1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Social Policy and Development

Social Policy and Development
UNRISD research and policy analysis are at the forefront of progressive international development thinking that has reasserted the centrality of social policy in development strategies. UNRISD understands social policy as public interventions that aim to guarantee adequate and secure livelihoods, income and well-being, and that enable all individuals to strive for their own life goals. This is a purposefully broad definition that goes beyond interventions designed only to protect the most vulnerable. UNRISD research has demonstrated, for example, the transformative role that state-led social policy can play in development contexts, and has shown that social welfare is tightly bound to economic progress, as well as the role of social policy in strengthening citizenship, political participation and social cohesion.

The contemporary challenge is to build on the expansion of social policies and programmes related to the MDGs, which have largely focused on ameliorating problematic outcomes of development processes, to generate a more transformative approach to social policy that responds to the global challenges of inequality, conflict and unsustainable practices, and identifies and addresses structural inequalities and their drivers.

The UNRISD Social Policy and Development Programme examines how social policies can be instrumental to economic development, and financed in a sustainable and progressive way, while maintaining their intrinsic goals of protection, equity and social inclusion.


Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization

Universities and Social Inequalities in the Global South

From Disruption to Transformation? Linking Technology and Human Rights for Sustainable Development

Valueworks: Effects of Financialization along the Copper Value Chain

New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South

Politics of Domestic Resource Mobilization for Social Development

Towards Universal Social Security in Emerging Economies: Process, Institutions and Actors

Linking Social Protection and Human Rights

Making International Development Cooperation Effective

Migration and Health in China

South-South Migration and Development: What Role for Social Policy and Regional Governance?

Social Policy in Mineral-Rich Countries: Harnessing Natural Resource Wealth for Social Development

Mobilizing Revenues from Extractive Industries: Protecting and Promoting Children’s Rights and Well-Being in Resource-Rich Countries

Political Economy of Social Pensions in Asia

Social Policy as a Key to Sustainable Development

Strategies for Integrated, Coordinated and Equitable Social Protection

Strengthening Social Protection in Six Asian Countries

Health Systems as Social Institutions: Progress towards Health in All Policies

Employment-Centred Poverty Reduction and Social Policy in Rural Tanzania: Policy and Institutional Change

Photo credit: UN Photo/JC McIlwaine.