISD Research Analyst Kiah Smith provide a case study that looks at alternative strategies for regulating the ethics of global food trade, emerging from smallholder farmers engaged in fair, ethical and organic agriculture in Kenya and Uganda.


The following think pieces are part of a series reflecting on the importance of bringing the social dimension back into discussions about green economy and sustainable development.

The False Dichotomy Between Economy and Society: Implications for a Global Green Economy

Leisa Perch
One of the assumptions about green economy is that it will lead to poverty reduction and equity. Since several mainstream arguments for going green are largely economic, the structural changes and incentives envisaged are also largely economic in nature. However, to "go green with equity" will require social sustainability principles such as (i) preferential access for the poor and vulnerable to new jobs, green microfinance and infrastructure; (ii) adaptable social protection mechanisms which mitigate the impact of environmental and disaster risk and provide income support for green consumption by the poor; and (iii) a rights-based approach which tackles fundamental structural inequalities.

Green Growth, Social Agency and the Regulation of Agricultural Production in India and Brazil

Diego Vazquez-Brust and Evelyn Nava-Fischer
Green growth is being promoted as a new paradigm that encompasses economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. However, some developing countries have been questioning its relevance for their development. This piece shows how this paradigm is challenging, and being challenged by, traditional social norms and practices in agricultural production in India and Brazil.

Green Economy and Beyond – Case Studies in Guangzhou, China

Chen Jinjin
China’s rapid economic growth has led to a gap between urban and rural development, as well as environmental pollution and the marginalization of traditional farming. Two cases in Guangzhou in Guangdong province of southern China—a government programme and a non-governmental initiative—show how the local government and the public are trying to connect the green economy agenda with other sustainable development objectives, including poverty reduction, food security and social protection.


This is the first in a series of think pieces by participants at the 2nd Development Forum for the G20: Exploring Alternative Development Strategies. The forum brought together civil society groups, academics, and representatives of governments and international organizations to discuss priority development issues that should inform the G20 agenda. A civil society declaration drafted at the forum was delivered to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as holder of the G20 presidency.

The EU Commission Proposal for a Financial Transaction Tax: Problems and Prospects

Heikki Patomäki
In the midst of the ongoing crisis, the European Commission is supporting a comprehensive Financial Transaction Tax. Heikki Patomäki welcomes this move, but says that far from providing resources for development and poverty eradication, the Commission is looking for an alternative to national contributions for financing the EU budget. As such, Patomäki believes that a campaign for a global currency transaction tax is as necessary as ever.


Podcasts in Spanish on the Poverty Report

Six podcasts in Spanish on the UNRISD Flagship Report on Combating Poverty and Inequality are now available. Each podcast examines one of the chapters in the report: Tackling ethnic and regional inequalities; Gender inequalities at home and in the market; Universal provision of social services; Financing social policy; Business, power and poverty reduction; and Democracy and the politics of poverty reduction.


United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
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