1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Mandate & Mission


Our Mission


The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is an autonomous research institute within the UN system that undertakes multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues.

Through our work we aim to ensure that social equity, inclusion and justice are central to development thinking, policy and practice. To this end, we:
  • focus on the often neglected social content and impacts of development processes and the role of social institutions, relations and actors in shaping development policies and pathways;
  • engage researchers, policy makers and civil society actors from around the world in generating and sharing knowledge, in order to shape policy within and beyond the UN system;
  • mobilize and strengthen the research capacity of individuals and institutions in developing countries through collaborative inquiry; and
  • provide a space for the exchange of ideas, giving prominence to marginalized viewpoints, often challenging mainstream development thinking and offering alternative policy options.

Our Mandate


UNRISD was established in 1963 as an autonomous space within the UN system for the conduct of policy-relevant, cutting-edge research on social development that is pertinent to the work of the United Nations Secretariat; regional commissions and specialized agencies; and national institutions.

UNRISD Statutes


The statutes (Secretary-General's Bulletin, doc. no. ST/SGB/126, 1 August 1963) establishing UNRISD can be accessed using the link below.