Latest UNRISD Engagement with UN Post-2015 Development Agenda; New Occasional Paper Series on SSE; Gender Programme Set to Expand: Issue 18 April 2014
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.


Panel Discussion on Social Drivers of Sustainable Development
At the 52nd session of the Commission for Social Development, UNRISD Director Sarah Cook moderated an interactive discussion among panellists and member state representatives on the social drivers of sustainable development. It sought to identify the catalysts that drive change (and deliver better outcomes) across all three dimensions of sustainable development—economic, social and environmental—as well as the kinds of policies that have an impact on those social drivers.

Watch the webcast of the panel.

UNRISD provided significant input to the Note by the Secretariat accompanying the session. We also published a Beyond 2015 Brief on Social Drivers of Sustainable Development.

ECOSOC 2014 Annual Ministerial Review
As part of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)'s 2014 Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) process, UNRISD co-moderated an e-discussion on Sustaining development gains through inclusive development. Contributions made by e-discussants are being channelled into various parts of the AMR, thus providing ECOSOC with constructive inputs and policy recommendations relating to the MDGs and beyond.

Geneva Dialogues on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda
These high-level dialogues between UN agencies and member state representatives are a way to channel specialist knowledge and expertise from International Geneva into the UN's post-2015 processes. UNRISD is taking part in the Second Geneva Dialogue, titled The Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda: The Road from Bali, on 4 April 2014. UNRISD Director Sarah Cook's intervention will focus on the gender dimensions of labour markets.

More about UNRISD’s work on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.


Policy Briefs

UNRISD policy briefs aim to improve the quality of development dialogue by presenting research-based insights and analysis in a concise format for policy makers, scholars, activists, journalists and others. Research and Policy Briefs, and Beyond 2015 Briefs, situate the Institute’s research within wider social development debates, synthesize its findings and draw out issues for consideration in policy dialogues and decision-making processes.

Social and Solidarity Economy: A New Path to Sustainable Development (Beyond 2015 Brief No. 5)
Joannah Caborn Wengler and Peter Utting Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) is an approach to development that addresses the structural causes of poverty and unsustainable development associated with market-centred growth strategies and skewed power relations. It encompasses a broad and diverse range of organizations and enterprises that have explicit social and often environmental objectives. This brief highlights ways in which SSE approaches can enrich debates on a new development paradigm beyond 2015.

Social Drivers of Sustainable Development (Beyond 2015 Brief No. 4)
Esuna Dugarova, Peter Utting and Sarah Cook Persistent poverty, growing inequalities, shrinking environmental limits and market volatility threaten the social and economic gains made since the turn of the millennium. This brief outlines why a new development agenda will need to look behind the symptoms to tackle the structural causes or drivers of poverty, inequality, social injustice and environmental degradation in order to create conditions for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable future.

Elites, Ideas and the Challenge of the Double Incorporation: The Case of Costa Rica (Research and Policy Brief No.18)
Juliana Martinez Franzoni and Diego Sánchez-Ancochea Costa Rica is one of few countries to achieve the "double incorporation" of securing well-paid formal jobs and providing universal public social services. Based on research under the UNRISD project Poverty Reduction and Policy Regimes, this brief describes the Costa Rican success.The state played a fundamental role: promoting policies that supported small and medium firms and cooperatives, expanding lending, creating public employment and increasing social spending. These policies were influenced by international ideas adapted to the local context, and driven by an emerging elite of small entrepreneurs and urban professionals who relied on their access to state power to increase their economic opportunities and secure social and political stability. 


Occasional Paper Series: Social and Solidarity Economy

Selected papers from the UNRISD international conference Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy have been peer reviewed and are now being published in this series of Occasional Papers.

