UNRISD Flagship Report 2016: Take Part in our Pre-Publication Consultation! Report Previewed at HLPF in New York; New Publications: Issue 29 July 2016
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.


Innovation is a byword at UNRISD, both in what we work on and how we go about doing that work. Our latest innovative practice is a global consultation on our 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovation for Transformative Change. Before we publish the final version of the Report in the autumn, we would like to hear from you: In what ways is the report useful to your work? Is something missing? Do you think we are presenting an accurate picture of the topic?

We think of ourselves as a learning organization that aims to be inclusive of diverse perspectives and responsive to our constituents, so we are holding this consultation to make sure our work reflects the needs of our research users—civil society, NGOs, academia and national governments, especially those in the Global South, as well as our United Nations partners and the donor community. Your feedback will help make the Flagship Report all the more relevant and robust. So please visit our consultation page and leave us your thoughts!

As the report is intended as a tool for policy makers worldwide now tasked with implementing the SDGs, we took a preview to New York in mid-July and presented it in our official side event at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the United Nations’ central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. A large audience of national policy makers and civil society representatives, as well as UN development officials, showed a keen interest in our work on transformative change to meet the SDGs. Do take a look at the chapters in the consultation to see what whet their appetite.

This eBulletin of course contains the usual round-up of our activities over the last couple of months, and we hope you enjoy browsing through those. You will notice that we haven’t slowed the pace of work despite challenging times: as our loyal readers know, in May we launched an appeal for support without which the Institute faced imminent closure. As a result, funding was brought to a level that would allow us to operate in the short term. UNRISD Director Paul Ladd continues to work actively with partners and with senior leadership throughout the United Nations to secure the Institute's longer-term financial future. We remain optimistic that ongoing efforts will succeed; we will keep you posted in the next eBulletin in September.


Global Online Consultation for the UNRISD Flagship Report 2016!

Ahead of the publication of our 2016 Flagship Report, Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, we are inviting feedback from actual and potential users of UNRISD research—civil society, NGOs, academia and national governments, especially those in the Global South, as well as our United Nations partners and the donor community. We hope to obtain analytical and substantive feedback in response to an individual chapter, to multiple chapters, and/or to the whole report.

The 2016 Flagship Report is part of UNRISD’s contribution to implementing the new, universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Knowledge institutions such as UNRISD have a key role to play: we bring to the table the kind of integrated and evidence-based policy advice and thought leadership that help shape the progressive policy and normative agendas at the heart of our shared commitment to equitable, inclusive and sustainable development for all people. Research evidence and analysis can also incite states to take bolder decisions of the kind that will be necessary to achieve the transformative outcomes of the SDGs.

Click here to comment on the report.

Bringing UNRISD Research to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

UNRISD previewed the upcoming flagship report, Policy Innovations for Transformative Change at a side event at the 2016 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York on 18 July. "If people say they don’t know how to make transformative change, show them the Preview of UNRISD’s 2016 Flagship Report." These words from Nicole Ruder of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation summed up the impact of the side event.

UNRISD was also present at two other side events. Director Paul Ladd moderated the "Social and Solidarity Economy as a Strategic Means to the Implementation of the SDGs", organized by the governments of France and Costa Rica, in collaboration with the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy. Research Coordinator Ilcheong Yi attended the presentation of the Korean National Voluntary Review, which UNRISD contributed to by undertaking interviews with key stakeholders, collecting statistical data, producing a background paper and providing editorial support.

UNRISD Research Coordinator Valeria Esquivel at IAFFE Annual Conference

UNRISD Research Coordinator Valeria Esquivel presented an UNRISD/Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) study on Innovations in Care: New Concepts, New Actors, New Policies at the 25th Annual Conference of the International Association for Feminist Economists (IAFFE), Transitions and Transformations in Gender Equality . The session was opened by by Cäcilie Schildberg from FES. Expert comments were provided by Alicia Girón and Gita Sen. The study analysed the linkages between these issues in three regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.

