1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Project: Integrating Knowledge and Capacity Development for the SDGs (Bonn Programme)

Eco-Social Contract Network

  • Project from: 2019 to 2021

A global network is being built to explore the promise of a new eco-social contract as a way of responding to pressing social and ecological challenges. The network is a space for dialogue, debate, co-construction and action around the meaning of a new eco-social contract; good practices for its design; and accountability frameworks for its application. Research, practice, advocacy and policy decision-making communities working for social, climate and environmental justice are invited to join in this endeavour.


🟢 Download the Project Brief to learn more about the network. This brief is also available in Spanish and French.

Join the network!
By joining, you will enter a space to share, discuss and inform the design,delivery, implementation and analysis of a new eco-social contract.

→ To get involved, please contact one of the focal points: Najma Mohamed (GEC) or Paramita Dutta (UNRISD)


A New Eco-Social Contract: Vital to Deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The 20th century social contract—an implicit bargain between economic imperatives of growth and productivity, and social imperatives of redistribution and social protection—has broken down and cannot sustain the transformative vision of the 2030 Agenda. The breakdown of the social contract manifests itself in multiple global crises and the deep divisions in our societies. Inequalities in many dimensions have grown, particularly in the last 40 years, and people feel left out and left behind. The failure of our economic model to account for the natural boundaries of our planet has led to environmental destruction and human precarity because of climate change, extreme weather events and health pandemics such as Covid-19.

For the 21st century, UNRISD believes, the contract is in need of a fundamental overhaul. First, it must ensure human rights for all—importantly, this means bringing in those not fully benefitting from previous social contracts, such as women, informal workers and migrants. Second, it must ensure larger freedom for all in a fast-changing world, including security and protection as new challenges emerge. Third, it must spur the transformation of economies and societies to halt climate change and environmental destruction.

🟢 Download the issue brief to learn more