Going Far Together: Partnerships, Publications and Politics. Issue 37 November 2017
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.


"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together", according to the old African proverb, and UNRISD has made this one of its mottos. Just in the last 2 months, we have collaborated with partners from all our constituencies to our mutual benefit: There was the Geneva launch of the Civil Society Reflection Group’s Spotlight Report; we are making good use of our UN relations by, for example, supporting the call of the UNHCHR's Special Rapporteur on the right to development for examples of inequality reduction; our collaboration with practitioners and educators continues as we prepare for World Social Work Day 2018; and we reinforced our partnership with academic associates like ESID at Manchester University, and CODESRIA and the University of South Africa via joint workshops and conferences.

We are looking to extend this partnership approach to funding for our research: there are some sources which we cannot approach alone and we are actively seeking associates who are building consortia. Please get in touch with Kelly Stetter if a UN research partner would enrich your funding proposal.

International partnership and cooperation was also at the core of Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at our Special Policy Dialogue held on 8 December, when the leader of the UK Labour Party stressed the importance of the UN in advancing a new consensus based on solidarity, respect for human rights and international regulation and cooperation. “Going far together” could in fact be considered the motto of the UN itself, with its raison d’être of international cooperation to achieve great goals, and UNRISD looks forward to continuing its contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in 2018. In the mean time let us wish you a happy holiday season, full of friendship and fellowship.


Special Policy Dialogue: Towards a Post-Neoliberal World Order: Rebuilding Human Rights-Based Multilateralism

On 8 December, over 500 people made their way to the Palais des Nations, Geneva, to hear Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party, speaking at this UNRISD event with Arancha Gonzalez (Executive Director of ITC) and Nikhil Seth (Executive Director of UNITAR) on the need for a new era of multilateralism based on solidarity and human rights.

UNRISD Flagship Report launched in South Africa

The UNRISD Flagship Report, Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, was launched on the African continent at the Social Policy in Africa Conference, held in the City of Tshwane, South Africa on 20-22 November 2017. UNRISD also launched of its latest edited volume Towards Universal Health Care in Emerging Economies, and shared the international perspective on social policy for development with participants at this fascinating African conference.

“For challenging established premises”: Bina Agarwal Wins Prestigious Prize

Professor Bina Agarwal, scholar and former UNRISD Board Member, was awarded the prestigious Balzan prize for her ground-breaking work on women and agriculture within gender studies. The prize, which is one of the world’s top social science prizes, was presented to her in Bern, Switzerland in November.

UNRISD Reaches out to Colombian Students Searching for Sustainable Development and Lasting Peace

On 29 November, UNRISD introduced a group of about 20 Colombian students to our research and work for impact. The students, from three universities, were in Geneva as part of a study tour of Geneva-based UN bodies and specialized agencies working in areas related to trade and development, and also to help Colombian universities build stronger relations with the United Nations.

Cubes, Kids and Chat: UNRISD at the UN Open Day in Geneva

On 7 October, the United Nations Office at Geneva threw open its doors, welcoming locals and the region’s large expat community into the grounds and buildings to discover the Sustainable Development Goals and see the historical Palais des Nations before extensive renovations begin. Find out what UNRISD did to profile the role of research and the importance of the themes we work on.


Call for Partners: Funding Proposals

Are you developing a proposal for the recently released Horizon 2020 Work Programme from the European Commission? At UNRISD, we are always looking to expand our network and to engage with new social development partners. We are currently looking to join research consortia related to our core work areas (social policy and development, gender and development, and social dimensions of sustainable development), as well as those related to our emerging focus areas in migration and displacement, social impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 21st century cross-class coalitions, and more (see our Ideas Incubator for details). We encourage researchers developing consortia in these areas that could benefit from UNRISD’s position and expertise to contact Kelly Stetter to discuss further.

Call for Submissions: Special Rapporteur Seeks Evidence of Measures to Reduce Inequalities within Countries

Do you know what countries have done since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to reduce inequalities? To support his work on the topic, the UNHCHR's Special Rapporteur on the right to development is looking for examples of policies and/or legislation passed since 2015 that promote social, economic and political inclusion for all. More information here. Responses required by 28 February 2018.

Call for Nominations: New Book Prize on Gender and the Economy

The International Association for Feminist Economics is seeking nominations for its newly created Suraj Mal and Shyama Devi Agarwal Book Prize, to be awarded biennially for a work of original scholarship in the field of feminist economics. Recently published works of original schlolarship will be considered which demonstrate new pathways in theory, methodology, empirical analysis, or policy, on any aspect of gender and the economy.
The prize has been established by scholar and former UNRISD Board member Bina Agarwal, who was also IAFFE’s first President from the Global South, to honour her late parents.


