Policy Innovations for Transformative Change

Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals are a global commitment to “transforming our world” and eradicating poverty in all its forms everywhere. The challenge now is to put this vision into action. Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, the UNRISD 2016 Flagship Report, helps unpack the complexities of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in a unique way: by focusing on the innovations and pathways to policy change, and analysing which policies and practices will lead to social, economic and ecological justice. Drawing on numerous policy innovations from the South, the report goes beyond buzzwords and brings to the development community a definition of transformation which can be used as a benchmark for policy making toward the 2030 Agenda, intended to “leave no one behind”. Bringing together five years of UNRISD research across six areas—social policy, care policy, social and solidarity economy, eco-social policy, domestic resource mobilization, and politics and governance—the report explores what transformative change really means for societies and individuals.



New trends and innovations in social policy

Since the 1990s, the “social turn”—a combination of shifts in ideas and policies that reasserted social issues in development agendas—has brought about various changes and reforms in a wide range of social policy institutions and instruments. Innovations in social policy that bode well for transformative change include the increasing trend toward universalization (leaving no one behind); better integration of policy instruments (or policy coherence) between the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development; more inclusive forms of participation in policy design and implementation; new forms of partnership; and new directions in global and regional social policy. While currently facing strong headwinds, the social turn needs to be sustained, reinvigorated and, ultimately, broadened into an eco-social turn.


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