Road to Addis and Beyond; New Director Appointed: Issue 25 September 2015
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.


It has been a busy and productive summer for UNRISD in Geneva and, via our networks, around the world. Read on to learn what we have been up to.

As the development community turns its attention to New York and the launch of the SDGs, we round off some recent work on the financing that could make or break their success. Our Think Piece Series, "The Road to Addis and Beyond", short essays on how to fund social development that raise provocative or alternative perspectives, concludes with a piece by UNRISD Senior Research Coordinator Katja Hujo. In the piece, she reviews contributors’ takes on what was missing from Addis, but also the good news: the Addis Action Agenda’s commitment to a new social compact and to deliver social protection for all. She goes on to identify some promising routes for improving financing for development beyond 2015, based on insights in the Series and on long-standing UNRISD research. As one of the authors put it, "Addis is just the start", and UNRISD will continue to bring evidence from its research to bear in the coming years as we all get down to the serious work of implementing the SDGs.

To that end, work is continuing apace on the next UNRISD Flagship Report, Policy Innovations for Transformative Social Change, scheduled for publication in 2016. The report will focus on the ways in which social policies can contribute to inclusive and sustainable futures. It will provide policy makers and other actors with research-based evidence on designing and implementing coherent and synergistic policies and institutions to meet the ambitious new goals being agreed in New York this month. Watch this space for information on the launch next year.

Finally, we are looking forward to welcoming our new Director, Paul Ladd, in October. He will come to us fresh from the SDG summit in New York, leaving his role at UNDP to bring UNRISD his own brand of insight and leadership.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy browsing through what UNRISD has contributed to development thinking and debates over the last couple of months.


Paul Ladd Appointed Director of UNRISD

The UN Secretary-General has appointed Paul Ladd Director of UNRISD. With 20 years of experience in global policy and research on issues such as trade, finance and migration, he joins UNRISD in October from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), where he has been Director of the Team on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He succeeds Sarah Cook, who stepped down as of 1 June.

UNRISD to Participate in Collaborative Research Project Linking SSE and Gender

UNRISD will be collaborating with The Graduate Institute and six other research institutes, of which five are located in the global South, on a new project entitled Feminist Analysis of Social and Solidarity Economy Practices: Views from Latin America and India. The project has received two years of funding from the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS). UNRISD’s role in the project will be to draft comparative analyses and policy briefs based on the research findings. UNRISD’s contribution, led by Valeria Esquivel, Research Coordinator on Gender and Development, will draw on its double expertise on gender and social and solidarity economy.

UNRISD Tribute to Ajit Singh

UNRISD is deeply saddened by the death of Ajit Singh, an eminent economist and a long-time UNRISD collaborating researcher. Professor Singh was Professor Emeritus at Cambridge University and a renowned economist who made fundamental contributions in the field of modern business enterprise, the theory of firms and competition policy. Professor Singh’s areas of expertise intersected with a range of UNRISD research programmes and priorities over the years, such as economic restructuring and social policy, and corporate social responsibility. We will miss his penetrating mind, his good humour and his courage.

UNRISD Talks Social Policy with African Development Planners and Civil Servants

For the second year in a row, Research Coordinator Ilcheong Yi represented UNRISD at the multi-week course "Social Policy for Development Planners", hosted by the United Nations African Institute for Economic Development and Planning in Dakar, Senegal. The course brought together mid- and senior-level civil servants from government ministries across Africa to build their capacity to recognize and utilize the role of social policy in delivering transformative development outcomes. The course’s focus on exploring the interconnections between economic, environment and social policy is meant to assist planners to address these challenges, and builds directly on UNRISD research findings, particularly from the Social Policy in a Development Context project, which emphasize the close synergies between economic and social policies.

Bringing Southern Voices into the International Domain: UNRISD Researchers Share Expertise on Women’s Claims Making

The team of the UNRISD project When and Why Do States Respond to Women’s Claims? attended two events over the summer, bringing the researchers from the country teams to international fora to present and discuss their findings. The first of these events was the International Gender Conference: Gender Relations and Rising Inequalities organized by the University of East Anglia, where the teams participated in a panel on Feminist Mobilization and Policy Change. The panel explored the processes and negotiations through which some claims make it into the policy arena, but others are neglected.

The research teams also took part in a special session on Domestic Workers: Claiming Labour Rights at the Fourth Conference of the Regulating for Decent Work Network hosted by the ILO. They focused on how women’s movements and other non-state actors mobilize to achieve the recognition and regulation of domestic work and their strategies to influence policy change.

