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Imagining a better 2014 (2) – by Raquel Zelaya and the team at ASIES

[Editor’s note: This is the second of a series of posts called ‘Imagining a better 2014’ that will bring together reflections from a number of researchers and practitioners on the most important lessons and future challenges for promoting the use of research in policy.

Our second respondents are the team at ASIES, a Guatemala-based think tank.

1. What are the most important lessons about research and policy that you could draw from 2013 to use in 2014? 

Latin America faces several development challenges. Many of them are common to all the countries in the region and this coincidence pushed 12 regional think tanks to launch a network in 2013: the Latin American Research Initiative for Public Policy (ILAIPP, for its initials in Spanish). ASIES is part of this initiative because we have learned, through previous national and subregional experiences, that regional collaboration enhances research and advocacy.

Also, research is perceived as beneficial when the politicians can use the findings as a tool to promote dialogue and debate. This boosts their capacities to find viable and concrete solutions. Therefore, our efforts should focus on offering more useful outcomes.

2. What is the most important challenge for you in terms of promoting the use of research in policy in 2014?

Convince the stakeholders that research is essential to the formulation, implementation and evaluation of public policies. Therefore, our efforts should focus on enriching policy in a properly and timely manner.  A challenge is to translate the research documents, policy papers, etc. into policy briefs, for the decision makers to manage easily (and to convince them to use evidence-based research).

3. What could we do more collectively?

In order to act collectively, we constantly seek to improve our professional and organizational performance. This has a positive effect on our mission and reinforces our institutional objectives.
Also, it could be beneficial to create a network of researchers and/or practitioners that fulfill the same position. For example, monitoring and evaluation, communications or researchers that work in a particular policy field.
Finally, it would be interesting to promote peer review processes between similar organizations, particularly those that are part of networks like ILAIPP in Latin America.