Synergies and Sustainability. Issue 50 February 2020
UNRISD is an autonomous institution within the UN system that carries out interdisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.


As a proverb from the Bondei people of Tanzania has it, “Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” So when UNRISD launched its new office in Bonn, at a standing-room-only event on 6 February 2020, there was a firm focus on the partnerships we hope to foster in Bonn, and beyond. With our new presence in the city on the Rhine, UNRISD is bringing its focus on the social dimensions to the work on sustainable development being done by the UN family in Bonn. By working with partners on joined-up research, learning, training and knowledge dissemination in areas directly relevant to SDG implementation, UNRISD’s new office will complement institutional strengths in the city and create new synergies.

With our dynamic new Head of Office in Bonn, Isabell Kempf (whom you can find out more about in our interview), we look forward to finding the right partners to create that unbreakable bundle. If you are in Bonn (or elsewhere) and can see potential synergies with our work, please do get in touch!

This eBulletin contains many examples of the types of collaboration we can envisage–from research consortia to joint calls for papers to events, publications and capacity development activities. Read on below, and we’ll be back with more in about two months’ time.


“Climate Action Has To Be Fast But Also Fair”. Interview with Isabell Kempf, Head of UNRISD's New Bonn Office

With a new office in Bonn, launched on 6 February 2020, UNRISD aims to create new interagency collaborations and strengthen research uptake linkages to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We sat down after the launch event with Isabell Kempf, the new Head of UNRISD’s Bonn Office, to find out more about what brought her to UNRISD and what perspectives she sees for the office. Click here to read the lightly edited interview or to download and listen to the conversation as a podcast.

New Gender Research: VoiceIt: Strengthening LGBTQI+ Voices in Politics

UNRISD is proud to announce its latest collaborative research endeavour, an integrated research-action project which aims to enhance the inclusion of LGBTQI+ people's voices, rights and concerns in political decision-making processes. Find out more on the main project website at And if you are a resident of Cyprus, Greece or Italy and have reached the legal age of consent, you can take the project survey which aims to identify the perceptions of LGBTQI+ rights, potential obstacles faced by LGBTQI+ individuals with minority ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and the needs for policy reform in those countries.

New Research: Integrated Solutions to Protracted Displacement

This project aims to develop a theory of change that will make a strategic contribution to sustainable and transformative solutions to protracted displacement by directly shaping the work of key UN agencies at the country level through the implementation of an integrated approach. It is part of a joint effort between UNDP and UNHCR to improve coherence and synergies between interventions deployed by development, humanitarian and peace actors in situations of protracted forced displacement. 

Call for Papers: Financial Crises, Poverty and Environmental Sustainability [International Workshop]

UNRISD is pleased to announce that it has co-organized a Call for Papers for an international workshop on Financial Crises, Poverty and Environmental Sustainability in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals, in partnership with the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme and UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals. Bringing together academic experts from social and natural sciences, and national and international policy-making organizations, the June workshop aims both to advance state-of-the-art research in the financial distress-poverty-environmental sustainability nexus, and to produce recommendations for policy action needed in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. Watch this space to find out more about the programme with the selected papers soon.

Web-Panel: The Sustainable Development Goals and Transformational Change

What exactly is the “transformational change” that lies at the heart of the 2030 Agenda? This question will guide a web-panel being held by the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation on which the speakers will include UNRISD's Katja Hujo. She will draw extensively on the Institute's trailblazing 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change as part of what promises to be a rich discussion of how the transformational potential of the SDGs can promote new ways of collaborating, support grassroots change, leverage policy, and promote network building towards a better world.

Date: Friday 28 February 2020
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM (Pacific Standard Time)
Register here


UNRISD Bonn Office Launch

UNRISD recently joined the UN family in Bonn with the official launch event being held at the Old Town Hall of the City of Bonn on 6 February 2020, generously hosted by the Mayor of Bonn and the Liaison Office of the Federal Foreign Office to the UN Campus Bonn. The event was well attended by over 90 people from UN Bonn and beyond, and the UNRISD Head of Office in Bonn has already been approached by several organizations interested in working with us.
With the new presence in Bonn, UNRISD is embarking on a work programme that aims to create new interagency collaborations and further enhance synergies between research and learning activities—simultaneously maximizing the uptake and impact of evidence-based analysis and knowledge production on the social dimensions of sustainable development, and contributing to training and capacity development of the highest possible quality and relevance.