Understanding Social and Solidarity Economy in Emergent Communities: Lessons from Post–Fast Track Land Reform Farms in Mazowe, Zimbabwe - Manase Kudzai Chiweshe

Social and Solidarity Economy: Between Emancipation and Reproduction - Joana S. Marques

Toward an Epistemological Foundation for Social and Solidarity Economy - Anup Dash

Estrategias de Supervivencia y Elaboración de Políticas Públicas: El Papel de la Economía Social y Solidaria en Latinoamérica y la Contribución de Brasil hacia la Construcción de Políticas Emancipadoras - Leandro Pereira Morais

Monnaie Complémentaire versus Microcrédit Solidaire et Tontines: Contribution Comparée à un Développement Solidaire Local - Jean-Michel Servet

The Political Economy of Pension Re-Reform in Chile and Argentina: Toward More Inclusive Protection
Katja Hujo and Mariana Rulli This paper analyses recent pension reforms in the two countries against the historical context of neoliberal pension reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. It argues that reforms implemented in 2008, the re-nationalization of the private pension funds in Argentina and the introduction of a social pension in Chile, have moved both countries toward greater social inclusion in old-age protection. The paper is related to UNRISD's Financing Social Policy project.

The History of Resource Mobilization and Social Spending in Uganda
 Marianne S. Ulriksen and Mesharch W. Katusiimeh This paper, from the UNRISD project Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization, is the first of a series that explores the political and institutional contexts of resource mobilization and social spending for social development in Uganda. The paper describes the historical context of, and trends in, resource mobilization (domestic and external revenue) and social spending in post-independence Uganda.

Extractive Industries, Revenue Allocation and Local Politics
Francisco Javier Arellano-Yanguas and Andrés Mejia Acosta The success of a developmental strategy based on the extraction of non-renewable resources is largely dependent on the share of revenues captured by the state from the extractive sector and the modalities adopted to use and distribute those revenues. In the last two decades, local populations and subnational governments have demanded greater decentralization of extractive industry-related revenues. This paper, from the UNRISD project Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization, looks at the political bargains behind the allocation and use of extractive industry revenues in different contexts.

Environment, Health and Migration: Towards a More Integrated Analysis
Jennifer Holdaway This paper, from the UNRISD/CMHP project Migration and Health in China, discusses the ways in which environmental factors can affect health, reviews the main trends in research on this topic in the China context, and discusses some of its limitations and challenges.The paper argues for grounding research on environment, migration and health in analysis of the spatial distribution of economic activities and population which shape locally specific constellations of environment and health problems. This broad perspective is argued to be necessary at a time when industrial restructuring, agricultural intensification and urbanization are redefining China’s physical and social landscapes. 

Coming Home: The Return of Migrant Workers with Illness or Work-Related Injuries in China’s Hubei and Sichuan Provinces
 Chuanbo Chen, Shijung Ding, Sarah Cook and Myra Pong It is widely recognized that rural-urban migration has complex health effects. Using a large dataset collected in four counties in rural China, this paper, from the UNRISD/CMHP project Migration and Health in China, focuses on return migrants with serious illness/injuries to investigate the socioeconomic impact of return migration on rural households. Why did they return home? How did they seek or access medical services? Who was responsible for earning the household income and providing daily care? Did these migrants receive assistance from formal social security schemes? And what were the impacts on their household livelihoods? 

Conflicting Priorities in the Promotion of Gender Equality in Ethiopia: Uneven Implementation of Land Registration and the Impact on Women’s Land Rights
Tom Lavers Although political expediency and confrontation with patriarchal elements in society has at times challenged its commitment to women, the Ethopian ruling party has, nevertheless, introduced a number of reforms which aim to promote gender equality. These include recognition of equality between men and women in land rights, and a land registration programme that requires the names of both husband and wife on certificates. This paper, which was first presented at the joint UNRISD/Graduate Institute workshop on Gender and Agriculture after Neoliberalism, examines the gendered impacts of these reforms, highlighting the contingent nature of gender outcomes based on local state-society relations, and the government’s political and economic priorities, which result in considerable variation within Ethiopia.


New Directions in Social Policy: Towards a Post-2015 Agenda - A Panel Discussion

9 Apr 2014, 12:30-14:00, Library Events Room (B-135), Palais des Nations, Geneva What are the changing contexts for social policy in emerging and low-income economies? What policies are being pursued and why? Are we seeing the emergence of new welfare systems that will be more resilient to the challenges of the 21st century? And what will this mean for a post-2015 development agenda? These question will be raised in a Panel Discusssion with Jimi Adesina, Michael Cichon, Rana Jawad and Andras Uthoff moderated by Sarah Cook.

