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Combating Poverty & Inequality, UNRISD Research and Policy Brief 10 (2010)

Combating Poverty & Inequality, UNRISD Research and Policy Brief 10 (2010)

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08/18/2011

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UNRISD Research and Policy Brief
10
Combating Poverty and Inequality
UNRISD research highlights three crucial elements of a sustainable andinclusive development strategy: sustained growth and structural change that create jobs and improved earnings for the vast majority of people;comprehensive social policies that are grounded in universal rights;and civic activism and political arrangements that ensure states areresponsive to the needs of all citizens.
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UNRISD Research on Poverty Reduction (2006–2010)
UNRISD research engages with current policy debates on poverty reduction from a developmentaland social policy perspective. It has assessed a range of contemporary approaches to poverty reduction;identified key institutional, policy and political issues that are not being addressed in current povertyreduction strategies; and examined the contradictions, complementarities and synergies betweendifferent components of “policy regimes”, including social, labour market and macroeconomic policies,and political and regulatory institutions.The research has involved two sets of activities. The first, under the project
Poverty Reduction and Policy Regimes
, has involved in-depth case studies in Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Kenya, Malaysia, SouthAfrica and Taiwan Province of China; and country overview papers on China, Finland, Ireland, theRepublic of Korea, Mozambique, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam and the former Soviet Union.The second has been the preparation of the forthcoming UNRISD flagship report,
Combating Poverty and Inequality 
, which brings together inputs from the case studies and overview papers, 41 speciallycommissioned background papers, and research across all UNRISD programmes. The report will bepublished in September 2010.For resources and further reading, visit www.unrisd.org/poverty
The IssueThe IssueThe IssueThe IssueThe Issue
Poverty reduction is a central feature of theinternational development agenda. A number of key social development objectives were agreed byworld leaders at the Millennium Summit, with thegoal of significantly reducing poverty by 2015.What then accounts for the persistence of povertywhen concern for its reduction has been high onthe policy agenda?
Research FindingsResearch FindingsResearch FindingsResearch FindingsResearch Findings
In contrast to the experiences of countries thatwere successful historically in reducing poverty andinequality, contemporary poverty reductionstrategies have increasingly focused on “targetingthe poor”. Such approaches often fail to considerkey institutional, policy and political dimensionsthat may be both causes of poverty and inequality,and obstacles to their reduction. They run counterto the evidence from countries that havesuccessfully reduced poverty over relatively shorttime periods. UNRISD research shows instead thatprogress has occurred principally through state-directed strategies which combine economicdevelopment objectives with active social policiesin ways that are mutually supportive. It also showshow poverty outcomes are shaped by complexinterconnections of ideas, institutions, policies andpractices in the social, economic and politicalspheres.The research highlights the following crucialelements of a sustainable and inclusivedevelopment strategy:
patterns of growth and structural change
(whetherin the agricultural, industrial or service sectors)that generate and sustain jobs that are adequatelyremunerated and accessible to all, regardless of income or class status, gender, ethnicity orlocation;
comprehensive social policies
that are groundedin universal rights and that are supportive of structural change, social cohesion and democraticpolitics; and

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