The current design of UK public policy and mainstream political and social discourse has consistently equated paid work with good citizenship and desirable parenting. The article presents findings from a recent qualitative study that explores how lone mothers with different moral rationalities judge themselves before and after making a transition from welfare (and being full-time carers) to paid work. The findings suggest that the design of public policy and related discourses worked well with the moral rationalities of some lone mothers who believed that paid work made them better mothers. However, it left others with moral values on direct care behind, as they suffered from physical and emotional exhaustion and feelings of guilt in paid work. The article highlights how dominant ideologies reinforce the pre-existing hierarchy of paid work and care, with the latter being viewed as deserving of less acknowledgement.
Achieving prosperity for all within planetary boundaries requires that governments take wide-ranging transformative action, but achieving ‘triple-wins’ by joining up policies across economic, social and environmental realms can be challenging. A companion analysis undertaken under the ODI Nexus project () analysed key indicators in these realms in lower income countries and identified the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Thailand as front-runners in achieving more holistic development outcomes. Looking deeper at these case studies, we sought to identify national policy interventions that struck a balance between the different realms of development and explored the policy development, legislation and implementation processes required for integrated transformational policy to succeed.
In each we found national-scale, triple-win policies led from the president’s or prime minister’s office. These policies can usually be traced to specific political moments that forced a reckoning with the failures of previous development policy, often resulting in radical change of direction in development planning. Yet, despite the existence of triple-win policies, as of 2019, there was limited evidence of triple-win outcomes being achieved. Instead, the case study countries typically performed well in one or two realms, often to the detriment of progress in the other(s).
We present potential reasons for the lacklustre impact of these policies and conclude with suggestions for future work to outline where in the policy landscape it may be possible to enact transformational nexus policies and how to support them to achieve their outcomes in the timeframes required to ensure equitable prosperity within planetary boundaries.
This article presents a typology to capture varying degrees of inclusive, sustainable economic transformation in low- and middle-income countries. We perform a cluster analysis of these pillars – poverty and inequality, environmental sustainability, and economic transformation – proxied by a set of quantitative indicators with data pooled between 2000 and 2018. This is supported by descriptive analysis of correlations in change over time between indicators as well as an exploration of the contextual risk and governance profiles underpinning these changes. From this analysis, we identify five clusters of countries with a range of outcomes across the three pillars. Countries consistently performing well across the three dimensions are not readily evident, though some countries are able to achieve moderate outcomes. Policy implications point to the need to get the basics right around pro-poor infrastructure development and making certain sectors greener in an effort to advance tripartite gains.
On 6 December 2022, Jakarta passed a controversial law criminalising extramarital sex within Indonesian territories. In this policy article, in response to Indonesia’s recent criminalisation of extramarital sex, the author problematises how such legislation compounds domestic sex workers’ encounters with poverty. Then, the author visits Indonesia’s minimum tolerance of prostitution, arguing how such an impractical policy hinders Jakarta from eradicating the socioeconomic root causes of prostitution. Next, the author suggests policy directions that Jakarta should take into account in order to deconstruct the problems of underprivileged, marginalised and impoverished women and girls entering the sex industry. Here the author emphasises that Indonesia can deny the recognition of prostitutes, but it has to recognise prostitutes as local citizens. Therefore, social protection schemes designated for domestic citizens should be made accessible on a gender-blind basis, regardless of beneficiaries’ socioeconomic backgrounds.
Scholars of childhood typically view children as agentic; poverty researchers, aware that poverty reduces children’s life-chances, may be tempted to consider them as victims. Adults experiencing poverty report feelings of powerlessness, and, by analogy, poverty may reduce children’s agency. However, comparatively little is known about the impact of poverty on child agency or the extent to which children use their agency to mediate the effects of poverty. Therefore, 55 low-income children from two Chinese schools were invited to participate in group discussions and qualitative interviews spread over several hours. Considering poverty to be multidimensional, children identified that their agency was restricted both by poverty and their status as children but argued that they were not without agency. This was confirmed in interviews with parents and teachers. Six strategies were identified that children use to ameliorate poverty’s effects. The strategies group into three pairs, the first strategy in each pair reflecting a child’s decision to accommodate to their circumstances with the second being an attempt to alter them. The first pair (norm adaptation and active communication) comprised coping strategies addressing the present; the second pair (self-improvement and self-sacrifice) were expressions of constructive agency; and the third pair (lowered expectations and rebellion) were partially acts of despair. Giving greater recognition to children’s attempts to improve the lives of their families and themselves may lead to more effective modes of policy intervention.
The new rural development in Vietnam is a large-scale, nationwide programme that involves many stakeholders. The perspectives of these stakeholders, whether they exhibit differences or homogeneity, will significantly shape the programme’s outcomes and results. This study assessed the perspectives of stakeholders and classified them into four categories: (1) the significance of the new rural programme, (2) the role of stakeholders, (3) levels of stakeholders’ participation, and (4) stakeholders’ expectations. The findings indicate that the stakeholders strongly agreed on and appreciated the significance of the new rural programme in improving people’s livelihoods. However, the distinguishing viewpoints focused mainly on the roles and the levels of participation of the stakeholders. Bridging the perceived gap among stakeholders and strengthening the key role of the people are the decisive factors of the programme’s success, contribute to poverty reduction, social justice, and the long-term sustainability of the national target programme for new rural development in Vietnam.
The experience the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture gained through its visits is that there are many serious problems which are not considered to be problems at all and accepted as being ‘just the way things are’. As a result, completely unacceptable forms of ill-treatment are allowed to pass not only unchallenged but even unnoticed by those who are responsible for them. The currently fashionable expression ‘hidden in plain sight’ might seem to sum this up: that we do not notice what is going on right in front of us. This is despite its not being hidden at all and being clearly visible. It is just accepted as acceptable when obviously it is not. This chapter explores this phenomenon and why it can be that states which routinely condemn forms of ill-treatment fail to even recognise it as occurring at all.
This chapter sets out the background to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture (OPCAT) and how it developed over a 25-year period from a proposal to be incorporated into the text of the UN Convention against Torture itself into a freestanding legal instrument establishing the largest and most distinctive of the UN human rights treaty bodies. Along the way, the difficulties faced in bringing this project to fruition also resulted in the adoption of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, and at a very late stage the addition of ‘National Preventive Mechanisms’ into the OPCAT system. It provides an important case study concerning the generation of international human rights instruments over time and provides essential background for understanding the work of the OPCAT system today.
There is a very close connection between ‘accepting the unacceptable’ and ‘excusing the inexcusable’. This chapter highlights how, even when something is known to be wrong – or accepted to be unacceptable – it may just not be considered sufficiently serious to merit notice, attention or comment. As a result, when challenged, often bizarre excuses are offered to justify what those offering them know to be inexcusable. The plausibility of the excuse is less important than the fact of making it, and having been made, it then becomes difficult to accept the need for change at all. A classic and stark example is the extent to which some continue to try to excuse the continued use of torture and ill-treatment itself, despite its prohibition. Critically engaging with such excuses can entrench them, yet the very structure of international human rights protection prompts excuse-making, thus rendering the prevention more complex.