During the three-day meeting, participants will work intensively and collaboratively to create a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist in striving to advance the emerging field of evidence-informed policymaking. Photo: CIFOR/Flickr.

From 29 August to 31 August 2018, AFIDEP’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliya Zulu, will join a small group of global leaders championing the use of evidence in policymaking at Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Lake Cuomo, Italy. During the four-day meeting, participants will work intensively and collaboratively to create a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges that exist in striving to advance the emerging field of evidence-informed policymaking and also to design an ambitious, high impact future agenda for action.

The meeting is also intended to strengthen this emerging field by bringing coherence and connections among individuals and organisations working in this area – such as AFIDEP –who are independently working towards the common goal of increasing the degree to which public policies and programmes are informed by high-quality data and research evidence. The Bellagio meeting hopes to accelerate the progress of reaching this goal, guided by the belief that raising the profile of evidence-informed policymaking and showcasing its benefits will create opportunities for evidence champions to share lessons and exchange ideas, build momentum and collaboration among committed funders, and increase the use of evidence for better policy decisions.

Participants at the forum will tackle important questions relevant to furthering the field, such as: what an evidence-informed policymaking field should strive towards in terms of outcomes, and how to measure progress; the kind of support that would help advance the field further and faster; whether to consider a campaign to raise the profile of evidence-informed policymaking; as well as determining the right agenda for funders interested in advancing evidence-informed policymaking.

The timing of this forum is opportune, even in spite of the political and technical challenges of bringing evidence into the policy process. The increasing demand for evidence builds on the success of the transparency and accountability movement and reflects self-determination and a move away from dependence on traditional donors and technical agencies. Incentives to make and monitor progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have also created a political window for the increased use of data and research evidence, while an increasing number of networks and organisations, like AFIDEP, have pioneered and continue to advance evidence-use in decision-making among African governments. The Bellagio forum, therefore, will be making its own unique contribution to this global momentum towards evidence use in policymaking through the development of a shared vision for the future of the field of evidence-informed policymaking.

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