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The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is an autonomous UN agency engaging in multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development. Through its research, UNRISD stimulates dialogue and contributes to policy debates on key issues of social development within and outside the United Nations system.
UNRISD was created in 1963 as part of the first United Nations Development Decade. The Decade emphasized a "new approach to development", in which "purely economic indicators of progress were seen to provide only limited insight and might conceal as much as they indicate". UNRISD thus became a pioneer in developing social indicators and broadened the development debate. Since then, the Institute has sought to promote a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to social development by focusing on decision-making processes, often conflicting social forces, and the question of who wins and who loses as economies grow or contract and societies change.