“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
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)
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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?