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UNRISD Policy Brief Suggests Way to Social Objectives of Sustainable Development

30 May 2012: In a new issue of the Research and Policy Brief, the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) suggests key elements of alternative approaches to promoting the combined social, economic and environmental goals of sustainable development.

The 12th issue of the UNRISD Research and Policy Brief highlights that, in lead-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the  green economy has taken center stage in international development circles. While there is consensus on the need to shift from high- to low-carbon systems and transform investment, production and consumption patterns in ways that achieve sustainable development, it argues, the social dimension of green economy, and how it can be addressed, remains unclear.

The Brief notes that a UNRISD inquiry addressed how green economy initiatives and strategies impact different social groups and patterns of inequality, as well as how green economy transitions can contribute to achieving the social objectives of sustainable development. Based on the evidence reviewed, the Brief suggests that policies for transformative change require attention to: the bodies of knowledge that are informing policy; the social impacts of green economy; the need for diverse and deep institutional and governance reforms; the role of social policy; and the creation of an enabling environment for active citizenship.

The Brief is part of a larger UNRISD project on Social Dimensions of Green Economy and Sustainable Development, which also includes: a Conference on "Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension," held in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2011; a series of six films; publication of "Greening the Economy," a special issue of the journal "Development; and an occasional paper series, in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). [Publication: Research and Policy Brief 12] [UNRISD Webpage on Green Economy]