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UN Reflection Series 2015

22 24 October 2015

Call for Papers

Deadline: 23 May 2015
The UN Reflection Series is an annual learning
event organized by the United Nations System
Staff College (UNSSC). It provides UN staff
members and partners the opportunity to learn
about and discuss contemporary international
development issues, and promotes knowledge
sharing in a non-UN setting. The UN Reflection
Series facilitates interaction with renowned
experts and practitioners to exchange
knowledge and build strategies for the future.
The UN Reflections Series 2015 on the subject
of Middle Income Countries is organized by
UNSSC in cooperation with the Hertie School of
Governance and with support from the UN
Development Operations Coordination Office
(UNDOCO). It will take place on 22 24 October
2015 in Berlin.

Background: According to World Bank figures,

Middle Income Countries (defined as countries
with a per capita gross national income of
$1,026 to $12,475) are home to five of the
worlds seven billion people and 73% of the
worlds poor people. Since 2000, 28 countries,
including India, Nigeria and Pakistan, have
graduated into middle income status.

Development Cooperation,
Policy Advice and
Middle Income Countries

Over 57% ($56bn) of official development

assistance (ODA) and aid was spent in Middle
Income Countries in 2012.
Some are talking about working with Middle
income countries as the new normal, but the
development community still has work to do in
understanding and addressing the commonalities
and differences between Middle Income
Countries. Where there are commonalities, the
development community can work more
A consensus has already been formed that in
addressing the priorities and challenges of Middle
Income Countries, development actors must move
towards upstream engagement and policy advice.
Further understanding about what this means in
practice is necessary for development partners to
facilitate adaptation.
Often discussions centre on issues of dwindling
resources/ODA for development assistance in
MICs, and this is of course a genuine issue for
debate. But there is another important issue to
focus on, a more substantive one which is focused
on the quality and nature of support delivered in
MICs by external partners and how this interacts
with governments own capacities, systems and

UN Reflection
Series 2015
This is the question the UN Reflection series will
focus on, and it goes beyond the size of the
resource envelope into the particular
requirements a group of MICs may have in
areas where partners are typically not
providing policy advisory services.
In other words, are partners able to switch from
what one could call bricks and mortar
approaches to development to sophisticated
catalytic support that will help countries get out
of the middle income trap?
The World Bank refers to some of the
challenges to be tackled as second generation
development challenges, and it includes a
focus on ageing populations, pension reform,
competitiveness, trade and tax policy, financial
literacy, green growth and urbanisation. These
challenges are neither universal in Middle
Income Countries, nor do they represent the
only challenges in these countries. But they
highlight critical areas of support that could be
new to some of the development partners,
including the UN field oriented Agencies.
Development partners must build their own
capacity to provide effective policy advisory
services in these (new) areas. And, with
institutions like the UN, it is vital that it does so
building on its normative role as a real
comparative advantage.

Development Cooperation,
Policy Advice and
Middle Income Countries

Call for Papers: In preparation for the UN Reflection

Series we invite papers by academics and
practitioners from both inside and outside of the UN
system. Submissions could focus on, among others:

The changing role and operational setup of the

UN in Middle Income Countries; and
Second-generation development challenges in
Middle Income Countries; and
The changing role of bilateral donors,
multilaterals and civil society in Middle Income

A selected set of papers will be published in a special

publication by the UNSSC and the Hertie School of
Governance for circulation among the UN
Development Group and to feed into global policy
discussions among UN member states in 2015 and
Submission of Abstracts: Submissions of 500 word
abstracts (pdf files) are expected by 23 May 2015.
Abstracts should outline the specific focus of the
paper within one of the topic areas stated above.
Abstracts should be sent to developmenthumanrights@unssc.org.
Selection: A selection from the abstracts will be made
representatives from the UNSSC, UNDOCO and the
Hertie School of Governance. Selected authors will be
informed before 10th June and are expected to
provide a 3000-5000 word paper by the 17th of
August. For selected authors, funding for travel and
accommodation will be available. Authors from
within the UN system will be provided with travel
and DSA as per UN regulations.