Read the summaries of the presentations.

UNRISD Visiting Fellow Gives a Webinar at the World Bank

UNRISD Visiting Fellow Prashant Sharma gave a webinar on Freedom of Information Acts and Disclosure in Public-Private Partnerships as part of the World Bank's Open Learning Campus. Governments have been (and continue to be) the primary focus of most transparency demands and regimes, including disclosure specific to PPPs. A key factor underlying and supporting better transparency and accountability practices in jurisdictions appears to be the wider government policy on transparency and whether these policies are in turn supported by legislation. The webinar discussed ways to ensure transparency and accountability in PPPs, including the potential of FoI laws in improving disclosure policies.

Watch the video.


Launch of Social Protection and Human Rights Platform

16 September, Room VIII, Palais des Nations, and 17 September, ILO, Geneva We launched the platform on Social Protection and Human Rights with two events. On 16 September, UNRISD, ILO and OHCHR--on behalf of the partners of the platform--co-organized an official side event of the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council. This panel discussion on Overcoming Exclusion and Promoting Rights: Challenges and Opportunities in Social Protection examined challenges and opportunities in overcoming discrimination and implementing rights-based social protection systems.

On 17 September, UNRISD and the ILO--on behalf of the partners of the platform--convened a full-day workshop on Finding Ways Forward: Challenges and Opportunities in Creating Rights-Based Social Protection Systems. This event, combining expert panels and roundtable discussions, brought together representatives from international organizations, governments and civil society organizations to discuss challenges, good practices and ways forward in implementing universal rights-based social protection.

Audio-visual materials from both events will be available soon.

Addressing Multiple Forms of Migrant Precarity – Beyond "Management" of Migration to an Integrated Rights-Based Approach

24 September, 9:30-17:00, Palais des Nations, Room XV At this workshop, hosted jointly by UNRISD and Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), researchers from an international consortium presented their findings from a recently concluded study of migrant precarity, looking in particular at the linkages between migration and social protection from a rights perspective.

Save the Date! UNRISD Seminar on Women's Claims-Making

21 October, 12:30-14:00, Palais des Nations, Room XXII The UNRISD Seminar Series will resume in October with a seminar on Claiming their Rights: How Women's Movements Mobilize For Policy Change. Nitya Rao, External Coordinator of the UNRISD project When and Why Do States Respond to Women’s Claims? and Gender and Development Professor, University of East Anglia, will be presenting the findings from the project. She will look at the conditions and the factors through which women’s movements can participate in the processes of negotiation that lie behind policy change. She will also explore the strategies used by women advocates to influence legal reform on key issues such as violence against women, domestic workers’ labour rights, unpaid care work and land rights.


Beyond 2015 Brief

The Sustainable Development Agenda: From Inspiration to Action
The agenda is indeed to be welcomed. It responds to the exploding social, economic, political and ecological inequities and the destructive forces of climate change that we face today. It acknowledges the urgent need to invest far more holistically, strategically and comprehensively in the social sector to overcome immense poverty, hunger and social exclusion challenges. It could usher in eco-social policies—bringing together socioeconomic and environmental policies—to deliver genuinely transformative results in terms of human well-being and rights-based, inclusive development. What needs to happen now to enable this agenda to deliver on its "transformative" promise? Which policies would lead to social, economic and ecological justice?

Event Brief

Social and Solidarity Finance: Tensions, Opportunities and Transformative Potential
Simon Gewölb, Marie-Adélaïde Matheï, Joannah Caborn Wengler This UNRISD workshop aimed to start conceptualizing social and solidarity finance (SSF), and to evaluate its transformative potential as a pathway to sustainable development. Participants included experts in the fields of alternative and microfinance, anthropology of money, social and solidarity economy (SSE), and gender. They presented a rich body of evidence on the diverse forms of SSF, its role as a financing tool for SSE and local economic development, and the tensions that arise in trying to scale up operations. The workshop was held on 11-12 May 2015, in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the International Labour Organization.

Papers: Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization

Political Economy of Citizenship Regimes: Tax in India and Brazil
Aaron Schneider This paper evaluates changes to state capacity in Brazil and India by looking at the political economy of citizenship regimes and tax. Patterns of change in citizenship regimes help explain differences in tax structure. Changes to citizenship regimes include the mobilization of new collective identities, the substantive demands they articulate, and the stable linkages that connect them to public life. This paper sheds light on the role of cross-class coalitions in supporting state capacity in the form of increased revenues.

