This chapter by Sarah Cook reviews the role of the international organizations in promoting social investment. This chapter explores the ways in which a ‘social investment’ approach and terminology has been adopted and promoted by selected international development organizations, including international financial institutions, the United Nations, European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, as well as some international non-governmental organizations. It focuses on the period since the 1990s, when a ‘social turn’ in development policy emerged as a reaction to the devastating social consequences of Washington Consensus adjustment policies, foreshadowing the global commitment to poverty reduction through the Millenium Development Goals and the evolution of a range of new policy instruments to deliver on this social agenda; most notably through targeted and conditional cash transfers.. International organizations have played a significant role in the spread of such ideas and practices which can be identified with the social investment approach, if not always labelled as such. The widespread promotion of these new instruments in development contexts, however, tends to obscure significant differences in goals, values and approaches among organizations. While often justified in social investment terms, a strong theoretical case for the use of such instruments as development policy is lacking. Instead, the case is largely grounded in evidence of ‘what works’ for short-term results linked to organizational priorities, notably poverty alleviation, impacts on specific groups (women, children) and behavioural change (such as use of health and education services). Key words: social investment, international social welfare, international development organizations
This chapter takes stock of the practical realities and legal framework surrounding religious freedom and persecution in China under the leadership of Xi Jinping with regard to seven major religious groups—Chinese Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Tibetan Buddhism and Falun Gong. The author argues that three features of the environment for religious freedom in China are notable in the context of a discussion of human rights. First, there is a large discrepancy between law and practice, including between China’s international human rights commitments and the day-to-day actions of its government. Second, China is home to ongoing and severe violations of internationally-recognized aspects of religious freedom. Third, while some restrictions on freedom of religious practice and belief touch all faiths in China, there is very uneven implementation of government policies across geographic, ethnic and religious lines, resulting in a wide diversity of treatment and experience among believers.