Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy; Social Security; Migration and Health: Issue 12 December 2012
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.

MINERAL RENTS AND THE FINANCING OF SOCIAL POLICY

Mineral wealth is not a curse but an economic opportunity. UNRISD research suggests that when countries carefully balance productive and redistributive goals, mineral wealth can be harnessed for equitable and sustainable development. To manage the challenges of a mineral-led growth path successfully, countries need to design and implement comprehensive, inclusive and rights-based social policies; build strong democratic institutions; and be given the policy space to foster productive diversification while safeguarding macroeconomic stability. The findings of the project are summarized in a new Research and Policy Brief (see below).

UNRISD research was published as an edited volume, Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy: Opportunities and Challenges. Selected findings were presented at an UNRISD seminar earlier this month (see below). Two draft chapters (pre-prints) that were subsequently published in the book, Development and Growth in Mineral-Rich Countries, and On "Mineral Rents and Social Development in Chile", as well as the introductory chapter are available to download. More information on the project can be found here.

PUBLICATIONS

Latest Briefs

Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy: Options and Constraints (Research and Policy Brief)
Mineral rents and revenues from commodity sectors have fuelled growth and enabled the expansion of public expenditures in a number of countries. Yet there is disagreement about whether a mineral-led development path is a blessing or a curse, especially in resource-dependent developing countries.

Towards Universal Social Security in Emerging Economies (Project Brief)
Despite decades of pressure for social policies to be used only as residual, marginal, palliative measures to protect those in dire need, many emerging economies are successfully extending social security coverage towards universal levels. What drives these universalizing forces? Are these moves towards universal coverage sustainable? Why have some countries had more success than others in implementing socially inclusive, economically viable social security programmes?

Latest Paper

Green Economy or Green Society? Contestation and Policies for a Fair Transition
Sarah Cook, Kiah Smith and Peter Utting Based on research from the UNRISD inquiry into the social dimensions of green economy, this paper outlines a conceptual and policy approach to bring social concerns more centrally into green economy and sustainable development debates. It examines key challenges facing policy makers and other actors in making social concerns more central to green economy debates. While there is widespread agreement that the current global environmental challenge requires a major transformation, widely differing interpretations exist about the nature of this transformation, with competing assumptions about the institutions required and the drivers of change.

Latest Books

Policy Regimes and the Political Economy of Poverty Reduction in Malaysia
Khoo Boo Teik (ed.) This book is an original, comprehensive and critical evaluation of Malaysia's 40-year strategy of poverty eradication that has been successful in reaching its targets and yet controversial for being linked to the ethnically oriented social engineering laid down by the New Economic Policy. Departing from narrowly focused studies of poverty reduction, the contributors to this volume bring together in-depth analyses of economic transformation, class and ethnic inequalities, social protection policies, the provision of key social services, political mobilization, and state capacity for planning. The result is a detailed examination of the scope and efficacy of changing policy regimes affecting Malaysia's post-colonial course of economic development, record of industrialization, and its relative resilience in adapting social policies to national pressures and global changes.

Global Justice Activism and Policy Reform in Europe: Understanding When Change Happens
Peter Utting, Mario Pianta and Anne Ellersiek (eds.) Civil society activism around issues of global justice has proliferated in Europe during the past two decades. Has such contestation and advocacy made a difference? This book examines whether and how the organizations, networks and campaigns involved have attained their policy objectives in the areas of debt relief, international trade, international taxation and corporate accountability. The analysis also considers the relationship between national and transnational activism. By comparing variations in the "activism-policy nexus" in France, Italy and the United Kingdom, it seeks to understand how such interaction and policy outcomes vary in different institutional and political contexts.

Síntesis de Proyecto en Español

Latest Project Briefs now available in Spanish:
La Política de la Movilización de Recursos Internos para el Desarrollo Social
Potencial y Límites de la Economía Social y Solidaria

Combatir la Pobreza y la Desigualdad: Cambio Estructural, Política Social y Condiciones Políticas

El informe, Combatir la Pobreza y la Desigualdad, está disponible para descargar ahora.

