The Sustainable Development Goals are admirable and necessary –still, they are more an agenda than a set of concrete policies. In a new report, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRIDS) shares examples of strategies and real policies to achieve the global objectives by 2030.
Launched on the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, October 17, Walking the Talk, the UNRIDS report on Policy Innovations for Transformative Change, brought a clear message to the governments and stakeholders involved in the implementation of the SDGs, engaging them to act on turning the agenda into fact. Displaying a full range of case studies along with a research-based social policy innovation approach, the report offers sustainable development, social care and economic solidarity solutions through the lens of transformative change.
Katja Rujo, the report coordinator for UNRIDS, asserted that transformative change digs to the roots of poverty, inequality and environmental destruction and is thus more effective than simply treating their symptoms. Palliative and one-size-fits-all interventions, for instance, are not enough; innovative and eco-social policies are more effective, as long as they promote sustainable production and consumption, power re-configurations and changes in economic and social structures.
Such programs are currently implemented in Brazil and India where an integrated approach that aims to achieve both social and environmental goals has been adopted. In Brazil, for instance, a program established in 2011 provides financial incentives to families that make a living out of collected forest products in return for a commitment to adopt a sustainable use of natural resources. In India, again, the law guarantees at least 100 days of paid employment each year for every rural household that focuses on water security, soil conservation and higher land productivity.
On the care system side, the Uruguayan program Sistema Nacional de Cuidado enrolls young children and adults with specific needs or disabilities in the solidarity system, providing them with a minimum life quality standards. The program is a result of a broad political mobilization which includes social movements, women legislators and academics.
Isabel Ortiz, Director of the Social Protection Department with the International Labour Organization (ILO), pointed out that transformative change is a policy that reflects a new paradigm formed in the early 2000s in line with the SDGs. “It is the concept that social, economic and environmental issues are integrated, and that we should create policies and safety networks for everybody, not only the poor”, she explained.
The six keys areas mapped by the report are social policy, care, climate change, domestic resource mobilization, governance and social and solidarity economy. This multidisciplinary approach opens the gates to solutions in all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It requires, however, a commitment from all actors on local, national, regional and global levels. “In 2016, 132 countries are cutting their budgets – not only in rich Europe but in many developing countries. How to implement SDGs in this scenario?”, asks Isabel. The answer might lie in innovation and efficiency – and research plays a vital role in this equation.
Written by Vivian Soares