1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Blogs and Think Pieces

Highlights ...

Rebuilding The Fiscal Contract? 5 Innovative Ways to Tax Informality

Rebuilding The Fiscal Contract? 5 Innovative Ways to Tax Informality (13 Dec 2017) | 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 protection from 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.


Carving Out an Official Role for Waste Pickers in Urban Waste Management

Carving Out an Official Role for Waste Pickers in Urban Waste Management (5 Dec 2017) | V. Kalyan Shankar, Rohini Sahni

Waste pickers are key stakeholders in sustainable urban waste management, thereby contributing to local and global resilience. As recycling of materials has become more widespread in developed and developing countries, it has provided waste pickers with an opportunity to improve their status and well-being through collectivization and engagement with local urban government. This think piece explores how waste pickers in the Indian city of Pune have been able to organize and legitimize their labour and carve out a formal space for themselves in the city's waste management chain.


Also...

Life on the Land: Landowners Associations in the Italian Alps

Life on the Land: Landowners Associations in the Italian Alps (27 Nov 2017) | Cristina Poncibò

As the rocks collapse and mountainsides crumble into sometimes deadly landslides because of decades of neglect of the land and people leaving for the towns, small groups of mountain villagers in some parts of the Piedmont Region of the Italian Alps are quietly trying to improve the situation. This think piece shows how voluntary local initiatives for unified land management, supported by helpful public policy, are helping to improve sustainable rural development and the social-ecological resilience of mountain regions in Italy.


Realizing the Human Right to Clean Water: Time to Rethink the Legal Architecture?

Realizing the Human Right to Clean Water: Time to Rethink the Legal Architecture? (20 Nov 2017) | Julie Gjørtz Howden and Claudia Ituarte-Lima

Having access to safe drinking water and sanitation, as enshrined in human rights law and SDG 6, is intertwined with the governance of transboundary river basins and other issues connected to water and healthy ecosystems. Yet the laws governing human rights and international water law do not reflect this. This piece argues that a transformation of international water law, guided by human rights principles, is needed to foster the resilience of the legal system and achieve the SDGs related to water and ecosystems.


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

Let Them Eat Entrepreneurship: Women's Empowerment and Gender Inequality (5 Oct 2017) | 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 asks though where discrimination against women really begins and whether financing women’s entrepreneurship is the right entry point to empower women in developing countries.


SDG 17: Transformative Partnerships?

SDG 17: Transformative Partnerships? (21 Sep 2017) | Annekathrin Ellersiek

Partnerships are a central Means of Implementation (MOI) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to Targets 16 and 17 of SDG17. This emphasis on partnerships points to the need to effectively harness additional resources, while at the same time highlighting the aim of ‘leaving no one behind’. But are they always both effective and inclusive, and hence transformative? This blog argues that stronger alignment of different approaches is needed for partnerships to bring about the progressive change that the 2030 Agenda requires.


Policy Making in a Globalized World: Is Economic Growth the Appropriate Driver? An Example from Mesoamerica

Policy Making in a Globalized World: Is Economic Growth the Appropriate Driver? An Example from Mesoamerica (22 Aug 2017) | Andrea F. Schuman

This think piece traces transnational influences in national-level economic policies and their impacts on one municipality in Mesoamerica. Policy influences that emphasize economic growth, and propose “modernization” and market-based solutions led by the private sector, are found to undermine resilience at both household and community levels, and pose threats to the sustainable livelihoods generated by the activities and practices historically engaged in by the population. The policy implications are relevant across the region in question, and far beyond.


Organizing for Urban Resilience … and, Possibly, for Transformation: TDCs in Bharatpur, Nepal

Organizing for Urban Resilience … and, Possibly, for Transformation: TDCs in Bharatpur, Nepal (21 Aug 2017) | Hanna A. Ruszczyk

This think piece explores the role of Tole Development Committees in Bharatpur, Nepal, and argues that they make important contributions to urban resilience. In the context of Nepal they are sources of innovative local-level partnerships and ways of approaching governance of eco-social issues. As such, they are taking steps towards greater social inclusion and, possibly, transformation.


Linking Resilience Thinking and Transformative Change: Taking Development Debates to a New Level

Linking Resilience Thinking and Transformative Change: Taking Development Debates to a New Level (16 Aug 2017) | Dunja Krause

The concept of resilience, and “resilience thinking”, goes beyond understanding resilience as ability to withstand shocks. It has the potential to inspire much more than the palliative interventions to which it seems to be relegated by its latest use in global policy documents, from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to the New Urban Agenda. This think piece introduces the concepts of resilience and transformative change, highlights useful links between them, and outlines some of the policy implications of resilience thinking for transformative change.


Building Momentum: Reflections on the 2017 High Level Political Forum

Building Momentum: Reflections on the 2017 High Level Political Forum (24 Jul 2017) | Paul Ladd

Just returned from the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York, the annual UN platform to review SDG implementation, UNRISD Director Paul Ladd reflects on talk and action, and the commitment needed from rich as well as from poor countries to keep the promises of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.