The UNRISD flagship report, Combating Poverty and Inequality, is now available to download in Spanish.

Background thematic papers and country case studies that fed into the report are also available online. Please see the Unpublished Papers link on the right of the page.

Latest Article by Director Sarah Cook

China as a New Shaper of International Development: The Environmental Implications
Frauke Urban, Giles Mohan and Sarah Cook This article, co-authored by Director Sarah Cook and published in Enviroment, Development and Sustainability, looks at the implications of China's rise as a force for global change in the coming decades, especially in terms of the environment.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Save the Date: A Rights-Based, Gender-Equitable Approach to the Regional Governance of Migration: An Elusive or Achievable Prospect?, 15 January 2013, Geneva

Solutions to the challenges of international labour migration are typically sought at the global level. But in practice, most developments related to migration governance have taken place at the national, bilateral and regional levels. The past few decades have seen many initiatives to remove barriers to intra-regional labour movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These have often had more ambitious, rights-based goals - at least on paper - than similar projects in developed regions. Yet implementation of these initiatives has been slow or non-existent, and often triggered other difficulties for migrants.

This policy forum brings together a panel of experts from diverse fields and professional experience to discuss the status quo and future potential of the regional governance of migration.


Register here for the event.

RECENT EVENTS

The Resource Curse? Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy

This seminar presented findings from an UNRISD inquiry recently published as Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy: Opportunities and Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan, May 2012).The inquiry systematically analysed the relationship between mineral wealth and revenues, social policy decisions and social development outcomes in developing countries. Samuel Asfaha (ITC-ILO), Alfredo Calcagno (UNCTAD) and Katja Hujo (UNRISD) spoke at the event.

Listen to the podcast.

Towards a Gender-Just Transformatory Policy: Assets, Agency and the Structures of Governance

Policies that seek to give women assets, particularly land, have often failed to achieve their goals. Explained as a failure of implementation and adequate resourcing, the deeper problem lies in the use of a segmented rather than holistic approach, in which both assets and women are seen as discrete, individual objects, rather than socially embedded and networked. In this UNRISD seminar, Nitya Rao, drawing on research in South Asia, explored alternative frameworks.

Listen to the podcast.

The Role of Social Security in Realizing Human Rights

This special panel discussion, jointly hosted by UNRISD and FORUM-ASIA, was held as part of the 5th Asian Regional Human Rights Defenders Forum in Bangkok. It served as a forum for dialogue across sectors - academics, policy makers and activists - and disciplines - development and human rights.

Watch videos from the conference:
Human Rights, Social Security and Development: Strengthening the Links
Perspectives on the Concepts of Social Security and Human Rights

Listen to the podcast.

Gender-Related Research within the UN System

UN Women and UNRISD hosted a workshop to reflect critically on existing and potential areas of research on gender issues, catalyse the work of other UN organizations, and explore possibilities for new collaborative work. The meeting was the first part of a consultative process that aims to enable UN Women to fulfil its coordination and support role within the United Nations system.

Importance of Migration and Health Highlighted at Global Symposium on Health Systems Research

Research being carried out under the joint UNRISD-Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy project on Migration and Health in China was presented at the Second Global Symposium on Health Systems Research in Beijing in November. The research framed the only sessions at the four-day symposium dedicated to addressing the issue of migration and health. This important topic remains under-researched and is vital to improving the social welfare of the largely neglected migrant population that has been, and continues to be, key to the economic growth and development of China.

Watch a video from this event.

VIDEOS

Human Rights, Social Security and Development: Strengthening the Links

This video is based on interview footage from the joint UNRISD and FORUM-ASIA event, The Role of Social Security in Realizing Human Rights: Special Panel Discussion, held in Bangkok, September 2012. In this video, participants give their perspectives on the barriers preventing the realization of human rights and suggest ways these can be overcome.

