Published Date: Aug 27, 2014
Press release Lahore
structures stressed for informed policy-making
27 August 2014, Lahore: Think Tanks are important in ensuring inclusive policy
making and governance was the message of the book titled “Action Research and
Organizational Capacity Building; Journeys of Change in Southern Think-tanks”.
The book launch was organized by Islamabad based Think Tanks, the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at the press club Lahore.
The speakers commented
on the need for evidence-based knowledge and knowledge management and
acknowledged the role of the civil society with regards to policy-making in
Pakistan. Speakers included Ms Mome Saleem, Research Coordinator, SDPI,
MrAsifMemon, Research Fellow, SDPI and Mr. SajidIqbal, Assistant Professor of
statistics at the Punjab University Lahore.
Mome Saleem, Research Coordinator, SDPI, introduced the book based on case
studies on organizational capacity building of think-tanks from five countries
across the Global South, including Groupo Faro (Equador), Institute of Economic
Affairs (Ghana), Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (Rwanda), Social
Policy and Development Centre (Pakistan), Centre for Poverty Analysis (Sri
Lanka) and SDPI (Pakistan). She explained that unlike theoretical research
action research is more inclusive of stakeholders and is therefore more participatory.
“Action research is a self-reflective process”, she observed. The
organizational capacity building project is supported by the International
Development Resource Centre (IDRC), Canada.
She further spoke about the
issues in Pakistan and framed them as three Es, Economic, Energy and
Environment. She said that after 18th amendment there is a dire need
to strengthen policy making at provincial level and Think tanks play important
role in helping governments learn about the facts. She also said that media has
an important role in research dissemination thus policy influence.
AsifSaeedMemon, Associate Research Fellow, SDPI, presented findings from the
research and highlighted four elements in organizational capacity building,
namely knowledge management, capacity building of staff, mentoring of junior
researchers, and resilience and institutional stability.
He added that the policy landscape in Pakistan is still immature and is
undergoing a process of evolution whereby the stakeholders, such as academia,
think-tanks, and media need to take stock of their respective roles. While
practical research is important to address issues of public relevance, one
should not discount the importance of theoretical research. There also exists a
‘north-south’ geographical divide in terms of policy research culture in
Pakistan, he stressed.
SajidIqbal while appreciating the work done by the five organizations observed
that both institutional as well as individual capacity building is important in
the culture of a research organization. He also highlighted the importance of
other factors for think-tanks, including financial stability, existing
political environment, and the external influence in which think-tanks operate.
Think-tanks offer an important medium to guide the policy making process
in the country and hence should also pursue organizational capacity building