UNRISD and Collaborators Present Research in Beijing on New Directions in Social Policy

UNRISD hosted a High-Level Forum of Chinese and European Thing Tanks on Social Governance and Anti-Corruption for Sustainable Development, focusing on comparisons between Russia and China, in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. UNRISD Research Coordinator Ilcheong Yi delivered the opening remarks at the forum, which was held in Beijing on 27­–29 June. A special session was devoted to the UNRISD project on New Directions in Social Policy in which collaborating researchers presented their work on civil society organizations (CSOs) and their role in social service provision in China, in particular, on models for collaboration between CSOs and local/central governments. Feedback during the session will be incorporated into a series of forthcoming working papers for the project.

Seminars by UNRISD Senior Research Associate Gabriele Koehler

UNRISD Senior Research Associate Gabriele Koehler gave a seminar in Kathmandu on Nepal, the Sustainable Development Goals: The Challenges of Inclusive Social Policy at a policy makers' seminar convened by The Council of Thinkers of the Himal Innovative Development and Research (HIDR Nepal), a thinktank. In her presentation, Gabriele spoke about Nepal's social policy aimed at reducing poverty and fostering social inclusion, and advocated for the phasing-in of a universal social protection floor. At UNICEF Nepal, she spoke on the emerging discussions on eco-social policy, based on her paper Assessing the SDGs from the standpoint of eco-social policy: using the SDGs subversively in the Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy.

Gabriele also gave a seminar on 70 Jahre Entwicklungspolitik und die 3 UNs (70 Years of Development Policy and the 3 UNs), hosted by The World Society Institute at the Sociology Faculty of Bielefeld University. The talk was based on her article on Seven Decades of "Development", and Now What? in the Journal of International Development.

UNRISD Fellow at Expert Group Meeting on Family Policies and the SDGs

UNRISD Research Fellow Esuna Dugarova participated in an Expert Group Meeting on Family Policies and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Participants at the meeting shared research findings and good practices illustrating how family policies can help achieve development goals. The inputs and recommendations provided by the participants will be used for the next report of the Secretary-General that will feed into the development of family policy in the context of Sustainable Development Goals. Esuna presented a paper on "Implementing SDG1: Poverty Eradication through Family Support Policies and Social Protection Measures in Transition Countries".


Walking the Talk: Transformative Pathways for Achieving the SDGs — An UNRISD Side Event at the 2016 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals are a global commitment to "transforming our world" and eradicating poverty in all its forms everywhere. The challenge now is to put this vision into action. How can this be achieved? At this event, panellists provided some answers to this question, based on a preview of UNRISD’s forthcoming flagship report presented by UNRISD Director Paul Ladd.

Building Livelihoods & Promoting Rights? The Graduation Approach to Social Protection

This UNRISD Seminar examined whether graduation, in the context of social protection schemes, is a viable way to help people move out of extreme poverty and develop productive, resilient and sustainable livelihoods, thus supporting states in meeting their obligations to rights holders. The podcasts of the presentations are now available.

Listen to Lauren Whitehead's presentation
Listen to Stephen Kidd's presentation

Fast-Tracking Social Protection to End AIDS: A Panel Discussion

Organized by UNAIDS, UNRISD and the ILO, this discussion was part of a series of events hosted by international organizations, governments and civil society before the High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, held in New York from 8-10 June 2016. UNAIDS's latest publication, Social Protection: Advancing the Response to HIV, raises awareness that responding to HIV requires comprehensive, coherent and coordinated rights-based social protection programmes, coupled with the usual array of responses targeted towards people living with, at risk of and affected by HIV. At this event, researchers, policy makers and practitioners discussed the interventions recommended in the report.

Informality and Income Insecurity: Is Basic Income a Universal Solution?

