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Policy innovations for transformative change

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UNRISD Flagship Report 2016
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
Publication Date: 
17 Oct 2016



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. 

Transformative change

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. It provides guidance on how to turn the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs into concrete actions that:

  • go beyond palliative approaches to substantively and sustainably address the root causes of poverty, inequality and environmental destruction;
  • are integrated, innovative and policy-driven, and demonstrate an eco-social turn in discourse and practice;
  • are informed by inclusive, multi-level partnerships; and
  • are grounded in evidence and normative values such as social justice and sustainability.

Please see 'Chapter 3: Care policies: Realizing their transformative potential' on page 87 of the full report which outlines the role that early childhood education and care policies play in transformational change. 

Authors highlight in this chapter that "care policies lie at the intersection of the social, the economic and even the environmental dimensions of sustainable development. They include:

  • early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, and care services for sick, disabled and older persons—policies that redistribute some of the caregivers’ workload from the private to the public sphere;
  • an array of income security and social protection policies, including cash transfer programmes, public works, pensions and income security for children and their families; and
  • labour market policies, including maternity benefits and parental leave.