This project was part of the UNRISD contribution to the World Summit for Social Development. It explored the roles and impacts of public policies in ethnically diverse societies, aiming to inventory and synthesize policy experiences and identify and analyze instances of effective accommodation of ethnic diversity.
The country studies included reference to the major policy instruments employed to seek ethnic accommodation and identified three major policy clusters: resource allocation among different groups; cultural policies; and exercise of state authority and distribution of power. Case studies covered Malaysia, Mauritius, Northern Ireland, Oceania and the Caribbean, Spain, Tanzania and the United States. Thematic studies were commissioned to complement the country studies by examining certain issues across a range of countries. Investigated themes include democratization; decentralization; electoral systems; economic policies and patterns of growth; proportionality/affirmative action policies; and policies affecting immigrants.
An international seminar was organized in collaboration with UNDP and co-sponsored by the International Centre of Ethnic Studies, International Alert, the Minority Rights Group, and the United Nations University/International Programme on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity.