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Federalism and the demand for evidence in Nepal: in conversation with Bishnu Adhikari

Program Director Bishnu Adhikari

In September 2015, Nepal promulgated a new Constitution mandating the country’s transition from a centralised unitary state to a federal state. The goal was to bring democracy to the doorstep of citizens and assign more power and responsibility to local governments. Four years on, how is the reform progressing and what role does knowledge play in informing such a complex and political reform? To discuss the answers to these questions I spoke to The Asia Foundation’s Bishnu Adhikari, Program Director of the Strategic Partnership on Sub-national Governance Program, funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and implemented by The Asia Foundation in Nepal.

Can you tell me a bit about your experience in the governance sector in Nepal?

I have been working in the local governance, civil society, electoral and political process and rule of law sectors for nearly 18 years in Nepal. Since 2018, I have been with The Asia Foundation as Program Director of the Sub-national Governance Program, which is a strategic partnership with the Australian Government. Between 2017 and 2018 I was part of a program called Economic Policy Incubator, funded by DFID Nepal. The program aimed to promote community participation in public-private partnerships for local economic policy reform. I’ve also worked in the governance sector for USAID and DFID.

What is/are the changes that the Strategic Partnership on Sub-national Governance wants to contribute to and what strategies have you designed with your team and your partners?

Our program aims to contribute to Nepal’s own priorities in creating an enabling environment for effective, efficient and inclusive sub-national governance systems that benefit all citizens. In our efforts to achieve this, the partnership is facilitating a process to help establish clarity about the roles, functions and accountabilities of the three levels of government–federal, provincial and local. We are generating evidence and knowledge to inform dialogue and discussion among stakeholders, supporting formal and informal mechanisms and institutions to mitigate disputes or establish collaboration between the government and citizens, and testing ways to support leaders in selected local governments to design, establish and implement local policies aimed at improving public services and economic development. We work in close coordination with federal, provincial and local governments. Our strategy is to establish a collaboration between locally elected leaders, civil society organisations and citizens to discuss and design solutions to problems. For example, Province-3 approached us for partnership around their multi-year planning process; we facilitated participatory visioning and planning exercises involving elected officials, experts, and citizens in Province-3 that resulted in a comprehensive provincial plan that meets the priorities identified in consultation with citizen. These priorities include development of quality rural and urban infrastructure; commercialization of agriculture; promotion of industry and entrepreneurship, and quality tourism; and specialised human resources to support these sectors. We have been employing similar approaches when testing with partner municipalities the design of municipal social and economic profiles, public health management and market monitoring policies, community mediation and multi-stakeholder dialogues. In all these initiatives the program acts as a facilitator in these processes. We do not offer any pre-determined solutions. The solutions to local problems emerge from dialogue and discussion around the nature and impact of the problems people face and the possible solutions to those problems. We apply positive inquiry to see if additional information, data, or consultation may be appropriate to their decision-making processes. Counterparts have told us repeatedly that this approach is helpful in two ways: it creates ownership and accountability at the local level, and it allows the program activities to adapt to local circumstances.

When I was in Kathmandu last May, someone told me that the federal reform in Nepal was essentially a very large-scale political experiment. You have a long history in the governance sector and have seen a lot of changes in the country’s governance system. How do you see the current reform?

What you have heard is correct. We are undergoing a massive change in our governance system. We have taken a “big bang” approach to devolve decision-making power and authority to provinces and local governments after over two hundred years of centralised decision making. The Constitution, which was passed in September 2015, mandates a federal system where the executive, legislative and judicial functions are organised along three levels: federal, provincial and local (i.e. rural and urban municipalities). I believe that this change provides unprecedented opportunities for local governments to provide better public services to its citizens. For example, the gradual transfer of resources to local governments provides an opportunity for elected officials to design policies and programs that involve citizens and address local problems in an effective way. At the same time, the federal reform poses enormous challenges to the federal government and local governments. Citizen expectations of local governments far exceed the resources and capability that local governments currently have to deliver against those. We have also observed the typical tension between central and local levels in terms of negotiating the devolution of decision-making power, where the federal level still holds considerable policy-making authority. Similarly, we are likely to see an increase tension between the three spheres of governments over the division of financial resources and revenues. To help resolve these differences, I think it is important to invest in building the capability of the state institutions at different levels as envisaged by the constitution while also facilitate informal mechanisms and systems for continuous dialogues and discussions to pre-empt the disputes where possible.

Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash

One element of governance reform that I have been researching for some time now is the use of different types of knowledge to inform policy decisions at national and sub-national level. In my experience, when policy decisions are very political and contested, the room for knowledge and evidence reduces considerably. How much room is there for evidence, analysis and research in the decisions that underpin the federal reform?

We need to be realistic about the contribution of evidence to policy decisions. The purpose of knowledge and evidence in policy making is to help define options and alternatives for decision makers. Having said that, politics plays the main part in policy making, and in some cases policy makers may ignore evidence that goes against a certain view or political position. This means we need to accept that even the best available research evidence or knowledge may not inform or influence decisions of policy makers. Therefore, in addition to policy makers, I think we should aim to use evidence to inform a wider range of interest groups, stakeholders and the public who are involved in policy debate and decisions. This would inform their positions and create necessary pressure to influence their decisions using evidence and knowledge.

That is a great way to put it. Use evidence, share evidence and create a culture that supports evidence-informed debate and decisions. But while evidence needs to be used, there is also a need for policy actors to demand it.

I agree. The demand for evidence is part of a culture that values evidence. While supporting ways to make more evidence available for policy debate, it is important to create demand for evidence and knowledge among policy makers, as well as other stakeholders. This would then lead to the use of evidence and research in decisions. Take the federal system for example, which is being introduced in Nepal. It is completely new. Though the Constitution had provision for provinces, they did not exist until the elections in 2017. Different forms of evidence, such as studies, assessments, problem mapping, capacity gap analyses, citizens’ perceptions and case studies from relevant other context are all necessary to make decisions about the working of this new system at all levels.

Can you give some examples?

There are several examples in the context of Nepal where evidence and analysis has led to policy reform or change. However, the main challenge is the implementation of those policies, due to scepticism towards evidence and its impact on policy. Most recently, through our Sub-national Governance Program we did a review of legislation on the role and function of the different administrative levels. We found several inconsistencies between the instruction and principles of the Constitution and the new laws. This new information provided a policy advocacy agenda, more specifically with examples to provincial and local governments to use in their advocacy work. Another example is from our work on national surveys, various analytical and diagnostic assessments, municipal social and economic profiles, and policy dialogues. These generated ample evidence, knowledge and baseline data that are being used by a number of local governments to formulate their long-term strategies, plans and annual budget allocations, and to design new programs.

Let’s look to the future. It is 2040. How do you imagine the governance system in Nepal and how are policy decisions being informed?

What I see is a gradual improvement in the overall governance system in Nepal between now and then. I am optimistic, but I do not think there will be rapid change in the capabilities of the new governance system. I believe that due to information and evidence being shared through the internet and social media, the public will increase its capacity to gradually inform and influence policy decisions through different forms of participation and consultation. Some of these will be driven by technology. One recent example from Nepal could be the law being proposed by the Federal Parliament to reform the governing systems of trusts and property. One of the key reasons that the public protested against it and the government was compelled to take the Bill back was a lack of evidence and public knowledge about why the amendment was proposed and what impact, positive or negative, it would have on the trusts.   

Thank you, Bishnu Adhikari.

Thank you. I am grateful for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts and reflections on my own work and the work of our team.

