Monday, July 19, 2010

Using research to make the case for policy change

Using research to make the case for policy change

Scientists need to do a better job at drawing out findings from peer-reviewed research to support evidence-based policies and approaches, said a panel of leading policy experts and researchers at the FARAweek side event Climate Change and Agriculture: the Policy Challenge.

“The challenge is to turn excellent peer-reviewed science into evidence, so that we don’t rely on system of belief,” said David Howlett of Africa College at University of Leeds. “How do we know that organic agriculture can feed the world? We have to communicate beyond peer-review system in order to have an impact on the public’s understanding of the issues.”

As part of the panel, Carlos Sere of ILRI, highlighted two areas where research from his institution had been used to influence. One example, Dr Sere noted that findings from a 2007 ILRI study mapping climate vulnerability in Africa had been widely cited and used in the influential publications like the Stern Review and the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.

In the future, we’ll be going into more detail to figure out what kind of interventions would work best locally. This would evidence could help inform policy decisions on the local and national level, he added.

"It is critical that we use research evidence emanating from Africa to improve our productivity and adapt to climate change,” Lindiwe Sibanda of FANRPAN. “We have to have benchmarks for our farmers. For them to raise their productivity, they need to know nature of the problem they are facing and the best way to address them."

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