A research note on this topic is also available.

Politics and Organizational Capacities of Selected Key Fiscal and Social Institutions in Uganda
Mesharch W. Katusiimeh and Jalia Kangave This paper examines the linkages between resource mobilization and social outcomes by looking at institutions that play a key role with respect to resource mobilization and social spending in Uganda. It looks at three institutions—the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Ministry of Health (MoH)—which were selected because they are key organizations in either revenue collection or social service delivery or both, and all three were targets of reforms with varying degrees of success.

Minería y Movilización de Recursos para el Desarrollo Social: El Caso de Nicaragua
Hilda María Gutiérrez Elizondo Este estudio quiere contribuir al debate global sobre los contextos políticos e institucionales que permiten a los países empobrecidos movilizar recursos domésticos para su propio desarrollo social. Más específicamente, este trabajo apunta a aportar conocimientos y análisis de políticas públicas para una mejor comprensión de las políticas de movilización de recursos domésticos desde la industria minera y las negociaciones sobre recursos en los países en vías de desarrollo.

The English version is also available.

Paper: When and Why Do States Respond to Women's Claims?

Women Workers and the Politics of Claims-Making in a Globalizing Economy
Naila Kabeer The paper analyses the evolving politics of claims-making by women workers in the Global South in the context of a globalized economy. It addresses questions such as: what kinds of claims are prioritized in relation to women workers? Who is making these claims and to whom are they addressed? What strategies are pursued to advance these claims? Which claims are heard and acted on—and which go unheard? The paper considers three categories of women workers: those working in global value chains, those working for domestic markets and those working as cross-border migrants.

Paper: Social and Solidarity Economy

Re-imagining Money to Broaden the Future of Development Finance: What Kenyan Community Currencies Reveal is Possible for Financing Development
Jem Bendell, Matthew Slater and William Ruddick This paper argues that it is important to understand the nature of money and its impacts to be able to engage better with currency innovations for sustainable development. The paper focuses on the case of Bangla-Pesa, an alternative currency used in poor urban areas in Kenya, to demonstrate how currency innovation can work for poor people.


Developmental Pathways to Poverty Reduction
Yusuf Bangura (ed.) Despite a commitment made by governments in the MDGs to reduce poverty and hunger by half by 2015, there are concerns that many countries will be unable to make meaningful dents in their levels of poverty. One of the main concerns is whether countries are following the right development path. This book is about pathways to poverty reduction that emphasize employment-centred structural change, social policies that both protect citizens and contribute to economic development, and types of politics that support growth and redistribution. It draws on the experiences of countries that transformed their economies and reduced poverty in very short periods.

Articles by UNRISD Staff

--UNRISD Research Coordinator Ilcheong Yi, "Diversity in moving towards integrated, coordinated and equitable social protection systems: Experiences of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan Province of China". Published as Appendix C: Supporting Report 2 in Gong Sen, Ge Yanfeng and Wang Xiongjun, An Analysis for An Equitable and Sustainable Welfare System, Department of Social Development Research, Development Research Center of the State Council (China) and UNDP.
--Former UNRISD Director Sarah Cook, with Huck-ju Kwon and Yusun Kim, Shaping the national social protection strategy in Cambodia: Global influence and national ownership. Global Social Policy, 15(2):125-145, August.
--UNRISD Associate Expert Dunja Krause, with M. Schwab and J.Birkmann, An actor-oriented and context-specific framework for evaluating climate change adaptation. In D. Bours, C. McGinn, and P. Pringle (eds.), Monitoring and evaluation of climate change adaptation: A review of the landscape--New Directions for Evaluation,147:37–48.
--Former UNRISD intern Jerik Cruz, Taxes, public services, and the Addis Ababa conference. Business World Online, 7 September 2015.
---UNRISD Visiting Fellow Sophia Murphy, Food security and international trade: Risk, trust and rules. Canadian Food Studies / La Revue canadienne des études sur l'alimentation: Special Issue: Mapping the Global Food Landscape, 2(2):88-96.
--The complications of commodity trading. International Innovation: At What Cost?, 189:13-15.

Development, Democracy and Cohesion

Yusuf Bangura We are pleased to announce the publication of a new book by former UNRISD Research Coordinator, Yusuf Bangura, Development, Democracy and Cohesion. The book—part of a series called Critical Essays with Insights on Sierra Leone and Wider African Contexts and published by Sierra Leonean Writers Series—is a collection of 43 essays, written while he was at UNRISD. The essays help to shed light on the challenges of building developmental, democratic and cohesive states and societies.


