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Alan Fowler
Professor emeritus, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
The Netherlands, 02-04-2015

The right kind of leverage: integrating vertical and horizontal policies for inclusion


Exclusion and marginalisation are the human faces of political designs. Deep histories determine what exclusion means, who it effects, how and why. While political dispensations are not static, the responsibility for their change belongs to the citizens of a country, not to external agencies.

Countering the consequences of a reduced aid budget calls for the principle of leverage to gain multiplier effects. This is best done by well-considered investments which further stimulate and co-steer ongoing initiatives that are designed with inclusion in mind.  Three types of existing initiatives, operating at different scales and time frames, would offer this potential for a coherent and comprehensive inclusion policy. These are: (a) shared value for corporations; (b) micro-level community foundations; and (c) social solidarity economy. Each is briefly explained with links to knowledge resources.

Creating Shared Value (CSV) is a concept with expanding adoption by corporations as a strategic business model. It differs from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) (Moore, 2014) and goes further than voluntary signing up to the United Nations Global Compact as a platform to interface with the business community world wide

The fundamental distinction is that CSR is about doing something separate from the business and CSV is about integrating social and environmental impact into the business, using that integration to drive economic value. (The Non Profit Times, 2014)

Though not without its critics, CSV is an opportunity to create stronger inclusion-oriented incentives, which will vary country by country, excluded group by group and value chain by value chain. When the socio-economic factors are carefully conceived, CSV-related types of investment can have a relatively short time horizon for implementation with the potential for enduring inclusion outcomes.

A horizontal complement to the verticality of CSV is the social-group sensitivity of community foundations. Now numbering close to two thousand, these micro-forms of resource mobilization and local investment have local affinities required to relate to and involve ‘horizontaly’ discriminated and marginalised groups. Here, in-country funds with inclusion-determined criteria could support community foundations, encouraging situation-specific ways of working on both material and psycho-social dimensions of exclusion.

Expansion of community foundations across the world show their adaptability in shedding an American history and initial modelling. These are proven vehicles for sensitive multiplication of more horizontal development practices with a learning potential. As with CSV, these investments can demonstrate short term gains with potential long term effects in the self-regard of marginalised groups and their role as active citizens. A policy strategy would ‘scale out’ of the number of community foundations in geographies with a high density of excluded groups.

A long term, integrated and structural policy strategy to combat social exclusion is inherent to a Social Solidarity Economy (SSE). Activated by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) the principles and practices of SSD are now a formal part of United Nations outreach. One strand informing SSE is research and learning about the emergence of socially inclusive policies being adopted by developing countries as potential sources of knowledge that can inform international aid.  In other words, to ‘horizontalise’ a past vertical tendency to transfer donor’s domestic policies into development cooperation which resonates with the South-South dynamics of experience sharing increasingly in play The Netherlands could be pivotal in giving added impetus to the SSE initiative gaining a multiplier through existing members of the Task Force.

This combination can positively connect the trade and the development responsibilities of the Minister’s portfolio with potentials to increase impact and value for money.

 

TOPICS: Private sector

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Promoting inclusiveness in the Dutch policy agenda on trade and international cooperation

This contribution is part of a consultation for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on how to promote inclusiveness in the Dutch policy agenda on trade and international cooperation.
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