xSDG UnConference: Making global development inclusive

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J-PAL South Asia is collaborating with Belongg, Dalberg Advisors and Breakthrough to host the inaugural edition of the xSDG UnConference on designing inclusive social programs and policies to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

The United Nations seeks to end poverty by 2030 as part of the SDGs. But people experiencing poverty often face discrimination due to their gender, sexual orientation, race, caste, religion, disability and age. These identity-markers are often overlooked in the planning, design, and implementation of social programs and policies that seek to improve their conditions.

The xSDG UnConference will curate ideas on developing policies that meet the unique needs of these disadvantaged groups.The event will have a series of 20 virtual panels comprising 60 speakers from around the world specializing in development policy, gender issues, migration and advocacy. 

J-PAL South Asia will host five virtual panels which will attempt to identify the gaps in research and policymaking in relation to disadvantaged groups, along with proposals to make them more inclusive. 

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Panels organized by J-PAL South Asia

J-PAL South Asia will host five virtual panels which will attempt to identify the gaps in research and policymaking in relation to disadvantaged groups, along with proposals to make them more inclusive. 

Inclusive SDG programing within fragile environments
August 23 | 6:30 – 8:00 pm IST  (1:00 – 2:30 pm GMT; 9:00 – 10:30 am EDT)

Speakers:  Amna Fatani (Community Jameel), Eva Kaplan (International Rescue Committee), Reefat Bin Sattar (Save the Children-Bangladesh), Sule Alan (European University Institute & J-PAL)

Moderator: Alison Fahey (J-PAL MENA)

Millions of people in the world are living in fragile settings today. The combination of political conflict and climate change present a big challenge to vulnerable population groups, particularly the refugees. There are a range of programs for such population groups, but the degree to which these programs affect and shape these vulnerable populations is not well known. How can we understand the challenges faced by these communities better? How can programs be better designed and delivered? What roles does everyone need to play?

Gender mainstreaming: Centering women in policymaking
August 24 | 6:15 – 7:15 pm IST (12:45 – 1:45 pm GMT; 8:45 – 9:45 am EDT)

Speakers: Dipta Bhog (The Third Eye Portal), Noopur Jhunjhunwala (UN Women), Seema Jayachandran (Northwestern University & J-PAL) 

Moderator: Anna Rego (J-PAL South Asia)

Prevailing social and cultural norms often threaten the success of the programs meant to improve the conditions of women - a big barrier to the SDGs. This panel will discuss the importance of making policies that give special attention to the needs of women.

xSDG Research Showcase: Identifying and Mitigating Prejudice
August 25 |  2:00 – 3:30 pm IST (8:30 – 10 am GMT; 4:30 – 6:00 am EDT)

Speakers:  Aditi Priya (KREA University), Anagha Ingole (University of Hyderabad), Deepti Goel (Azim Premji University), Moulshri Mohan (J-PAL South Asia), Namitha Sadanand (J-PAL South Asia), Naveen Bharathi (Harvard University), Nicholas Haas (Aarhus University), Prashant Tambe (Independent Researcher), Roshni Sinha (J-PAL South Asia), Victoire Girard (Nova School of Business and Economics)

Moderator: Urvashi Wattal (J-PAL South Asia)

Identity markers such as gender, sexual orientation, race, caste, disability, faith, and age often determine the success of the social programs designed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. J-PAL South Asia is partnering with Ideas for India to present insights from 10 innovative research papers exploring the links between identity and discrimination, and the ways they hinder the progress towards the SDGs. 

From research to action: Designing inclusive policies
August 26 | 5:30 – 7:00 pm IST (12:00 – 1:30 pm GMT; 8:00 – 9:30am EDT)

Speakers: Ashwini Deshpande (Ashoka University), Bezwada Wilson (Safai Karmachari Andolan), Meera Shenoy (Youth4Jobs), Noreen Giga (J-PAL North America)
Moderator: Sharanya Chandran (J-PAL South Asia) 

Designing inclusive policies requires the generators, funders and users of research within policymaking to adopt a truly intersectional lens for social programmes. What are the challenges in the research-to-action funnel for intersectional policymaking and what shifts do different actors need to make? What are some successful examples of this?

Designing inclusive MEL systems for SDGs: Measurement, Innovations and Challenges
August 27 | 5:30 – 7:00 pm IST (12:00 – 1:30 pm GMT; 7:30 – 9:30am EDT)

Speakers: Mehjabeen Jagmag (Oxford Policy Management), Naomi Falkenburg (Independent Consultant), Sarah Barr (Start Network)
Moderator: Tithee Mukhopadhyay (J-PAL South Asia)

Leaving no one behind lies at the heart of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. But growing data inequity and measurement challenges impede truly inclusive SDG initiatives and our ability to effectively measure the efficacy of our humanitarian and developmental effort. When we think about multiple and intersecting identities, goals driving inclusion may become more complex. To rise up to this challenge, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) systems will need to be significantly more granular with the right questions being asked, data being gathered and analysed. This panel will focus on various questions on design of MEL systems, such as an assessment of our current MEL practices, challenges to achieving meaningful inclusion, and innovations in improving inclusive measurement.

Featured Speakers and Moderators

Aditi Priya

Aditi Priya
Senior Research Associate, LEAD at KREA University

Alison Fahey

Alison Fahey
Interim Executive Director, J-PAL Middle East and North America

Amna Fatani

Amna Fatani
Associate Director, Strategy, Community Jameel

Anna Rego

Anna Rego
Policy Manager, J-PAL South Asia

Ashwini Deshpande

Ashwini Deshpande
Professor of Economics, Ashoka University
 

Bezwada Wilson

Bezwada Wilson
Founder and National Convenor, Safai Karmachari Andolan

Dipta Bhog

Dipta Bhog
Head of Research, Innovation and Partnerships, The Third Eye Portal
 

Meera Shenoy

Meera Shenoy
Founder, Youth4Jobs

Moulshri Mohan Headshot

Moulshri Mohan
Policy & Training Manager, J-PAL South Asia

Namitha Sadanand

Namitha Sadanand
Policy & Training Manager, J-PAL South Asia

Nicholas Haas

Nicholas Haas
Assistant Professor, Aarhus University

Noopur Jhunjhunwala

Noopur Jhunjhunwala
Monitoring, Evaluation and Partnerships Coordinator, UN Women India
 

Noreen Giga Headshot

Noreen Giga
Research Manager, J-PAL North America

Prashant Tambe

Prashant Tambe
Independent Researcher

Headshot of Roshni Sinha

Roshni Sinha
Policy Manager, J-PAL South Asia

Seema Jayachandran

Seema Jayachandran
Professor of Economics, Northwestern University; Research Affiliate, J-PAL
 

Sharanya Chandran

Sharanya Chandran
Associate Director, Policy, J-PAL South Asia

Sule Alan

Sule Alan
Professor of Economics, European University Institute; Research Affiliate, J-PAL
 

Headshot of Tithee Mukhopadhyay

Tithee Mukhopadhyay
Director, Research, J-PAL South Asia

Urvashi Wattal

Urvashi Wattal
Senior Policy and Training Manager, J-PAL South Asia
 

We look forward to you joining us at xSDG unConference 2021! For more information, please contact Urvashi Wattal at [email protected]