The UN and Regional Social Policy

  • Bob Deacon
Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR, volume 3)


In this short chapter, I want to argue that although a set of global social reform policies might be the best way to fashion a socially just globalisation, a more politically viable strategy might be to concentrate on building effective regional social policies. I will further show that such regional health, education and social protection policies are being developed by many regional associations of government. I will then demonstrate that the UN regional commissions and the regional offices of the UN social agencies (ILO, UNESCO, UNDP, WHO) have with a few exceptions not been at the forefront of these new progressive regional social policies. I add my voice to the call for these UN actors to redirect their efforts around actually existing regional associations of government rather than continuing to focus their social policy interventions on single countries within merely geographically defined regions.


Regional Integration Social Agency Regional Association Southern African Development Community African Union 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Chalmers, D., & Lodge, M. (2003). The open method of coordination and the European Welfare State. ESRC Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation Discussion Papers (11). London: London School of Economics.Google Scholar
  2. De la Porte, C., & Nanz, P. (2004). The OMC: A deliberative-democratic mode of governance? The case of employment and pensions. Journal of European Public Policy, 11(2), 267–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Deacon, B. (2001). The social dimension of regionalism. Globalism and Social Policy Programme (GASPP) Occasional Paper (8). Helsinki: National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES).Google Scholar
  4. Deacon, B. (2007). Global social policy and governance. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Deacon, B., & Macovei, M. C. (2009). Regional social policy from above: International organizations and regional social policy. In B. Deacon, M. C. Macovei, L. Van Langenhove, & N. Yeates (Eds.), World-regional social policy and global governance (pp. 40–62). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Deacon, B., Yeates, N., & Van Langenhove, L. (2006). Social dimensions of regional integration. A high level symposium organised by UNESCO, MERCOSUR, GASPP and UNU-CRIS. Conclusions, UNU-CRIS Occasional Papers (O-2006/13).Google Scholar
  7. Deacon, B., Ortiz, I., & Zelenev, S. (2007). Regional social policy, UNDESA Working Paper (37).Google Scholar
  8. ECA. (2007). Assessment of progress on regional integration in Africa. Fifth Session of the Committee on Trade, Regional Cooperation and Integration (E/ECA/CRTCI/5/5). Addis Ababa: ECA.Google Scholar
  9. ECLAC. (2006, June 14–15). Report of the High-Level Ministerial Dialogue – Social Security and Sustainable Social Development in the Caribbean. St. John’s: ECLAC.Google Scholar
  10. ESCAP. (2007). Ten as one: Challenges and opportunities for ASEAN integration. ESCAP Series on Inclusive Sustainable Development (1). Bangkok.Google Scholar
  11. ESCWA. (2005). Towards integrated social policies in Arab countries: Framework and comparative analysis (E/ESCWA/SDD/2005/4). New York/Geneva: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).Google Scholar
  12. ESCWA. (2008a). The social policy report II: From concept to practice, Aide Memoire for the Expert Group Meeting. Amman: ESCWA.Google Scholar
  13. ESCWA. (2008b). Integrated social policy report II: From concept to practice. New York: UN-ESCWA.Google Scholar
  14. Held, D. (2004). Global covenant. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ocampo, J. A., & Martin, J. (2003). Globalization and development: A Latin American and Caribbean perspective. Santiago de Chile: ECLAC.Google Scholar
  16. UNSG. (2006). Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development, Report of the Secretary-General (E/2006/55). Geneva: UN Economic and Social Council.Google Scholar
  17. UNU-CRIS. (2008). Deepening the social dimensions of regional integration. IILS Discussion Paper (188). Geneva: ILO – International Institute for Labour Studies.Google Scholar
  18. WCSDG. (2004). A fair globalisation: Creating opportunities for all. Geneva: International Labour Office/World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation.Google Scholar
  19. Yeates, N. (2001). Globalisation and social policy. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Yeates, N. (2005). Globalisation and Social Policy in a Development Context: Regional Responses. Social Policy and Development Programme Paper (18). Geneva: UNRISD.Google Scholar
  21. Yeates, N. (Ed.). (2008). Understanding global social policy. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  22. Yeates, N., & Deacon, B. (2006). Globalism, Regionalism and Social Policy: Framing the Debate (O/2006–6). UNU-CRIS Occasional Papers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bob Deacon
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)BrugesBelgium

Personalised recommendations