World Social Work Day 2020

The theme of World Social Work Day 2020, Community Engagements for Social and Environmental Justice, is inspired by the spirit and claims of Jai Jagat, a global march for justice and peace. On 18 March UNRISD will celebrate World Social Work Day with local and international social work partners in Geneva. We have a rich programme lined up, including Yvonne Riaño, a geographer specialized in inequalities, and Aruna Roy, co-founder of one of India's leading civil rights organizations; or you can attend one of six workshops on the relevance and impacts of community action around the globe to strengthen social justice and sustainable practices.
Participation is free of charge. Please register here to attend.

Evidence-Based Policies to Respond to Emerging Social Challenges: Side Event at the Commission for Social Development

UNRISD Director Paul Ladd spoke at a side event at the intergovernmental body to which the Institute reports, the Commission for Social Development, at UN Headquarters in New York City on 12 February 2020. Speakers at the event made the case that innovation and more engagement between policy makers and academia are essential components of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Achieving SDG 10: A Global Review of Public Service Inclusion Strategies for Ethnic and Religious Minorities

Ghazala Mir, Saffron Karlsen, Winnie Mitullah, Upendra Bhojani, Benjamin Uzochukwu, Chinyere Okeke, Tolib Mirzoev, Bassey Ebenso, Naila Dracup and Gary Dymski, Doan Thi Thuy Duong, Bui Thi Thu Ha, Steve Ouma, Felicia Onibon, Joyce Ogwezi, Shahab Adris This paper presents the results of a systematic review on strategies for the inclusion of minority ethnic and religious communities, often neglected populations in term of sustainable development activity. It focuses on four public service areas: education, health, local government and police services, and identifies evidence gaps with the overall aim of raising awareness and provoking debate and ultimately action on the inclusion of disadvantaged ethnic and religious minorities in public services.
This paper is part of the Occasional Paper Series Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization.

Creative Coalitions in a Fractured World: An Opportunity for Transformative Change?

Gabriele Köhler Citizens, activists and analysts around the world are alarmed by ever-increasing political, social, economic and climate inequalities and intensifying obstacles vis-à-vis the promises of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.Today's capitalism is splitting traditional working class and middle-class alliances, and immobilizing government decisions in favour of redistribution and social justice: the social contract of democratic welfare statism is under threat. However, one also observes counter-currents of resistance where hitherto siloed activist communities are coalescing in the form of “creative” coalitions. This paper discusses the commonalities, strengths and shortcomings of such "creative" coalitions and asks if they could counter the power of economic interests and retrogressive government policies.
This paper is part of the Occasional Paper Series Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization.

Publication by UNRISD Researcher

Reclaiming the Role of Labour Environmentalism in Just Transitions
UNRISD Research Officer Dunja Krause is a co-author of this journal article.
Dimitris Stevis, Dunja Krause and Edouard Morena. "Reclaiming the Role of Labour Environmentalism in Just Transitions". International Union Rights Vol. 26, No. 4 (2019), pp. 3-4.


Labs Versus Lies? Evidence for Policy Making in Our Post-Truth World

UNRISD Director, Paul Ladd, recently spoke at  two events exploring the pathways and linkages between evidence, experts, research, policy decision making and social change. Read his blog piece which brings together some of the thinking he shared at these events.


Introducing UNRISD

For the inauguration of the new office in Bonn, UNRISD has prepared a 1.5 minute "get-to-know-you" video for our new partners in the UN sustainability hub in the city on the Rhine. Why not take a look, even if you know UNRISD already!

Inequality and The 1%: Is a Transformative Fiscal Policy Possible?

In Case You Missed It: Our parallel event at the High-Level Political Forum in New York City last July featured a panel discussion on how changes in fiscal policy could contribute to reducing inequalities. Find out what our speakers, Paul Ladd (UNRISD), Katja Hujo (UNRISD), Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva (Oxfam Mexico), Shahra Razavi (UN Women), Dora Benedek (IMF) and Fernando Filgueira, CIPPEC (Argentina) and CIESU (Uruguay) had to say about it.
There's plenty more videos on our playlist on the broader topic of Overcoming Inequalities: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization - check it out!


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

If you no longer wish to receive our UNRISD eBulletin, please click here to update your myUNRISD profile

Follow Us
YouTube Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Scribd