Opening the door to society’s most vulnerable: Social inclusion topic of latest Development and Transition
NEW YORK/BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – 3 June 2010 – Eastern Europe and Central Asia risk creating a ‘lost generation’ unless policies can bring excluded populations back from the margins of society, according to the latest issue of Development and Transition published by UNDP and the London School of Economics (LSE). Read: Development and Transition issue 15: Social Inclusion Watch: videos on social inclusion and the launch of the latest issue of Development and Transition in Moscow View: photos from the launch
According to data featured in Development and Transition, more than half of survey respondents from Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan report being 'very worried' about making ends meet. This share rises to two thirds in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia—a country currently negotiating to become a member of the European Union (EU).
Too often social safety nets do not protect those most in need. Two thirds or more of survey respondents in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, as well as in Tajikistan, say they would lose their social insurance if they lose their jobs.
"Demographic and other pressures on public expenditures often leave the elderly, people with disabilities, or families with multiple dependents and care responsibilities in poverty," write James Hughes and Ben Slay of LSE and UNDP, respectively.
Social inclusion—a paradigm rooted in Western European social democratic traditions but rarely applied to middle or low income transition and developing economies—can help to better address complex problems of poverty and exclusion, Development and Transition authors argue.
Social inclusion refers to processes ensuring that those at risk of poverty and marginalization gain the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in social, economic, cultural and political life, and to enjoy standards of living and welfare that are considered normal in the society in which they live. It underscores the importance of helping vulnerable individuals to enjoy opportunities for greater participation in decision-making, which affects their lives and their ability to enjoy fundamental rights.
Research published in Development and Transition also suggests that tensions between rich and poor have begun to overtake ethnic tensions as the main threat to social solidarity in some post-conflict Balkan countries, as well as new EU member states.
"Despite the legacies left by the Balkan wars of the 1990s, citizens in three out of four Western Balkan countries perceive socioeconomic factors as the chief threat to social cohesion," writes Lidija Japec.
The latest edition of Development and Transition zeroes in on different policy choices in countries in the Western Balkans, Central Asia as well as Cyprus and new EU member states. It also explores the evolving role and policies of the EU when it comes to social inclusion and includes initial findings from the upcoming UNDP Regional Human Development Report on social inclusion.
About the newsletter: Development and Transition is a forum for policy-oriented discussions and debates about how the nature, evolution and challenges of development and transition intersect in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and also in Turkey.
About UNDP: UNDP is the UN’s global network, helping people meet their development needs and build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working as a trusted partner with governments, civil society and the private sector to help them build their own solutions to global and national development challenges. Further information can be found at www.undp.org.
About LSE: The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a world-class centre for its concentration of teaching and research across the full range of the social, political, and economic sciences. Founded in 1895 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, LSE has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence. From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analyzed, evaluated and disseminated around the globe.
|What is social inclusion? UNDP's Susanne Milcher explains. She also provides an overview of the latest edition of Development and Transition.|
Launch of Development and Transition in Moscow 3 June, 2010
In Russian language
Development and Transition issue 15 - June 2010 (English, 2.5 Mb)
Development and Transition issue 15 - June 2010 (Russian, 1.9 Mb)
Radio Liberty programme transcript "Who society isolates and why," featuring UNDP's Ben Slay and Andrey Ivanov (Russian)
The UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre and the Human Development Report Office in partnership with the UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS, the Master's of Public Affairs (MPA) of Sciences Po and the Human Development Centre of Moscow State University offers researchers from different disciplines free access to a unique UNDP/UNICEF 2010 survey data on social exclusion covering Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Ukraine. A prize will be awarded to the outstanding paper - the winning paper and other valuable contributions will be presented at an international conference on social inclusion. >> Details
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