French Translation of UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report Overview and Brief

Vue d'ensemble de Politiques novatrices porteuses de transformation: Mettre en oeuvre le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030
Les dirigeants du monde entier se sont engagés à transformer notre monde et à ne faire aucun laissé pour-compte dans le processus de développement durable. Que doit-il se passer à présent pour que les promesses de transformation faites dans le Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030 soient respectées? Quelles politiques et pratiques aboutiront à une justice sociale, économique et écologique?
This is the French translation of the Overview of the UNRISD 2106 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change.
The Spanish, German and English versions are also available on the UNRISD website.

Politiques de transformation en matière de développement durable: Que faire?

Cette synthèse présente quatre caractéristiques clés en matière de politiques novatrices porteuses de transformation. Elles sont détaillées dans le Rapport 2016 de l’UNRISD, dont le point d’orgue est l’appel pour un changement radical des priorités politiques qui place la justice sociale et écologique en tête des préoccupations dans l’optique de réaliser la transformation telle qu’envisagée dans le Programme de développement durable à l'horizon 2030.
This is the French translation of Research and Policy Brief 23: Transformative Policies for Sustainable Development: What Does It Take?

New Briefs

Beyond the Nation State: How Can Regional Social Policy Contribute to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? (Issue Brief)
Nicola Yeates Effective regional mechanisms are no longer confined to trade, finance and labour policy, but have increasingly been able to initiate regional social policies across a wide range of sectors. Building on this success, can they play an enhanced role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with its focus on cross-border challenges intertwined across the social, environmental and economic spheres? This Issue Brief discusses the potential and opportunities for regional organizations to contribute to the SDGs and identifies priorities for action.

Addressing the Youth Unemployment Paradox: New Directions in Social Policy in the MENA Region (Project Brief)

In the 2000s, many countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region faced a paradox: their populations were young and highly educated, and yet they faced some of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world. The frustrations of these young people were one of the factors contributing to the popular uprisings that broke out across the region in 2011, commonly known as the Arab Spring. This Project Brief sets the scene for an investigation of the root causes of persistent youth unemployment in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia and the steps being taken by national and international actors to address these challenges.

Working Papers

The Controversial Brazilian Welfare Regime
Lena Lavins, Denise Gentil and Barbara Cobo This Working Paper addresses the role played by macroeconomic policies and the social protection system in paving the way towards a new economic regime in Brazil: social developmentalism. In particular, the paper examines whether economic expansion contributed to an innovative, strengthened social protection system.

Moving towards Redistributive and Transformative Social Security? Gendered Social and Economic Outcomes in South Africa

Sophie Plagerson, Tessa Hochfield and Lauren Stuart This paper explores whether South Africa’s social security policies generate consistent, synergistic and long-term positive impacts on poverty and gender, by interrogating the redistributive and transformative outcomes of three different kinds of social security instruments. It finds evidence of innovative thinking and attempts to engage with gender inequality, but results are hampered by implementation inefficiencies and unresponsive institutions.

Publications by UNRISD Senior Research Associates


Save the Date: World Social Work Day 2018 on 20-21 March

Mark your diaries now: UNRISD will be hosting a series of events to mark World Social Work Day again next year on 20-21 March, in conjunction with a number of local and international social work partners. The programme is still under wraps, but it promises to be even bigger and better than last year. Watch this space for more information in January.

Seminar: The Challenge of Leaving No One Behind—Securing Political Commitment for Inclusive Development

Politics and power hold the real key to achieving the SDGs. At this seminar, hosted by the UNOG Library, experts lifted the lid on the Pandora’s box that is the politics of inclusive development. Researchers shared insights from extensive study at UNRISD and ESID, the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre at the University of Manchester, on how politics shapes development and why this matters for achieving the SDGs. The Seminar was followed by a reception at which participants were able to discuss in person with the presenters.
The video and podcast of the Seminar will be available in the new year.

Workshop: Political Drivers of Transformative and Inclusive Development--Examples from Social Policy and Gender-Egalitarian Reforms

How can advocates and policy makers keen to promote transformative change make use of political analysis and work in politically attuned ways to achieve the SDGs?
UNRISD and the Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) Research Centre, based at the University of Manchester’s Global Development Institute (GDI), hosted a one-day workshop which shed light on the political drivers of transformative change and inclusive development within the context of the SDGs. The emphasis throughout was on policy implications of topics such as sustainable production and consumption and climate change, the eradication of poverty and improving gender equality.
See live recordings of the discussions on the UNRISD Facebook page (look for separate recordings for each session of the workshop).

