1. “Collaboration and sharing of data, tools, and research capacities to inform future food security strategies” Michael Johnson International Food Policy research Institute February 7th, 2012 “Food Secure Arab World: A Roadmap for Policy and Research”, UN- ESCWA, Beirut, LebanonINTERNATIONAL FOOD POLICY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
2. Motivation & Context Translating evidence into policy action – to strengthen and impact on food security and economic growth in the region Large benefits to had from enhancing the spillover of knowledge and analysis across countries facing similar policy challenges and opportunities Generating regional and international public goods (knowledge products, capacity strengthening, and outreach)
3. Motivation & Context #1 “Translating Evidence into Action” Links between research and policy tends to be weak – different capacities, cultures and incentives: • On supply side - capacity to generate sufficient, relevant and credible evidence • On demand side – capacity among policymakers to demand and use research Research, including data collection and analysis tend to suffer from a shortage of attention and resources. Knowledge sharing is often minimal, with different agencies sometimes carrying out parallel and overlapping processes of information gathering and analysis.
4. Motivation & Context #2 “Enhancing knowledge spillovers” Underlying biophysical, climatic, and socio-economic characteristics – across borders (similar and diverse) Political, economic and social ties - variations Some common problems and emerging issues, policy, and investment options for ensuring food and nutrition security Diversities in stages of economic development and experiences Variations in state of poverty and food insecurity (depth, distribution) Research and technical capacities (individuals & institutions) Knowledge base and data systems
5. Motivation & Context #3 “Generating public goods” Evidence-based dialogue and knowledge sharing among researchers, practitioners and policy makers on key policy challenges - to contribute to improved food security outcomes Regional and global platforms for exchange of knowledge, data, analysis, tools, and outreach - to encourage greater development partner coordination Collaborative research outputs and sharing lessons of practice and data (working papers, policy briefs, web-based tools) - strengthening national and regional capacities
6. Translating evidence into action “when evidence matters” It is less politically contentious (e.g. in the design of policy instruments), thus playing a marginal role to politics It is accidental or purposefully, so long as there is a policy window of opportunity It supports a specific political viewpoint It satisfies a number of criteria – it is relevant, credible and salient by policy makers
7. Translating evidence into action “Understanding the policy process matters a great deal” Social aspects... multiple actors and actor networks who are defined by local political, social (cultural and belief systems), as well as institutional (bureaucratic structures and capacities) realities. Human behavior... because they are rooted in people, vested interests, corruption, and external influence can sometimes play a distinct role Politics.. Power relations and ideas are particularly important – easily superseding any credible evidence.
8. One way of bringing evidence into the policy process - the boundary networkLocal policy process External Influencesfor planning, Regional , International (e.g. Worldimplementation, and Bank, UN/FAO, donors, academicM&E of ARD & research institutions, NGOs,strategies (not private sector)necessarily circular orlinear as illustratedhere) Office of the President; Knowledge System / Government ministries Strategic of ARD, Finance, and Dialogue Development Planning; Analysis departments, agencies Links Network local farmers & Local academic & trader associations, research institutions, practitioners, policy analysts, private think tanks, sector,NGOs, statisticial bureaus media, civil society Capacity Strengthening
9. Examples Africa Model (ReSAKSS-Africa) – launched in 2006 and established to support the Africa Union and NEPAD’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). Asia Model (ReSAKSS_Asia) – in its infancy, to be officially launched this year.
10. ReSAKSS-Africa Support to CAADP Informing and supporting country and multi-country supra- natural strategy development processes – integration with the CAADP agenda and process CONTINENT-WIDE LEVEL Support for Policy Dialogue and Mutual Review Providing analysis, data, interactive REGIONAL LEVEL IT-based tools, and capacity support Support for to promote evidence-based policy Regional Coordination and planning and implementation Peer Review associated with the CAADP agenda. COUNTRY LEVEL Support for planning, Implementation, & Progress Review
12. ReSAKSS-Asia Conference
13. ReSAKSS-AsiaWeb Portal
14. Reflecting on lessons Networking and dialogue with local policy makers, analysts, and existing networks is essential during the early stages Having local champions has had an important impact on the effectiveness and speed of implementation – especially on Steering/Advisory Committee Stronger ties with local partner institutions and government bodies (ownership) Ability to maintain quality products produced in close collaboration with local partners and institutions—raises credibility and relevance Multiple donor support and sufficient levels of resources
15. Lessons also raise research questions What’s the existing tools and network in the region? What drives the interactions in ReSAKSS networks? What factors constrain their ability to function well (such as incentives, institutional affiliations and tensions, transaction costs, competitiveness, different underlying development paradigms, values, and approaches)? Does the type of membership mix in the networks affect the credibility of the analysis? How can the ReSAKSS balance the supply of credible information (which is limited) with its demand (which is almost endless)? How to incorporate knowledge and research evidence in policy process? Can those who seek the information most also pay for it? If not, what are the tradeoffs for accepting external donor involvement and influence?