Hold onto your seats, evidence enthusiasts! Whether you’re a fan of evidence-informed policymaking, evidence-based decisions, or just what works, you’re in for an action-packed few weeks. Not even the most globetrotting devotee could make all the events September and October have in store, so here is a quick guide to what’s on, what we’re watching for, and how you can keep up with the details.
Follow the Evidence: The Promise and Potential for a Different Approach to Policymaking (Washington, DC, September 8)
The Bipartisan Policy Center event will be one of the first public discussions about the new U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, recently created with rare bipartisan support. These are tough political times for new policy initiatives in the United States, so we’ll be looking for champions in Congress, the administration and outside groups to talk about how to carry evidence-informed policymaking into the next administration and new Congress. You can count on our friends at Results for America to follow this one, or follow on Twitter @BPC_Bipartisan.
EVIDENCE 2016 (Pretoria, South Africa, September 20-22)
The Africa Evidence Network (AEN) will host EVIDENCE 2016. The event will draw senior policy officials from across Africa and organizations working to increase policymakers’ access to and use of evidence. AEN began as a network of partners in the DFID-funded Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) program, and is now 700 organizations strong. We’re excited to see what the network’s members are learning about fostering an evidence-informed culture in Africa. We’ll especially be looking for conference reflections from the team at the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) given their leading role as an evidence-to-policy translator.
UN General Assembly annual meetings side events (New York, September 19-26)
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) will discuss the global refugee crisis and the Sustainable Development Goals. The week will include events on Big Data and Refugees and Data for Climate Resilience, and feature an event of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and a “Data Playground.” We’ll be watching whether data enthusiasts focus on using better data to achieve the SDGs, not just monitor them. Keep the pulse through UN Global Pulse and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.
What Works Global Summit (London, September 26-28)
The What Works Global Summit (WWGS) will bring together hundreds of evidence-oriented policymakers, scholars, advocates and funders to dive into scores of evidence-informed policymaking topics. Hewlett’s Sarah Lucas will host a session that will put two Think Tank Initiative organizations on center stage. “Bringing Evidence-Informed Policymaking to Life: Films and Discussion from Senegal and India,” will feature research-to-policy stories from the Consortium for Economic and Social Research (CRES) in Senegal and the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) in India, and frank dialogue with the scholars and policymakers that made them possible. Get sneak peeks at the videos here and here, and keep track of WWGS highlights from Campbell Collaborative, 3ie, or any of the dozens of other partners. Or follow on Twitter at #WWGS2016.
Ghana Education Evidence Summit (Accra, September 27)
This Summit caught our attention because it is co-hosted by Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA) and the Ghana Ministry of Education. This collaboration reflects one of the main hypotheses about fostering evidence use: partner with policymakers from the outset to identify policy questions that evaluation (or research or data) should address. We’ll be looking to the team at IPA to share lessons about whether this approach leads to more reliance on evaluation findings in formulating policy and implementing programs. On Twitter @poverty_action.
Evidence Works 2016: Global Forum for Government (London, September 29-30)
Results for America / Results for All and NESTA will host Evidence Works 2016: A Global Forum for Government. Gathering policymakers from across the world, these sessions will share practical lessons from 40 different countries across six continents about the tools, incentives, and partnerships they are using to foster a culture of evidence-use. We are particularly interested to see if there is appetite among this community of like-minded, evidence-oriented government officials to collaborate and learn from each other in a more structured way going forward. Our friends at Results for All will track this closely. On Twitter: @nesta_uk and @Results4America.
International Open Data Conference (Madrid, October 6-7)
Madrid will host the International Open Data Conference (IODC) with open data experts in everything from agriculture and extractives to humanitarian assistance and transportation. At IODC we’ll be most interested in seeing how different data communities come together, including open data enthusiasts, data revolutionaries, and official statisticians. Our friends at Open Data Watch will be watching these dynamics closely. On Twitter: #IODC16 and @opendatacon.
Semana de la Evidencia 2016 (Peru, October 17-21)
Finally, Peru will welcome EIP enthusiasts from across Latin America at Semana de la Evidencia 2016 (Evidence Week 2016), hosted by the Peruvian Alliance for Evidence Use. The week promises to celebrate efforts to bring evidence into the policy process, and help build capacity to do so. We’ll be watching to see how the strong network of Latin American public policy think tanks uses this opportunity to better understand the questions public officials are grappling with, and how their research can address them. The team at On Think Tanks will surely offer useful insights from this exciting week. On Twitter: @Evidencia_Peru.
While we’ll only be able to make some of these events in person, we’re excited to see a rapidly growing community of people pushing for, producing, and using evidence in policy decisions. We are eager to hear what you see and learn in the evidence extravaganza ahead.