Taking the 2016 Flagship Report on the Road; Policy Innovations for Transformative Change: Issue 32 January 2017
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It's that time of year again: politicians and business leaders have gathered in Davos, and Oxfam has produced its latest inequality report with a yet more catchy version of the 1% meme: 8 men own as much as the poorest half of humanity.

Much of the commentary on Davos this year, prompted by the political turmoil of 2016, has noted that the captains of globalization are reflecting on their own role in creating the economic and social malaise that pushed Trump into power and the UK out of the EU.

This is not the first time that the dark underbelly of globalization has been an issue at Davos. In 1999 the official theme was “Responsible globality”; in 2008 it recommended that the G20 reform their economies, markets and societies “to rebuild trust and confidence and commit to sustainability, social responsibility and ethical principles”; and the 2010 theme was a commitment to:
“Rethink (…) the pretense that free markets will help the poor”;
“Redesign (…) for real, substantive change”; and to
“Rebuild (…) allowing developing countries to choose their own futures”.

Despite this almost audible hand-wringing, little is on the table in the way of action. Predictions like this from Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization in 2013, fell on deaf ears: “Because globalization is extremely efficient, inequalities within countries and among countries have increased. (…) I would want to address the problem, so that populist, sovereignist, isolationist reactions do not hinder the positive side of globalization.” (emphasis added)

So today it still falls to critical civil society and protest movements, to the development community around the UN, and to research institutes like UNRISD to do the analysis and ring the alarm bells at so many being left behind. We also need to propose constructive solutions, such as those in the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change.

In a sense the timing couldn't be better. The UN's member states are in the first throes of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which reinforces many of the values which have been hit in the recent shake-up, such as inclusion, diversity and respect for human rights and dignity. The Agenda represents a commitment to which governments can be held, precisely in the face of local turmoil and partisan politics; and it is itself inclusive of all actors: businesses, governments, civil society. So maybe this international agreement really can work as a road map to bring all parties together on a path towards transformative change that redistributes the benefits of globalization more equally, and protects those who lose out.


Connecting with UN Member States in New York

UNRISD is hosting a side event on 2 February at the Commission for Social Development in at UN Headquarters in New York, titled The Poverty of Politics?. Please come along if you are at the UN next week to find out how our 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change relates to the current political climate.
UNRISD is at the Commission to present its annual report, and Director Paul Ladd will also take the opportunity to participate in other side events and pursue connections with representatives of UN member states, as well as civil society and UN officials.

New Research: Valueworks. Effects of Financialization along the Copper Value Chain

UNRISD is pleased to announce a new project which examines the social dynamics at the different nodes of a global value chain, following one single commodity, copper, from mining pits and the surrounding communities in Zambia through towns and harbours on African transport corridors, through Swiss trading firms and banks to the sites of industrial production and recycling in China.
The project is funded by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS). UNRISD is a partner in this project which is led by Basel University and has research partners in Zambia, Switzerland and Germany.

Knowledge Sharing through Story Telling: UNRISD Participates in an Innovative SDG Project

UNRISD Director Paul Ladd is acting as resource person in a story-telling project run by the International Geneva Perception Change Project. Fairy Tales for a Fairer World is a collection of popular tales from around the world re-worked to highlight global challenges such as poverty, climate change and discrimination and how the Sustainable Development Goals can combat them. The paper version is accompanied by an on-line conversation between global experts. Paul Ladd is currently in a conversation on poverty (SDG1) with Guy Rider (Director-General of the ILO), Guido Schmidt-Traub (Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network), Michael Møller (Director-General of the UN at Geneva), and Caroline Kende-Robb (Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel). Sign up at www.sdgstories.com to find out more.

UNRISD to Host a Session at the Resilience 2017 Conference

UNRISD is hosting a session on “The Transformation We Want: Towards a global policy environment for resilient futures” at the Resilience 2017 conference, taking place in Stockholm, Sweden on 21-23 August 2017. Following a successful call for abstracts, the selection for the session is currently under review.

Special issue of Journal of Australian Political Economy edited by former UNRISD Visiting Fellow

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is the guest editor for a special issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy (Issue 78, Summer 2016/17), just published online and focusing on global economic inequalities and development. The issue features an editorial by Franklin, articles on India, China, Southern Europe, fair trade and the IMF, and includes a contribution by UNRISD collaborating researcher David Barkin on violence, inequality and development.


German translation of the Overview

Innovative Politik für transformativen Wandel: Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung—Überblick
Thanks to support from the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) we have been able to translate the Overview of the Flagship Report into German. It is now available online and in print. Translations into Spanish, Catalan and French are foreseen for the near future.