The Road to Addis and Beyond

This Think Piece Series was launched to coincide with the third and final drafting session of the outcome document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development. In this series, global experts discuss a range of topics complementary to the UNRISD research project Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development, raising provocative or alternative perspectives and generating further ideas and debates.

--Destination: Socially Sustainable Development. Will Addis Lead the Way?—Katja Hujo
--Revenue Mobilization for Gender Equity—Caren Grown and Sudarshan Gooptu
--Why the Addis Debt Chapter Falls Short—Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky
--Beyond Addis: How Can We Finance the SDGs?—Matthew Martin
--Fair Compensation and Other Prerequisites to Mining for Development—Cielo Magno
--Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference: A Missed Opportunity to Discuss the Role of International Public Finance Post-2015—Gail Hurley
--Financing Development: Tangible Tools to Give Meaning to Fine Words—Eddie Rich
--An Orphaned Tax Agenda? Sacrificing Good Governance and Tax Justice in the Addis Ababa Outcome—Manuel Montes
--Investing in the SDGs: Whose Business?—Aldo Caliari
--Promoting Tax Bargains in Uganda and Beyond: The Importance of Civil Society and Parliamentarians—Jalia Kangave
--Revenue Bargains Key to Financing Africa’s Development—Yusuf Bangura
--International Corporate Tax Reform is Critical to Financing Sustainable Development—Erika Dayle Siu
--Fair Pensions in an Ageing World—Manfred Nitsch
--A Global Fund for Social Protection Floors: Eight Good Reasons Why It Can Easily Be Done—Michael Cichon

As part of this series, UNRISD has also published a series of Research Notes, which summarize highlights and key findings from the UNRISD project.

--Political Economy of Citizenship Regimes: Tax in India and Brazil—Aaron Schneider
--Obstacles to Increasing Tax Revenues in Low Income Countries—Mick Moore
--State-Business Relations and the Financing of the Welfare State in Argentina and Chile: Challenges and Prospects —Jamee Moudud, Esteban Pérez Caldentey and Enrique Delamonica
--Aiding Social Transfers in Low-Income Countries: Is There a Catalytic Effect?—Cécile Cherrier
--Extractive Industries, Revenue Allocation and Local Politics—Francisco Javier Arellano-Yanguas and Andrés Mejia Acosta
--Fiscal Capacity and Aid Allocation: Domestic Resource Mobilization and Foreign Aid in Low-Income Countries—Aniket Bhushan and Yiagadeesen Samy

Talking about Women's Rights: 20 Years after the Beijing Platform for Action

In this Think Piece Series, leading feminist thinkers discuss achievements in the field of women’s rights and gender equality; identify the challenges faced in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action; and consider ways of moving forward. They offer both critical insights and highlight opportunities for realizing women’s rights after 2015.

--The CEDAW Committee 20 Years after Beijing: Progress in the Defence of Women’s Rights and Pending Challenges—Gladys Acosta Vargas
--The New Cold War on Women’s Rights?—Anne Marie Goetz


New Directions in Social Policy: UNRISD Methodology Workshop Video

In order to understand the nature of changes in social policy in developing countries in the midst of widespread economic crisis and uncertainty, UNRISD is undertaking a three-year research project, New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South. This video explains the importance of this research with footage taken from a methodology workshop held in Geneva earlier this year.

Watch the video.

Putting Inequality Back on the Agenda: Sarah Cook on her Time at UNRISD

Sarah Cook reflects on almost six remarkable and challenging years as Director of UNRISD. She talks about how the flagship report on Combating Poverty and Inequality helped put inequality back on the agenda and the Institute's contributions to Rio+20 and the post-2015 agenda.

Watch the video.

Substantive Equality for Women: Connecting Human Rights and Public Policy

This workshop brought together key individuals from human rights bodies, UN agencies, civil society and academia to explore ways of implementing and operationalizing the policy recommendations of the UN Women flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights. The report focuses on economic and social rights, distilling and confronting the most glaring gaps between formal and substantive equality—between the laws and policies that guarantee equal rights for women and girls, and the reality on the ground. The workshop was organized by UN Women, UNRISD and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Watch the videos.
Listen to the podcasts.

Banner photo: David Clow (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr.


United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
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