The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development successfully launched its flagship report, Combating Poverty and Inequality : Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics, on Friday, 3 September, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.
The report reveals the multiple and complex
processes involved in sustainable reduction
of poverty and inequality, and lays out a
range of policies and institutional measures
that countries can adopt to achieve it. “It
is our sincere hope that the world leaders
can take stock of these original insights and
fresh policy initiatives to deliver on their
commitment to development, and in particular,
the Millennium Development Goals,”
UNOG Director-General, Sergei Ordzhonikidze,
said of the publication.
Following introductory remarks from both UNOG and UNRISD directors, the report’s lead author, Yusuf Bangura, said that strategies focused solely on economic growth neglected other factors that cause poverty. According to Bangura, “current approaches to poverty tend to focus on things poor people lack rather than why they lack them. But when a large proportion of a country’s population is poor, it doesn’t make sense to detach poverty from the dynamics of economic growth and development”. Developing a universal system which would integrate the poor socially, economically and politically within a global civil society – granting rights, access to employment and political power – was presented as a key objective during the conference.
The report is the result of five years of what Ordzhonikidze called “cutting edge and forward- looking research.” It offers alternative perspectives and strategies on reducing poverty and inequality “to accelerate progress in achieving those [Millennium Development] goals and other social development objectives,” Bangura said. LSE African Development Chair and former UNRISD Director Thandika Mkandawire, Jomo Kwame Sundaram of United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Vicente Paolo Yu III of the South Centre, and Kyung-wha Kan, Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke at the event, as did numerous scholars.
Established in 1963, UNRISD is an autonomous agency that engages in multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues. By doing so, UNRISD contributes to policy debates on key issues of social development, as it has done with this very report.