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UNRISD to Hold International Conference on Ethnic Inequality and Public Sector Governance in Riga

19 Mar 2004



On 25-27 March 2004, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-Latvia), and the Latvian Ministry of Integration, will be co-hosting an international conference on Ethnic Inequality and Public Sector Governance. The event will be held at “Reiterna Nams” Conference Centre, 2 Marstalu iela, Riga LV1050, Latvia, starting at 09:30

The UNRISD project on “Ethnic Structure, Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector” examines the complex ways ethnic cleavages and inequalities influence behaviour and institutions for governing the public sectors of multi-ethnic societies. It found that inequalities between groups constitute a more potent source of violent conflict than inequalities among individuals. Yet not much is invested on research that aids understanding of the nature and dynamics of ethnic cleavages and inequalities. The focus has tended to be on conflict resolution than on conflict prevention or the management of diversity and inequality.

Data was collected on ethnic cleavages and inequalities in the civil service, cabinet, parliament and party system. Researchers analyzed whether the distribution of offices is ethnically balanced or uneven, examined perceptions about the distribution and rules governing it, and studied the role of voter preferences in constituting these institutions. They also looked at the effectiveness of institutions for managing diversity and inequality.

The conference will provide a forum to discuss the project’s research findings and their policy implications. It will provide an opportunity to place the issues of ethnic diversity and inequality on the agendas of development agencies and governments. UN institutions, Policy makers from developing and transition countries, bilateral agencies, foundations, NGOs and scholars are invited. International Experts will present papers on the following themes):

- Inequality and Public Sector Governance in Unipolar Ethnic Settings: Botswana, Lithuania and Spain

- Inequality and Public Sector Governance in Bipolar Ethnic Settings: Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago

- Inequality and Public Sector Governance in Bipolar Ethnic Settings: Latvia and Belgium

- Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector in Tripolar Ethnic Settings: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Switzerland

- Inequality and Governance of the Public Sector in Tripolar Ethnic Settings: Nigeria and Malaysia

- Inequality and Public Sector Governance in Concentrated Multipolar Ethnic Settings: Ghana and Kenya

- Inequality and Public Sector Governance in Fragmented Multipolar Ethnic Settings: India, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania

- Ethnic Inequalities and Development

- Ethnicity, Diversity and Governance in Latvia in the Central and Eastern European Context

Entry is free and we welcome the media and other interested participants. Please contact Michele Tan for any further information: ++41 (0) 22 917 28 96