Pls remember to add this text if you repost this article on your platform or blog: This article is republished from Knowledge Counts a blog by Arnaldo Pellini under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

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Preparing for the future: Digital technologies and the reform of Kosovo’s governance systems. In conversation with Ertan Munoglu and Norbert Pijls

Twenty years have passed since June 1999 when the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1244, which placed Kosovo under a United Nations transitional administration. Events have unfolded very rapidly since then. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, and so far 101 United Nations states have recognised its independence. The European Union has included Kosovo as a potential candidate for access. The pace of governance reform has been very rapid, with a number of international development partners designing and launching projects and programs across the country. How are these governance reforms being shaped by technology and what direction has the government taken to inform public policy or programming decisions through new technology?

To discuss these questions, I spoke to Ertan Munoglu, manager, and Norbert Pijls, director, of the Decentralisation and Municipal Support (DEMOS) project in Pristina. DEMOS is co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Swedish International Development Agency. It has been implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation since 2014.

Let’s start with DEMOS. Can you briefly describe the objectives of the project?

Our project document states that: “DEMOS supports Kosovo in its transition process towards a democratic, decentralised state in which municipalities exercise socially inclusive governance and provide effective services responding to citizens’ priorities and needs.” The objective is quite broad, which allows us to move towards it gradually through the three planned phases of the project, which can be implemented until 2024. More specifically, we try to achieve two things. First, collaborate with municipalities to improve their democratic governance systems and processes by strengthening citizen engagement in decision-making. We include marginalised groups in consultations and decision-making processes and apply sound human and financial management practices. The combination of these elements should lead to more efficient and effective public services. Second, we aim to work with government partners to support decentralised local governance and better coordination between central and local level public administration.

I am interested in how digital technologies are designed and used to inform policy decisions. These technologies are, in my opinion, a rapidly expanding element in the systems that provide evidence to inform policy decisions. What are you seeing in terms of digital technology being tested and adopted in the governance system in Kosovo?

Internet penetration in Kosovo is very high with close to 95 percent of all citizens and settlements. Kosovan local governments are increasingly using social media to engage with citizens, mostly through Facebook. These channels of communication have almost eclipsed the access to the websites that municipalities set up few years ago. Kosovan local governments are really active in finding ways to improve service delivery through digital platforms. For example, municipal assembly sessions are streamlined live for citizens, and there is standardised software that processes all citizen requests in all municipalities. Also, many municipalities deliver civil registry documents from printing machines that are usually placed close to municipal buildings, ‘geo-referenced’ software is used to register real estate and property tax, and some municipalities use geographic information systems to measure areas and count public furniture. The latter gives good information for determining where and what services need to be delivered (maintenance, construction, etc.).

Another example is the electronic procurement system that was introduced a few years ago by the state authorities, and the electronic information management systems that a number of ministries are putting in place to gather monitoring data on education, health and public sector human resources.

Looking at the future, some civil society led initiatives are beginning to test open data systems. Some municipalities are discussing ideas around smart cities, but the financial resources required to translate ideas into prototypes and public services are, for the time being, out of reach for the Kosovan government.

These (and other) systems are hosted on the servers of the Agency of Information Society, but they are not yet connected to one another for data exchange.

Digital technologies are one element of knowledge systems that include different types of data, information, analysis and research. What concrete steps have government agencies with whom you collaborate taken to increase the demand and use of evidence to inform policy decisions?

A very interesting initiative that the government developed and is now upgrading is the Performance Management System. Each year it collects and stores a dataset of about 100 indicators related to service delivery and good governance in all municipalities of the country. The system was introduced in 2008 and is housed at the Ministry of Local Government Administration. The ministry, in collaboration with DEMOS, is planning to provide a monetary prize to the best performing municipalities. The data collected through the Performance Management System allow for comparative analysis across municipalities of the quality of public services and governance. The system and the analysis it provides has the potential to help municipalities identify problems and gaps in public service delivery and design policies and programs to address them.

How are the data that go into the Performance Management System collected?

The data for the Performance Management System are collected by municipalities and reported to the Ministry of Local Government Administration. Different departments of municipalities collect the data and process them through a municipal performance management system coordinator, and eventually the mayor. This process usually happens at the beginning of each calendar year. The ministry then compiles all the data and produces an annual report on municipal performance. The reports are usually published around April-May.

