1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Engaging with the International Development Community in New York

8 Feb 2017

Engaging with the International Development Community in New York
UNRISD was at UN Headquarters again this February. Centring on the presentation of its biennial Activity Report to the Commission for Social Development, UNRISD made sure that its connections with UN member states and its visibility in the intergovernmental UN body to which it reports remained high, as in previous years.

UNRISD’s institutionalized links into the UN, thanks to which it can bring its research findings to bear on the work of international development community, are many, and our yearly participation in the Commission for Social Development is a key opportunity to engage with representatives of member states, other UN officials and the NGO community.

UNRISD Director Paul Ladd made full use of that opportunity this year, as in the past. In addition to presenting, on behalf of the UNRISD Board, our 2015-2016 Activity Report, as required by our reporting lines through the Commission to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), UNRISD organized a successful side event on 2 February, co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN and called The Poverty of Politics? Pursuing Sustainable Development for All in Challenging Times. Through the lens of transformative change, as presented in the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, the panellists interrogated the notion of the poverty of politics as an obstacle to progressive social change. The three presentations provoked a good number of comments and questions from the floor, which went beyond simply considering challenges and symptoms to bring in questions of values, education, and competition versus collaboration.

Paul Ladd was also invited to participate in three other events related to the Commission while he was in New York, demonstrating the value that the international community sees in UNRISD’s work.

UNRISD at the UN Commission for Social Development 2017 #CSocD55

Panellist at a session on social protection at the Civil Society Forum on 30 January
Organized by the NGO Committee for Social Development in joint sponsorship with UN-DESA Division for Social Policy and Development, the Civil Society Forum’s aim is to prepare civil society participants to engage at the Commission for Social Development and to participate in an ongoing discussion of the Commission's two-year focus on strategies for the eradication of poverty to achieve sustainable development for all.

Thinking long-term: Making poverty eradication and environmental policies mutually supportive on 6 February
Side event with speakers from:
  • International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW)
  • Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN
  • International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)
  • UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations Programme

The side-event highlighted the compatibility between poverty eradication efforts on the one hand and environment-friendly policies on the other. Paul Ladd highlighted the concept and practice of eco-social policies, as featured in the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report Policy Innovations for Transformative Change. Speakers discussed existing opportunities to make this compatibility work for sustainable development, and what challenges policy makers and practitioners face in the process.

The role of civil society in strengthening social policy frameworks for poverty eradication on 3 February
Side event organized by:
  • UN DESA Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD)
  • NGO Commitee on Social Development

The speakers discussed how civil society can effectively work to strengthen existing social policy frameworks and contribute to poverty eradication. Of particular interest was the question of how civil society can respond to current concerns that may increase poverty levels of marginalized groups.

Photo: United Nations Photo Library, Beatrice Murch (via Flickr); icon: Alfredoh.com/icons (via Thenounproject.com); infographic: Communications and Outreach Unit, UNRISD. Photos and icons used in this news item are licensed under Creative Commons.