Govt told to Invest in public policy research

KATHMANDU: A two-day workshop entitled “Linking research with policy: Issues and innovation from South Asia” wrapped up today, urging the governments of South Asian countries to increase the level of investment in public policy research along with the promotion of independent think tanks.

Inaugurating the programme, Vice Chairman of National Planning Commission Dr Yuvaraj Khatiwada said, “We need better analysis and evidence to take decisions, and NPC is willing to work with policy think tanks in Nepal to make policy decision-making well-informed.”

Five representatives of scholars, activists and policy makers each deliberated over the problems of policy research, politics of policy making, role of evidence in policy advocacy, the challenges of policy research institutions, and the demand for policy research in unstable states. Twenty-four papers were presented by the experts from Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which covered diverse aspects of linking research with policy.

There was a realisation that too little is being done in Nepal to improve public policy through research and evidence. Most speakers at the opening as well as subsequent technical session agreed that policies are made through political negotiation, without the backing of evidence and research.

Environmental policy expert of Forest Action Nepal Dr Hemanta Ojha said, “Policy making involves a complex interplay of power and knowledge among diverse actors, and policy researchers should not merely collect facts as per their research questions, but should engage in collaborative inquiry both with the policy makers and advocacy groups to strengthen policy processes.”

The programme was organised by Forest Action Nepal in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Centre for Poverty Analysis and Evidence based Policy Development Network in South Asia.