Register to attend this joint UNRISD Seminar / UNOG Library Talk

New Directions in Social Policy: Project Inception Workshop

7 - 8 Apr 2014, Palais des Nations, Geneva Notwithstanding persistent economic uncertainty and social crisis in many parts of the world, remarkable changes are taking place, particularly in some emerging and developing economies, in the nature and scope of social and economic policies and programmes designed to achieve better social outcomes. This workshop brings together invited experts for discussions that will lay the thematic, theoretical and methodological foundations for UNRISD's new research project, New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South


Pension Reform in China: Five Pillars of Transformation?
China’s pension system is facing many challenges. As income disparity increases and the population ages, how can the system be reformed to enhance its equity, efficiency, and financial sustainability? In this seminar, Professor Xuejin Zuo proposed a five-pillar pension system that would greatly enhance the equity, efficiency, and sustainability of pensions in China. It would ensure adequate retirement incomes for the elderly, and contribute to increases in domestic consumption, stable growth, and the construction of a harmonious society.

Listen to the podcast.
Watch the video.

Good Jobs and Social Services: How Costa Rica Achieved the Elusive Double Incorporation
In this seminar, Diego Sánchez-Ancochea discussed his recent book, co-authored with Juliana Martínez Franzoni, on Costa Rica’s historical success and recent challenges in securing the elusive double incorporation. Costa Rica's achievements offer valuable lessons for other countries, few of which have succeeded in simultaneously providing good jobs and access to social services for all.

Listen to the podcast.
Watch the video.

SSE: Changing Economic Relations for Equality and Sustainable Development in the Post-2015 Agenda
This Side Event was held on 4 February 2014 during the 8th session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. It was co-organized by The Mont-Blanc Meetings (MBM) - International Forum of Social and Solidarity Economy Entrepreneurs, in collaboration with the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) and UNRISD on behalf of the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy, with the support of France, Ecuador and Morocco. The event highlighted progress being made in the understanding and practical application of the SSE concept across civil society as well as national and international policy communities.

Read the summary.


Valeria Esquivel to Join UNRISD as Gender Research Coordinator

UNRISD is pleased to announce the appointment of Valeria Esquivel to lead the Institute’s research programme in the area of Gender and Development. In her new role, she will be responsible for conceptualizing, developing and managing research on gender-related issues of concern for the UN system and other stakeholders within the framework of the UNRISD Research Agenda. She will take up her post in August 2014.

New Gender Expert Position Supported by the Government of Switzerland
In collaboration with the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs/Directorate of Political Affairs, UNRISD recently began the process of recruiting a Gender Expert to join its growing team of gender researchers committed to producing high-quality research that contributes to the realization of human rights, equity and social justice. The position should be filled by the summer.

UNRISD in Successful Bid for R4D Project on Feminization, Agricultural Transition and Rural Employment

This project, led by the University of Bern, investigates the developmental and gendered implications of the rise of non-traditional agricultural exports (NTAE) in developing countries. The research partnership also includes universities in the four case study countries: Bolivia, Laos PDR, Nepal and Rwanda. Funding for the project, which starts in June 2014, comes from the Swiss National Science Foundation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. 

"Equality for Women is Progress for All": Spotlight on UNRISD Gender Research on International Women’s Day

"Equality for women is progress for all", the 2014 theme for International Women’s Day, is a vision at the core of UNRISD’s social development research. The theme integrates gender equality into overall development aims and points to its role in achieving progress in all three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. The demand for UNRISD expertise and research findings on gender remains high from the development community and the UN system, with participation requested in various processes and working groups framing the post-2015 agenda. 

Impressive Response to Call for Young Scholars’ Think Pieces

UNRISD has over 70 entries to select from for the first edition of its Young Scholars Think Piece Series. Issues addressed in the submissions range from corruption to gender to human rights, all related to extractive industries and development. Nearly three-quarters of the young scholars who responded to the call are from the global South, showing again how UNRISD works in innovative ways towards its mission to include new and emerging voices in the development conversation. Researchers at UNRISD will now review the entries and select up to five for publication on the UNRISD website in the coming months.

