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UNDP’s Poverty in Focus Magazine Focuses on Social Sustainability

Poverty in Focus - Issue #23November 2011: The latest issue of the Poverty in Focus magazine, published by the International Policy Centre (IPC) of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), looks at the inter-related dimensions of growth, gender, poverty and environment, including climate change mitigation and adaptation related issues.

The 23rd edition of the magazine aims to contribute to the dialogue around the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and the ongoing discussions around a post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Agenda. It links future development to sustainability and particularly to social sustainability. Looking beyond the critical issues of carbon footprints, low-carbon development, green economy and the economics behind saving the planet, it draws attention back to the continuing challenge of ensuring that growth and development deliver for the poor and vulnerable. The issue notes that social sectors have remained peripheral to many debates at national and global levels, and that the relationship among the three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental – have been characterized by tension rather than reconciliation.

Two authors, Gabriel Labbate and Kishan Khoday, note that the environment and society are organic system constantly in flux and change and that there is no ideal state of sustainable development. One of the authors, Lucy Wanjiru, raises the profile of gender equality as an important condition for a green economy.

Other articles argue for a representative state and a complementary role of civil society and the private sector to help define and achieve sustainable development. They stress the need for global policies, such as a climate change legal framework, and for a focus on long-term gains. The continuous exposure of small island developing States (SIDS) to external shocks is also highlighted. Various pieces also underscore the importance of adaptation and resilience-building.

The issues raised in the issue emphasize that transnational, regional and global concerns will increasingly influence national policy. It concludes that there can be no green economy without an international enabling environment, particularly focusing on trade, which can facilitate countries' investments to support development activities. [Publication:  Dimensions of Inclusive Development, Poverty in Focus No 23, UNDP International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth]