The 2016 PEP Annual Conference was held on June 4-8 in Manila, Philippines
The 2016 PEP Annual Conference in the Philippines saw another successful gathering of approximately 100 development researchers and practitioners, eminent scholars, representatives of donor/international organizations, and policy actors from more than 30 different countries.
Organized by the PEP coordinating team in Asia, of the CBMS Network, this year's meeting took place as part of the global PEP research and capacity building initiative for Policy Analysis on Growth and Employment (PAGE) in developing countries, with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID, or UK Aid) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
The event featured several different activities: intensive training workshops, the PEP general meeting (where PEP-researchers supported under the PAGE initiative presented their final results) and a special high-level policy forum - described below. Find out more about the event's concept and objectives in the concept note/program and souvenir program.
For all participants, PEP conferences present a unique opportunity for global networking, international peer-reviewing and capacity building. Such experience also contributes to enhancing the researchers' capacity to communicate research results to policy makers and stakeholders at the national level.
Exceptionally, this year’s edition of the PEP Conference was structured around two distinct themes and sets of activities:
Growth and employment for shared prosperity and social resilience
Review of research results from PEP-PAGE projects
Through the PAGE program, PEP is supporting a series of policy research projects led by local research teams in developing countries, with priority given to low-income countries, fragile and conflict states. The projects were selected through a series of open and competitive calls for proposals.
The main objective of PEP general meetings is to give the opportunity for developing country researchers to present and discuss their research work and findings with peers and experts from around the world.
Presenting the final research reports and results from PAGE projects
Over the course of the conference, a total of 29 projects from 21 different countries, and exploring various policy issues related to growth and employment, were presented during four parallel sessions grouped according to the projects' specific methodological approaches.
As the core mission of PEP is to enhance the capacity of local researchers in developing countries, these sessions also give researchers the opportunity to benefit from personal and customized advisory and mentoring by leading international experts. These include individual meetings with PEP’s global resource persons who have unique expertise in the selected areas.
Find out more about the projects supported under the three funding rounds of the PAGE program.
Policy forums, training and advisory in research communications
While donors spend more than a billion dollars annually on development-related research, there is increasing acknowledgement that, for research to have any policy impact, it must be conceived, implemented and disseminated in close consultation with policy makers and other key stakeholders.
Over the past few years, PEP has dedicated increasing resources to encourage, advise and support its grantees in engaging relevant policy actors and other stakeholders in their home countries. The initiative has resulted in a large number of remarkable success stories in which small teams of local and independent researchers (supported under the PAGE program) have managed to engage and inform the highest spheres of decision-making, and even stir nationwide debates on key development policy issues.
In the context of its 2016 Annual Conference, PEP has decided to organize a series of special events – involving PAGE researchers, development practitioners, donors, policy actors and international experts – to share and learn from these experiences, as well as to identify key lessons that will serve to inform and improve PEP support activities in this regard in the future. Find out more about the concept and program of these events.
June 4-5 - Training and advisory in research communications
According to PEP’s mission of capacity building, and as PAGE projects presented during the general meeting (above) will soon be entering the dissemination stage, PEP communication and M&E staff organized a special training workshop in best-known strategies, practices, and tools for effective research-to-policy communication.
This was followed by individual meetings between the participants and PEP communication specialists, to revise the objectives and strategy of key dissemination activities for their respective PAGE projects in 2016.
June 6-7: CBMS policy forum
On June 6-7, the PEP-CBMS group hosted a series of dialogues held between (22) PEP-PAGE researchers, whose projects involved the use of a community-based monitoring system (CBMS), and local policymakers from several of the projects' countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Philippines, Togo). The policymakers, mostly from local government units, were requested to share how they have used or plan to use the findings from CBMS in the preparation of local development plans, formulation of projects and monitoring of impacts of interventions.
June 8 – PEP Policy Forum
From policy engagement to research uptake: Lessons for and from developing country researchers
The final day of the 2016 PEP Annual Conference was dedicated to discussions on the theme of “From policy engagement to research uptake: Lessons for and from developing country researchers” during a high-level policy forum involving researchers, policy actors, practitioners, donors and international experts.
The Policy Forum was organized with the support of PAGE donors, IDRC and UK Aid, as well as with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
Opening session and welcome address
"We are here to highlight the interaction between researchers and policy makers in crafting and using research in policy making," said Professor Tereso S. Tullao, Jr., Director of the Angelo King Institute for Economics and Business Studies at the De La Salle University, in his opening remarks. Dr. Celia M. Reyes, PEP-Asia Director and CBMS Network Leader, and Arjan de Haan, Program Leader for Inclusive Growth at IDRC also spoke briefly to welcome those present and set the tone for the day.
Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra, Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning and Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Government of Philippines, delivered the Welcome Address noting: "There is a growing demand for evidence-based policy making, and so there is increasing call for consultation between researchers and government.”
Keynote address and round table discussion
Mustapha K. Nabli, Chair of the PEP Board of Directors and Manager of the North Africa Bureau of Economic Studies, followed Secretary Esguerra with the Keynote Address on Bridging research and policy in developing countries, during which he set out concrete aims for researchers to increase the likelihood their findings will be heard and acted upon. His presentation was followed by an open Q&A session with the audience, during which M. Nabli gave even further advice on how to better communicate research to policy.
The Keynote Address led into a two-phase round table discussion that was moderated by John Young, Head of the Research and Policy in Development Program for the Overseas Development Institute, UK. These sessions provided a rare occasion for researchers and policy actors to reflect and draw important lessons from shared experience, not only of the panelists but also of those in the audience.
The table’s panel included the following researchers and policy actors:
- Ana Lucia Kassouf, University of Sao Paolo, Brazil
- Damilola Olajide, Initiative of Public Policy Analysis, Nigeria
- Oluwole Lateef Akanle, Amoye Microfinance Bank Ltd, Nigeria
- Nikica Mojsoska-Blazevski, University American College-Skopje, Macedonia
- Sudarno Sumarto, SMERU, Indonesia
- Mayor Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro, Philippines
- Ponciano Intal Jr., Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
During the first round table session, the panelists offered examples of successful collaborations between researchers and policy actors, and then received comments and questions from the audience.
During the second session, the audience was invited to form their own panels, and to discuss (among themselves and with the panelists) questions relating to what can be done at a systemic level to maximize the use of research-based evidence.
The main objective of this event was to produce, collectively, a set of specific recommendations to improve research uptake in policy making. The conclusions and recommendations drawn from these discussions have been compiled, published and publicized by PEP and its partners for wider impact, find out more.
2016 PEP Best Practice Awards
Following the Policy Forum, the 2016 PEP Best Practice Awards ceremony was held to recognize the achievements of research teams who most actively engage in the implementation of a successful “policy outreach” strategy while achieving high-quality research.
Mustapha K. Nabli, Chair of the PEP Board of Directors, presented the 2016 PEP Best Practice Awards to the following PAGE research teams:
1st PRIZE: Gold exploitation and income disparities: the Case of Burkina Faso – led by Ms. Agnes Zabsonré, who accepted the award for her team.
2nd PRIZE: Willingness of the Togolese informal sector workers to pay for access to social protection: The case study of the CNSS social protection – led by Dr. Esso-Hanam Atake, who received the award for his team.
3rd PRIZE: Entrepreneurship as a mechanism to address youth unemployment and poverty in Kenya: Case study of Murang'a County – led by Ms. Diana Kimani. Dr. Patrick Chege Kariuki accepted the award on behalf of the team.
Find out more about the PEP Best Practice Award competition and each of the 2016 winning teams/projects.