Some Good News from UNRISD; and Save the Date for Flagship Report Launch: Issue 30 September 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.


It has been a challenging year for UNRISD so far – but now we have some good news.

In May we asked you to help raise awareness about UNRISD’s precarious financial situation. After some frank discussions and negotiation with our principal government partners and the UN system, we believe we have brokered a solution that offers some security for UNRISD for the foreseeable future. As a result, we will not have to reduce further any of our research programmes, or lose the staff that make them happen. I don’t think this would have been possible without the show of solidarity that you gave, and so we thank you for your support.

We are not completely out of the woods, though, and we have a lot of work to do. First on our list is to rebuild in areas where we have sadly lost key people and their expertise – particularly in our gender and development programme. Second is to strengthen our governance. Third, we need to rebuild some of the buffers that have been eroded in recent years as partners have moved away from institutional funding to project funding. Better governance and healthier finances will make us more resilient in the future.

Despite the difficult context, we have continued with a variety of research and outreach activities, including prominent ones that brought fresh insight and critical thinking to global policy processes. At the High-Level Political Forum in New York in July we previewed our new Flagship Report – Policy Innovations for Transformative Change: Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. After a period of online consultation where we received some great ideas for strengthening the various chapters of the report, we will launch the full report on 17 October in Geneva. Then we will take it on the road, and continue research in areas that will be critical to fulfilling the transformative potential of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This eBulletin captures many of the activities we’ve been engaged with over the summer, and in this way highlights the continued support that we’ve had from our key donors as well as collaborators and partners in academia, civil society and other UN agencies. In addition to July’s HLPF, you’ll find news on several new publications, blogs, podcasts and videos that explore timely topics from migration and migrant workers, to human rights, to the "graduation" approach to social protection, to eco-social policies. I hope you enjoy reading about them and above all find them useful for your own work.


Save the Date: Launch of the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report "Policy Innovations for Transformative Change: Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development"

17 October 2016: Room XI in the Palais des Nations, Geneva Our 2016 Flagship Report, to be launched in Geneva on 17 October, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, is an UNRISD contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Report goes beyond buzzwords and brings to the development community an evidence-based definition of transformation which can be used as a benchmark for policy making towards the 2030 Agenda. Bringing together five years of UNRISD research across six areas (eco-social policy, care policy, social and solidarity economy, social policy, domestic resource mobilization, and politics and governance), the report explores what transformative change really means for societies and individuals. Join us on 17 October to find out more.


New Blog Series: The Transformation Conversation. Blogs on the UNRISD Flagship Report 2016 and Agenda 2030

Today we formally kick off a new UNRISD blog series centred on our 2016 Flagship Report "Policy Innovations for Transformative Change". The series explores what it takes to design and implement innovative eco-social policies that will lead to transformative change and fulfil the potential of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Together with the evidence, analysis and case studies in the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report, they are the part of the global conversation on implementing of the SDGs.

Three posts are currently available, and more will be published leading up to the official launch of the Report on 17 October and beyond.
• Up and Down the Political Agenda: Pathways to Transformative Care Policies
• Social Policy is a Must for Integrated Sustainable Development
• Adding the Policy Dimension. Why the SDGs need the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report (VIDEO)

Bringing UNRISD Research to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
“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 UNRISD’s Official Side Event at the 2016 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Over 1,000 Supporters Sign On For UNRISD: Thank You!
More than 1,000 academics, policy and decision makers, practitioners and advocates signed on in May to a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, asking for his urgent political backing to efforts under way during the summer to mobilize UN and other sources of funding for UNRISD.

Social Policy Training for Policy Makers in Africa

UNRISD this year continued its long-standing collaboration with the UN's African Institute of Economic Planning and Development (UN-IDEP), with Research Coordinator Ilcheong Yi lecturing during its course Social Policy for Development Planners. The course was held in Dakar, Senegal, in August 2016. Focusing on lessons to be learned from the East Asian development experience, Ilcheong Yi presented one of the eight modules in the course, which trains mid-level and senior African development officials and decision makers.
Largely based on UNRISD’s Social Policy in a Development Context research, the course brings together officials from different sectors to understand how the synergies between policies across different domains can contribute to better social development outcomes.