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017 - Reclaiming Policies for the Public: Geneva Launch of the Civil Society Reflection Group Report

At this well-attended event, hosted by UNRISD and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), authors of the new report produced by a global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions argued that the 2030 Agenda's reliance on public-private partnerships (PPPs) is problematic. The called instead for reclaiming public policy space, strengthening public finance and strongly regulating PPPs—all of which, in their assessment, are indispensable prerequisites for achieving the SDGs and making the vision of “transforming our world”, as proclaimed in the title of the 2030 Agenda, a reality.


Three New Think Pieces in the Series "Linking Resilience Thinking and Transformative Change"

Our series looking at real-world examples of policy reforms that aim to join up environmentally sustainable and socially equitable solutions has expanded by three think pieces:

Let Them Eat Entrepreneurship: Women's Empowerment and Gender Inequality

Manuel Montes In many countries, women are heavily discriminated against in the ownership of economic assets and access to finance. To counter this, rich countries are contributing enormous sums to a major new World Bank intitiative promoting women's entrepreneurship in developing countries. This blog, published as part of the UNRISD Flagship Blog Series The Transformation Conversation, asks where discrimination against women really begins and whether financing women’s entrepreneurship is the right entry point to empower women in developing countries.

Rebuilding the Fiscal Contract? 5 Innovative Ways to Tax Informality

Maudo Jallow The large size of the informal economy in the global South is often seen as an obstacle to increasing tax revenue. Yet some studies suggest that informal actors are not averse to taxation if it brings benefits, and prevents harassment by police and inspectors. So why is this putative social contract not working? This think piece explores the potential to rebuild a social contract between informal workers and the state, refilling coffers to finance social development and providing social protection to those who lack formal access to it.

The Human Rights-Based Approach to Social Protection for Migrants: Tensions and Contradictions in Practice

Emma Carmel and Bozena Sojka In principle, everyone has the right to social protection, no matter where they are. In practice, migrants often face difficuty in accessing this right due to tensions in domestic social social protection policy and migrants' ability to contribute to such programmes. In this expert commentary on the Social Protection and Human Rights platform, Emma Carmel and Bozena Sojka from the University of Bath analyse the portability of social protection entitlements for migrants in the European Economic Area,

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Ghana: The Role of Parliament

John Abebrese Boateng In this expert commentary, John Abebrese Boateng from the Parliament of Ghana explains how international, regional and domestic human rights law is applied to creating social protection systems inclusive of sexual and reproductive health and rights. The commentary includes recommendations on how governments can ensure the full realization of the right to sexual and reproductive health, including comprehensive sex education.


Policy Innovations in Response to Gender-Based Violence Are Pushing the International Agenda

To coincide with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), taking place from 25 November to 10 December, UNRISD published an interview with Jane Hodges, UNRISD Senior Research Associate, on policy developments towards ending GBV, including Australia’s Fair Work Commission's recognition that employers should provide unpaid domestic violence leave, as well as a possible new ILO convention on ending workplace violence and harassment.

Facebook Live Q&A: Research for Peace

Geneva Peace Week took place on 6-10 November, providing an opportunity for international organizations and civil society organizations to faciliate conversations on the interdisciplinary nature of peace promotion. UNRISD participated in Geneva Peace Week through Facebook Live. In this Q&A session, Research Analyst Maggie Carter and Communications and Research Consultant Doreen Akiyo Yomoah discuss peace, sustainable development and UNRISD research.

UNRISD Director Paul Ladd's UN Open Day Radio Interview

UN Open Day took place in the Palais des Nations on 7 October 2017. Colleagues from UNRISD and other international organizations raised awareness of the work that takes place at the United Nations Office at Geneva. Among them was UNRISD Director Paul Ladd, who paid a visit to UN Radio, where he spoke about our work, focusing on inequalities, migration and SSE, and universal health care, in a live interview which was broadcast to all the visitors at Open Day and is available online.

Overcoming Refugee and Migrant Precarity: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy? — Podcasts Now Available

At this official Human Rights Council Side Event, participants discussed the role of social and solidarity economy in promoting the human rights of migrant and refugee populations and fostering their social inclusion and sustainable livelihoods while supporting the developmental and human rights-related aspects of the Global Compact for Migration. Click on "Media Files" on the right-hand side of the event page to access the podcasts.


United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
Palais des Nations
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