Is a universal or unconditional basic income (UBI) an effective way for states to meet the social protection commitments outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? The Swiss vote on UBI, held on 5 June, gave UNRISD a timely opportunity to explore these issues with a diverse panel of experts familiar with key experiences from both Northern and Southern countries. The panellists discussed where and under what circumstances a UBI could be an effective way for states to meet their human rights obligations and achieve some of the major aims set out in the Sustainable Development Goals, namely reducing inequality, eradicating poverty and achieving gender equality. They also considered the challenges of creating such schemes, such as the availability of resources, issues of long-term sustainability and their adaptability in developing and developed country contexts.

Watch the videos.
Listen to the podcast.


UNRISD Classics

UNRISD Classics is a set of three volumes—Social Policy and Inclusive Development, Gendered Dimensions of Development and Revisiting Sustainable Development—that bring together 50 selected essays from 50 years of UNRISD research. The contributions both highlight some of the Institute’s most influential and ground-breaking research and, through new introductions, demonstrate its relevance to today’s development debates.

Papers: Gender

The Gender Dimensions of Drought in Fedis Woreda District, Ethiopia
Diletta Carmi This paper presents the key findings of a research project that investigated women’s and men’s vulnerability to drought in Fedis woreda, a district in Eastern Ethiopia. It focuses on the gendered impacts of drought on rural livelihoods in dryland areas. The analysis demonstrates that women are more likely than men to experience harm from drought. The paper therefore calls for stronger and gender-sensitive risk reduction measures that take into consideration women’s needs and their disadvantaged position.

Ending Violence against Women in Asia: International Norm Diffusion and Global Opportunity Structures for Policy Change
Jacqui True This paper explores how the global context of norm diffusion, state ranking, conflict and advocacy networking affects societal and policy change in the region to strengthen women’s rights. It highlights the increased visibility and reporting of VAW as a result of international norm diffusion particularly via the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the pressure exerted by intergovernmental organizations on governments to address VAW. It argues that non-state actors, especially global media and regional advocacy networks, have energized the push to end the culture of impunity for VAW.

Papers: Domestic Resource Mobilization

Regulating "Illegal Work" in China
Mimi Zou The unprecedented growth of the Chinese economy has seen significant changes in its migration patterns and trends. In spite of a growing number of foreign migrants, legal and institutional frameworks to regulate the entry, residence and employment of foreign migrants has developed in a slow and piecemeal fashion, focusing mainly on formalistic procedures related to entry and exit administration. However, there has been little consideration of other policy issues regarding labour market regulation, rights protection, settlement and integration of longer-term migrants in China. This paper examines the ways in which China’s immigration law regime regulates "illegal work" and thereby constructs precarious statuses that shape migrants’ vulnerability to precariousness in their employment relations.

The Political Economy of Enhancing Children's Rights through Mineral Rents: The Case of Mongolia
Pascale Hatcher, Etienne Roy Grégoire and Bonnie Campell This paper reviews the historical progression of Mongolia's mining regime and its contribution to government revenues. It analyses the linkages between mining rent and social expenditure, focusing on children and the extractive sector’s ability and willingness to take account of children’s rights in the small-scale and artisanal mining sector.

Colonial Legacies and Social Welfare Regimes in Africa: An Empirical Exercise
Thandika Mkandawire This paper identifies three types of welfare regimes in Africa, based on the insight that tax and expenditure regimes are closely associated. Using cluster analysis, the author highlights historical legacies in current welfare policies, demonstrating that welfare regimes in Africa have been strongly determined by the ways in which different countries were incorporated into the colonial economy. The author finds that many of the new social welfare reforms are taking place in what he refers to as labour reserve economies, and are generally internally rather than aid-driven. He stresses the importance of thinking of social expenditure in relationship to domestic resource mobilization, and finds that the focus on aid and social expenditure has tended to obscure this important aspect of welfare regimes in Africa.


