1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Research for Social Change (UNRISD Fortieth Anniversary Report)



Since the creation in 1963 of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the world has experienced profound changes through decolonization, urbanization, industrialization, democratization and globalization. Over this period, UNRISD has played an important role in mobilizing research capacity to assess and understand the economic, social, cultural and political causes and implications of these processes, in particular the question of why poverty and violent conflict continue to afflict so much of humanity. It has engaged researchers from developing and developed countries alike in the global pursuit of improving our understanding of social development issues. And it has made a significant contribution to the preparation for United Nations conferences and summits and their follow-up processes.

Throughout those 40 years, UNRISD research has been characterized by a focus on people-centred policies and critical questioning of certain aspects of modernization and economic development. This approach has proved indispensable for understanding how market-based strategies and economic growth need to be complemented by institutions that protect and empower the disadvantaged, and promote equality and social justice. The Institute's current work, on patterns of development that are economically viable, socially inclusive and democratically based, is particularly relevant to the ongoing efforts of the United Nations system to promote sustainable development, poverty reduction and good governance.

The status of UNRISD, as an autonomous organization that can engage freely in independent thinking, allows it consistently to address sensitive issues, scrutinize mainstream policies and approaches to development, and propose innovative solutions. As such, it is a highly valuable asset to the United Nations family.

From the Foreword by Kofi A. Annan
Secretary-General
United Nations

The full report is available in PDF format. Please click Additional Information, on the right, then use the links to access the chapters.
  • Publication and ordering details
  • Pub. Date: 23 Dec 2003
    Pub. Place: Geneva
    ISSN: 92 9085 044 2
    From: UNRISD