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The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is "an autonomous United Nations agency that carries out research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development" . The Institute was established in 1963.
Over the years, UNRISD research has been guided by two core values: that every human being has a right to a decent livelihood and that all people should be allowed to participate on equal terms in decisions that affect their lives. The challenge for research is not only to reinforce and help operationalize these values, but also to expose the extent to which they are ignored.
For more than 40 years, UNRISD has engaged exclusively in research on social development and remains the only United Nations organization that does so. The Institute is an autonomous organization within the United Nations system. It is associated with no single specialized agency, it is restricted to no narrow field of concern, and its work is not bound by the bureaucratic or political constraints that frequently characterize many intergovernmental agencies.
UNRISD is an unusually open space for research and dialogue. This provides both an opportunity and an obligation to question prevailing mindsets within the development community and to encourage new thinking. The Institute conducts rigorous comparative research in collaboration with scholars and activists, primarily in the developing world, whose ideas are not sufficiently reflected in current debates. Strong ties to the global research community combined with proximity to the UN system are the comparative advantages of the Institute and help it to carry out policy-relevant research on issues of social development.
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