Two webinars gave scientists the opportunity to share their experiences in fostering science-policy dialogues.
On November 1 and 2, six scientists shared lessons from projects they have conducted with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) during two webinar sessions on the topic of creating spaces for science-policy dialogue: Experiences from CCAFS. Researchers shared their experiences using approaches such as learning alliances and science-policy dialogue forums with people interested in informing policy with science and conducting demand-led research.
Presenters on November 1 were:
- Edmond Totin, discussing the West African platforms used by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in “Bridging the gap between science and policy experience of multi-scale platform approach in West Africa”
- Jen Twyman, who shared research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in her presentation “Gender-inclusive climate change policies in Latin America” and
- Marieke Veeger, with a presentation on “Creating spaces for science policy dialogue,” which used examples from experiences in Costa Rica
Presentations on November 2 included:
- Valerien Pede, who spoke about the PIRCCA Project during the “Policy Information and Response Platform on Climate Change and Rice in the ASEAN and member countries (PIRCCA) Project” presentation
- Edidah Ampaire, who discussed the Policy Action for Climate Change Adaptation (PACCA) learning alliances in her presentation, “Science policy dialogue: Experiences from learning alliances in East Africa” and
- Todd Crane, who shared a project on the science-policy divide with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) EA/WA in the presentation “Analyzing the science policy-practice interface in climate change adaptation”
While each project offered a unique viewpoint, several themes emerged from all of the presentations. For instance, the inclusion of policymakers in designing the project’s research process was cited by nearly all presenters as a key method of project co-ownership. Additionally, not only should engagement between researchers and policymakers occur at multiple levels and throughout the research cycle, but mechanisms which support linkages between those levels will support project success.
Presenters also noted the importance of planning and budgeting for research output translation, including the time and energy needed to engage with decisionmakers and to produce policy briefs or other documents that meet the communication needs of different types of stakeholders. In other words, project outcomes are most useful to policymakers when the tangible benefits are clear to all groups involved. Projects are also more likely to be successful when building on previous successes, infrastructure, and the reputation of the organizations involved. Finally, scientists should remember that, while policy can and should be informed by research outputs, the environment in which policy is crafted includes many different factors.
Listen to recordings of both webinar sessions through the following links:
For more on the interaction between scientific research and policymaking, also check out a blog post about the COP23 side event on this topic. The presenters at this session included policymakers and development partners for a broad perspective on how evidence can inform decision making.