Jimi Adesina Champions UNRISD and Unisa

In a recent article, UNRISD's newly appointed Board Member, Professor Jimi Adesina, talks about how his role with UNRISD relates to his work and research on transformative social policy at the University of South Africa. "The focus of our work...fits quite well with the work of UNRISD. Indeed, the idea of 'transformative social policy' that underpins our approach to social policy emerged from the earlier work done within the Social Policy in Development Context research programme at UNRISD. ... Our insistence that the Africa experience offers unique insights into social policy was something that working within the UNRISD programme afforded us the space to test and demonstrate."

Reaching Out to Future Development Leaders: UNRISD Draws a Crowd at The Graduate Institute

Over 150 graduates approached the UNRISD stand at Connexion, The Graduate Institute’s annual careers forum, held in Geneva on 19-21 March 2014. The forum provided an opportunity for over 70 potential future employers to present themselves to several hundred talented young people who are just completing Master's degrees or PhDs. The UNRISD stand attracted a wide range of students who were impressed with the breadth of our research. Many were eager to engage with us, either through our newsletters, social media, publications, or by attending UNRISD seminars and applying for internships.


Linking Social Protection and Human Rights

Advocates, practitioners, policy makers and academics share practical guidance and thought-provoking commentary on their experiences with a human rights approach to social protection. These posts are part of a new UNRISD resource platform Linking Social Protection and Human Rights.

Conditional Cash Transfers and the Human Right to Social Security - Ian Orton

Good Practices for Effective Participation in Social Protection Design and Implementation - Robert Chambers

Adopting Comprehensive, Coherent and Coordinated Policies in Social Protection: A View from the Americas - Alexandra Barrantes

Incorporating a Rights-Based Perspective into the Administrative Activities of Government Programmes - James Midgley

A Human Rights-Based Approach to Social Protection and the Gender Perspective - Dan Seymour

Do Targeting Techniques Tend to be Incompatible with the Human Rights Standards of Transparency and Access to Information? - Nicholas Freeland

Finding Synergies between Political Support, Legal Frameworks and Funding for Sustainable Social Protection Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean - Simone Cecchini

Social Economy Policies in Argentina: Potential and Limits for the Development of Associative and Cooperative Work

Malena Victoria Hopp In this think piece, Malena Victoria Hopp suggests that limits to the development of the social economy sector in Argentina are the result of its secondary role in the government's socioeconomic strategy. This relates to the institutional framework for programmes promoting associative and cooperative work, which are mainly implemented by the Social Development Ministry—historically, the provider of social assistance to vulnerable populations. This characteristic means that SSE tends to be perceived as a space for the social and economic inclusion of marginalized people. How, and if, SSE can be consolidated and mainstreamed is still an open question.

Happy Country, Happy Government: How Useful are International Happiness Rankings?

Nadine van Dijk, Lizzie Spencer and Viviana Ramirez Studying the progress of nations from a well-being perspective is becoming more and more popular. A well-being perspective offers potential advantages, including insights into what matters to people directly, and a comprehensive and relatively non-judgmental view on development. However, the contribution of a well-being lens remains limited by issues of well-being data availability, a focus on happiness, and hierarchical presentations through international happiness rankings. The authors argue for a more critical perspective on data collection and presentation. 

Justice for Future Generations – Inequalities, IHRL and the Post-2015 Agenda
Karen Moir A Visiting Research Fellow at UNRISD, Karen Moir has recently written this guest article for Future Justice. In it, she argues that politicians under enormous social pressure and development practitioners faced with irreconcilable realities have begun to discuss responsibilities towards future generations in the context of the Post-2015 Agenda. International human rights law however, has resisted the trend. Karen Moir's research is concerned with understanding the impact that the lack of explicit international legal protection for the human rights of future generations has both on the pursuit of justice, and the processes that it informs; as well as ways forward within existing systems. The Future Justice Commission is part of the World Future Council.


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