UNRISD Fellow Presents Paper at Symposium on Social Protection Systems

UNRISD Research Fellow Esuna Dugarova presented her paper, "A New Social Protection Model in the CIS Countries: From Social Assistance to Labour Activation", at the international symposium Social Protection Systems – Tying The Knots, held in Bonn on 5-6 September. The symposium provided a platform for practitioners, academics, policy makers and experts from the Global North and the Global South to discuss the latest developments in social protection systems. It was jointly organized by the department of Social Security Studies at the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, GIZ (German Development Institute) and the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance.



The Human Rights-Based Approach to Social Protection
This Issue Brief introduces readers to the human rights-based approach to social protection. It highlights the fundamental principles of this approach, which are explored in detail at, and directs readers to the key human rights instruments and other tools that are available to help policy makers and practitioners advocate for and operationalize a rights-based approach to social protection.

Gender Dimensions of Livelihood Security in Dryland Areas of China
Andrea Kaufmann and Paola Cagna This Issue Brief summarizes the findings of a scoping study carried out by UNRISD together with the Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP) and other Chinese partners. It found, among other things, that there was limited understanding of issues at the intersection of environmental and climate change, livelihoods and gender, with little sex disaggregated data or gendered analysis of problems and impacts, or capacity to undertake such work.


Between Protest and Policy: Women Claim their Right to Agricultural Land in Rural China and India
Govind Kelkar This paper situates the discussion on women and land in the broader context of women’s emerging agency against the patriarchal forces of the state, market fundamentalism and social cultural norms that influence both formal and informal institutions at various levels. Women’s claims are thus framed against two major related factors: a state-backed development policy that keeps women dependent on the male as the head of the household; and institutional structures with social norms and legal rules that shut most rural women out of land and property ownership.

Migrant Nurses and Care Workers' Rights in Canada
Bukola Salami, Oluwakemi Amodu and Philomena Okeke-Ihejirika This paper discusses care workers' rights within the changing policy landscape in Canada, with a focus on individuals who migrate as domestic caregivers and as nurses. It illustrates the systemic barriers to the enforcement of rights and access to the profession, and shows how the introduction of the Canada Caregiver Program in 2014 has made migrant care workers' legal status more precarious.

Redefining a Rights-Based Approach in the Context of Temporary Labour Migration in Asia
Nicola Piper, Stuart Rosewarne and Matt Withers This paper analyses the implications of the dominant framework that has guided migration policy in Asia and identifies institutional gaps that hamper the realization of migrants’ human and labour rights in East, Southeast, South and West Asia.

Implementing Eco-Social Policies: Barriers and Opportunities—A Preliminary Comparative Analysis
Diletta Carmi This paper analyses opportunities for and barrier to the effective adoption of eco-social policies in national programmes by undertaking a comparative analysis of case studies in three countries: Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Democratic Republic of Congo.The author looks at the different approaches taken in each country, analysing the benefits and trade-offs as well as the factors that led to their adoption or defeat. She then examines how the actors involved, the economic agenda, the national and international contexts, and the national policy framework influenced the success or failure of eco-social policies. Drawing from this, she identifies topics for future research on the topic.

Publications by former UNRISD Visiting Fellow

Obeng-Odoom, Franklin. 2016. Reconstructing Urban Economics. Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment. London: Zed Books.
Obeng-Odoom, Franklin. 2016. "Urban Governance in Africa Today: Reframing, Experiences, and Lessons." Growth and Change.


Beyond Addis: Financing Social Protection in the 2030 Agenda

Markus Kaltenborn In 2015, both the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit provided opportunities for states to renew their commitment to developing rights-based social protection systems. This expert commentary featured on the Social Protection and Human Rights platform examines this commitment through the lens of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.


Adding the Policy Dimension: Why the SDGs Need the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report

Gabriele Kohler, development economist, explains how the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report can help the development community figure out how to best pursue the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and why eco-social policies are important for transformative change.

Watch the video.

Claims Making, Women's Mobilization and Policy Change

Three new videos have been added to the playlist "When and Why Do States Respond to Women's Claims?", a collection of audiovisual resources derived from an UNRISD research project seeking to understand how policy change to strengthen women’s rights occurs.

► Women's Mobilization on Violence Against Women in India, Mubashira Zaidi
► Claiming Domestic Workers’ Labour Rights in India, Anweshaa Ghosh
► Women Workers and the Politics of Claims-Making in a Globalized Economy, Naila Kabeer

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.

Watch the presentations:
► The Ultra Poor Graduation Approach, Lauren Whitehead (BRAC USA)
► The Evidence on Graduation Programmes, Stephen Kidd (Development Pathways)

Banner photo: Mexico - Pachuca - Painted Ladies by Ted McGrath (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr)


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