This chapter examines how the understanding of welfare and social policy issues has evolved in the global development agenda and compares the social approach of the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with that of the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The chapter argues that the new global development framework is shifting beyond a pro-poor redistributive paradigm subscribed to by the MDGs and is moving towards a social development perspective. This new approach incorporates elements of universalism and productivism with a new economic rationale for social policy provision which emphasizes the productive potential of social policy while preserving the objectives of social protection and equity. Through documentary analysis of social policy narratives, the chapter also discusses the extent to which these new ideational and normative changes in international development coincide with perspectives and practices advocated by South_South cooperation players. As a consequence of this shift from ‘poverty reduction’ to ‘development’, this chapter claims that the scholarly analysis of these issues needs to combine elements from the hitherto separate agendas of social policy as well as development studies, in order to capture the breadth of current global development phenomena.
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