Substantive Equality for Women: Connecting Human Rights and Public Policy
Paola Cagna This research-advocacy-policy workshop aimed to establish a dialogue between key individuals from human rights’ bodies, UN agencies, civil society and academia about ways of making concrete and implementing the policy recommendations from the UN Women 2015 flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights. Participants focused on how economic and social policy can contribute to advancing women’s economic and social rights within the UN system and beyond. This report summarizes the rich discussions at the workshop, which was jointly organized by UNRISD, UN Women and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

When and Why the State Responds to Women’s Demands: Understanding Gender Equality Policy Change in Indonesia
Sri Wiyanti Eddyono, Estu Rakhmi Fanani, Dini Anitasari Sahbaniah, Yurra Maurice, Haiziah Gazali, Juni Warlif, Sisillia Velayati and Farha Cicik This study analyses gender equality policy change initiated by various women’s movements in the context of Indonesia’s democratization. It focuses on advocacy processes for the approval of laws and policies to address violence against women, the protection of domestic workers and unpaid care work. It explores how the state at various governance levels—national, provincial and district—responds to these policy demands. The report also examines the conflicting interests of religion and customs, and how these factors influence the state’s response to pressure for policy reform.

Read the full report.
Download the individual chapters.

Articles by UNRISD Staff

Cagna, Paola and Nitya Rao. 2016. "Feminist Mobilisation for Policy Change on Violence against Women: Insights from Asia." Gender and Development, 24(2): 277-290.


The Right to Employment and Social Protection in Rural Settings: The Example of the Indian MGNREGA

Ellen Ehmke The right to social security and to an adequate standard of living is centrally codified in numerous international human rights instruments and international social security standards. While there is no lack of legal guidance for the development of right-based approaches to social protection, the challenge lies in the conceptualization and implementation of such schemes. This think piece examines the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), which has attracted attention for its human rights-based approach to providing social protection.


Trailer: Walking the Talk: Transformative Pathways for Achieving the SDGs

Watch the trailer introducing our upcoming Flagship Report, Policy Innovations for Transformative Change! What does UNRISD research tell us about innovative policies that can deliver on the transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?

Watch the video.

Building Livelihoods & Promoting Rights? The Graduation Approach to Social Protection

This UNRISD Seminar examined whether graduation, in the context of social protection schemes, is a viable way to help people move out of extreme poverty and develop productive, resilient and sustainable livelihoods, thus supporting states in meeting their obligations to rights holders. Panellists Stephen Kidd (Development Pathways) and Lauren Whitehead (BRAC USA) discussed whether or not graduation is compatible with a human rights-based approach to social protection; the different contexts in which it is applicable; and how it can be adapted to meet the needs of different groups, such as refugees and other displaced persons.

Listen to Lauren Whitehead's presentation
Listen to Stephen Kidd's presentation

Informality and Income Insecurity: Is Basic Income a Universal Solution?

Is a universal or unconditional basic income (UBI) an effective way for states to meet the social protection commitments outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development? This UNRISD Seminar explored the benefits and disadvantages of a universal income in countries in the Global North and the Global South. Panellists were Paul Ladd, Director, UNRISD; Päivi Kairamo, Finnish Ambassador to the UN; Thomas Vollmer, Head of Section for Old Age, Generations and Society, Federal Social Insurance Office (OFAS), Switzerland; Guy Standing, Co-President, Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN); Patricia Schulz, Member, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; Ralph Kundig, President, BIEN (Switzerland); and Didier Georges, Mission of Haiti to the UN.

Watch the videos.
Listen to the podcast.

"Just Building Toilets is not Enough": The Need for an Integrated Approach to WASH and Human Rights

How do the rights to water and sanitation, gender and social protection fit together? P.B. Anand from the Centre for International Development at the University of Bradford explains how an integrated approach to providing access to WASH is essential for socially sustainable human development.

Watch the video.

Banner photo by Rigmarole (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr)


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