Identifying the current state of activities and research on the role of business in poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
IRIS was commissioned by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to complete a comprehensive scan of current activities, publications, and research relating to the role of the private sector and development.
Context of the Research
For most of the second half of the last century, international development policy was driven by two world views. On one hand, the development community, led by the United Nations, pursued a path toward global equity and social justice. On the other, the Bretton Woods institutions pursued pro-market, private sector oriented approaches to development.
Although there has been a long history of misunderstanding and conflict between these two approaches, a period of rapprochement began in the mid-1990s with each approach beginning to discover value in the other.
The launch of the UN Global Compact by Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2000 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 marked significant milestones for recognizing the important role that the private sector can play in contributing to sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The 2004 Report of the UN Commission on the Private Sector and Development, Unleashing Entrepreneurship, emphasized the essential role that local private sector entrepreneurs play in growing dynamic, sustainable and competitive economies that create sustainable livelihoods, put people to work and raise standards of living.