Presentation of the Report in Germany

Bonn Presentation of "Policy Innovations for Transformative Change"
UNRISD launched the German translation of the Overview of the 2016 UNRISD Flagship Report on 6 December 2016 at an event in Bonn organized by the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) and the German Development Institute (DIE). 

Webinar at UN System Staff College (UNSSC)

Let's Talk About Policy Innovations For Transformative Change
The UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report was the subject of a webinar organized by the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, sharing UNRISD findings on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a global audience of UN staff and stakeholders from academia, foundations, civil society and the private sector.

The Transformation Conversation: Flagship Blog Series

Transformation for Better or for Worse? The Evidence from South East Europe
Marija Stambolieva The UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report sees transformational change as a set of policies and structures that “expand rights, increase equality and reduce power asymmetries, and support sustainable and equitable structural change of the economy”. For scholars of post-socialist transformation, however, the notion of “transformation” is typically associated with structural changes that generated social inequalities and boosted power asymmetries in societies which were previously relatively equal but perceived as inefficient. This blog post discusses the potential social policy pitfalls of transitions after political and economic crises.

Africa’s Energy Transformation: Rewriting the Global Rules

Caroline Kende-Robb Africa is undergoing a remarkable energy transformation. But African governments and their international partners have to accelerate that transformation if we are to achieve our collective ambitions. Access to clean modern energy, especially in Africa, where 620 million people have no electricity, is critical to the success of global efforts to tackle poverty and achieve the SDGs.

UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report: The Making Of

Katja Hujo In this video contribution to the blog series on the 2016 Flagship Report, UNRISD Senior Researcher and Flagship Report Coordinator Katja Hujo, talks about the genesis of the report and gives viewers some behind-the-scenes insights into how the report took shape.


Innovation and Sustainable Development: A CASS–UNRISD Seminar

UNRISD was delighted to host a delegation of scholars from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on 12 January, continuing our on-going collaboration with CASS. Panellists at this seminar discussed some of the key policy, institutional and technological innovations that can be harnessed to realize the 2030 Agenda. Speakers were from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the ITU and UNRISD.

The Poverty of Politics? Pursuing Sustainable Development for All in Challenging Times

At our side event to be held at the Commission for Social Development at UN Headquarters in New York on 2 February, UNRISD Director Paul Ladd will be putting the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change in its current political context with a number of panellists. Delegates from member states, civil society organizations, and UN officials will discuss strategies for transformative policies in a political climate that may be becoming less conducive. For a full list of side events at the Commission, see here.

UNRISD to Host World Social Work Day at the UN in Geneva

UNRISD will be hosting a public panel event on 21 March to mark World Social Work Day, looking at cooperation between social work and UN organizations as a means of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Participants will explore how promoting social change and development, social cohesion and empowerment can be pursued as a collective project by social workers and the international community. More information coming soon.
A 1-day workshop on 22 March will complete the activities around World Social Work Day, organized collectively by UNRISD, the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), and the School of Social Work Geneva (HETS-Genève).


Innovative Politik für transformativen Wandel: Umsetzung der Agenda 2030 für nachhaltige Entwicklung—Überblick

German translation of the Overview of the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change. UNRISD would like to thank the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN) for its support for the translation and production of the German-language Overview of the Report. Translations into Spanish, Catalan and French are foreseen for the near future.

The Political Economy of Mineral Resource Governance and Children's Rights in Papua New Guinea

Catherine Macdonald This paper examines how children and their representatives have been included in processes to decide upon resource revenue distribution and allocation over time in Papua New Guinea.

El Financiamiento del Desarrollo en Bolivia: Cambios y Continuidades en la Relación Estado-Cooperación Internacional (2006–2013)

Maria Verónica Paz Arauco Este documento revela que la relación estado-cooperación cambió en cuanto al liderazgo ahora ejercido por el gobierno del Estado Plurinacional, al que la cooperación fue poco a poco alineando su cartera que hoy representa solo una pequeña fracción de los recursos destinados a la inversión pública antes mayoritariamente dependiente de recursos externos. 


Organizing Civil Society and Promoting Universal Social Protection Systems: Perspectives from the Middle East and North Africa

Mabel Grossi In this expert commentary on the Social Protection and Human Rights platform, Mabel Grossi examines social protection policies in North Africa and the Middle East, often characterized by fragmented schemes and short-term and charity-based programmes, as well as strictly limited civil society participation in national dialogues and reform processes. She concludes that national mobilization and international advocacy are often necessary to overcome restrictions placed by governments on freedom of association and collective bargaining and to promote social protection floors at all levels.


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Banner photo: "Breadth piece" by Peterm2000 (Creative Commons via Flickr)


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