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October 20, 2019

‘Evidence use must to achieve policy goals’


October 20, 2019

Islamabad :Experts have urged the government to promote the culture of data and evidence use in public sector institutions for policy change and to achieve the desired policy objectives. They also call upon the government to invest in quality evaluation and monitoring of policies and programmes to ensure accountability and transparency.

Experts said this during a roundtable discussion titled 'Evaluation of Policy Change' organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here.

Joint Executive Director of the SDPI Dr. Vaqar Ahmed said the complexity of the policymaking ecosystem requires efforts to enhance knowledge and capacities at all tiers across the government.

He said a culture of data and evidence-use needs to be promoted in public sector organizations.

“We need to carefully assess why past efforts to embed research and evaluation units at various government bodies could not achieve the desired outcomes,” he said adding most such research units go dormant, the moment donor money finishes.

Dr Vaqar lamented that the public sector on its own does not invest budget to monitor and evaluate its own organisations, officials and past policies formulated, which was equally important to streamline the knowledge management system in public offices. He said the role of think tanks is also important to bridge the gap between research and policy.

He said the engagement of local think tanks with parliamentarians, civil service and judiciary can provide better understanding around issues such as Sustainable Development Goals.

Independent Complex Evaluation and Review Expert Frank Noij said the quality evaluation of the policies can help ensure accountability and transparency.

“Without support and political will at highest government level the change in policy and its evaluation cannot be conducted,” he said adding conservative mindset, lack of culture and lack of data prevent the government institutions to evolve its strategies and policies.

The expert said a quality evaluation of the policies also help enhance understanding and learning. The event was attended by researchers, academics and staff of the SDPI.

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