Perspectives on the Concepts of Social Security and Human Rights

Is social security just about providing a minimum level of protection for the most vulnerable, or is it about creating universal systems of quality services that can support society as a whole? This video features differing perspectives on the contested concepts of social security and human rights.

The video is based on interview footage from the joint UNRISD and FORUM-ASIA event, The Role of Social Security in Realizing Human Rights: Special Panel Discussion, held in Bangkok, September 2012.

Building Knowledge, Creating Synergies: UNRISD Research on Migration and Health in China

Migration within China from rural to urban areas has important social consequences in terms of access to health care, health insurance and social protection. How can we protect workers and the next generation? What are the challenges? This video is based on interviews and footage recorded at the 2nd Project Workshop for the joint UNRISD-Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy project on Migration and Health in China, July 2012.

Convening Voices: Participants' Impressions of an UNRISD Workshop

This video is based on interviews and footage recorded at the 2nd Project Workshop for the joint UNRISD-Sun Yat-sen Center for Migrant Health Policy project on Migration and Health in China, July 2012. In this video, participants reflect on the project workshop, the relevance of the research topic, the multidisciplinary approach, and the success in bringing together Chinese policy makers, international and Chinese scholars, medical practitioners and NGOs.

PODCASTS

Latest podcasts from UNRISD events (click the links below and see Media Files section on the right):

The Resource Curse? Mineral Rents and the Financing of Social Policy
Towards A Gender-Just Transformatory Policy: Assets, Agency and the Structures of Governance
The Role of Social Security in Realizing Human Rights: Special Panel Discussion, Bangkok

NEWS

Review of Growth, Inequality and Social Development in India: Is Inclusive Growth Possible? in The Hindu

The Hindu, one of India's largest daily newspapers, reviewed the recent UNRISD publication, Growth, Inequality and Social Development in India: Is Inclusive Growth Possible?. The review said "this book is an outstanding contribution to development theory. It should chasten, if not disturb, those who look upon reforms as the road to higher welfare."

The book, edited by R. Nagaraj, critically examines economic development, social justice and the political economy of development in post-independence India. It offers a detailed and empirically rich study of India's record of macroeconomic growth during the last six decades. Published in July 2012, the book presents the research in India from the project Poverty Reduction and Policy Regimes, which also fed into UNRISD's flagship report Combating Poverty and Inequality in 2010.

Freshening Up at 50

UNRISD is pleased to announce its refreshed logo, which coincides with the start of celebrations marking 50 years of the Institute in 2013. The logo, which now features a hand-drawn "S", symbolizes the emphasis that UNRISD places on social dimensions. The new visuals are currently being rolled out, with the Institute's social media channels and new brochure already sporting the new look.

Overwhelming Response to Call for Papers on Social and Solidarity Economy

UNRISD received more than 370 responses to the recent Call for Papers for the project, Potential and Limits of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). The Call, which ran from 1 October to 15 November, invited submissions exploring alternative forms of production and exchange. Peter Utting, research coordinator and UNRISD Deputy Director, said, "such a response from academia and experts in the field demonstrates that these questions are highly relevant to people’s concerns. They now need to be more prominent on the policy agenda". Interest in the project came from all parts of the world.

The call for papers was announced at Solidarity Economy and Alternative Finance: A Different Development Model?, a side event at the UN Human Rights Council's 2012 Social Forum co-organized by UNRISD and the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS). The summary report of the event is available on the NGLS website. To read the project brief on Social and Solidarity Economy, go here.

Harvesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy Reviewed in Gender and Development

Kristine Goulding, former UNRISD Research Analyst, reviewed Harvesting Feminist Knowledge for Public Policy: Rebuilding Progress for Gender and Development. The book, which was launched at an UNRISD seminar earlier this year, discusses alternative solutions to the multiple crises of food, finance, fuel and employment.

CONTACT

United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: ++41 (0)22 917 3020
Fax: ++41 (0)22 917 0650
E-mail info@unrisd.org

If you no longer wish to receive our UNRISD eBulletin, please click here to update your myUNRISD profile

Follow Us
YouTube Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Scribd