The system is evolving. Currently we are working with the Ministry to improve the indicators and guidelines for data collection. The next step will be to design software to simplify data collection and analysis of the performance of municipalities. Ultimately, the plan to is open up the dataset in the system to the public to be used for research and analysis and to inform and stimulate fact-based dialogue between local governments, citizens and NGOs. The hope is that this will lead to better local policies. At the moment, municipalities with whom we work have expressed their appreciation at having access to the data but more work is required to test ways to bring the analysis from the data into policy decisions. 

Are there other initiatives that show similar potential?

Yes, there are. For example, the Ministry of Finance (with support from the Swedish International Development Agency) is working on improving the property tax information system. This is an important reform which is quite sensitive, and the data in the system are not publicly available yet.

The Ministry of Public Administration is developing a human resource management system that keeps records of the recruitment of civil servants, staff appraisals, staff turnover, etc. The system still requires manual input of data and the ministry is working on improving the technical side of the system. We have some anecdotal evidence that municipality staff access the data, but we are not sure about the extent to which they are used to inform decisions in municipalities.

The prospect of becoming part of the EU is an important incentive to reform governance and policy systems. From the outside, the accession process looks like a massive technocratic exercise. How do you think this process is shaping the demand and use of evidence in Kosovo, and in particular of new technologies to complement other sources of evidence, such as research?

The EU accession process places significant importance on standardising the availability and quality of public statistics through its emphasis on establishing standard geographic units and data collection (so called Nomenclature of Territorial Units of Statistics). Although the idea has been discussed for years, it is not yet being implemented in Kosovo.

The main objective of the Kosovan Government in the accession to the EU is to implement recommendations from the annual progress report that the EU publishes on the country. The process of drafting the progress report involves EU experts holding consultations with government organizations and units, NGOs, citizens, etc. Most of the data are then recorded manually. Some data are standardised and collected through software systems as in the case of  business registry, import and export data, taxation and duties, and government finances.

The EU accession involves strengthening the national statistical capability. The expansion of internet access that we mentioned earlier is providing an opportunity to collaborate with the Kosovo Statistical Office and test ways to complement traditional statistical data and analysis with data analytics. Social media platforms provide an opportunity to access new data, but the capability within the government to do so is not yet there.

This may be a generational issue. A more tech-savvy generation of civil servants and professionals, some of whom have studied overseas, is bringing new expertise into the governance system. They may well be the ones who will help reform the education system to be better equipped to provide the skills required by a modern and inclusive governance system of the 21st century.

Thank you very much, Ertan Munoglu and Norbert Pijls for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you republish please add this text: This article is republished from Knowledge Counts a blog by Arnaldo Pellini under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

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Podcast – Exploring the evidence eco-system for public policy in Pakistan. In conversation with Vaqar Ahmed

How to go about the design of a project that focuses on the ways different forms of evidence and knowledge are used to inform policy decisions? How to identify entry points, opportunities, and the problems that policymaking organisations want to solve rather than starting from pre-determined solutions? How to design the research and analysis to answer some of these questions? I was recently in Islamabad working with the colleagues of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and sat with Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director at SDPI, to discuss these questions.

Pls remember to add this text if you re-post this article on your platform or blog: This article is republished from Knowledge Counts a blog by Arnaldo Pellini under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here.

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Podcast: The recovery and development of universities in Somalia

The history of universities and higher education in Somalia is marked by the civil war that began in 1991 and which lasted for more than 10 years and which brought the higher education to a halt. How is the university landscape recovering and developing? What has been the role of the private sector in the reconstruction effort? What challenges still exist? I was recently in Hargeisa (Somaliland) and met to discuss these questions with Dr. Salim Said, senior researcher at the Somali Institute for Development Research and Analysis.

My takeaways from our conversation are:

  • Both basic education and higher education collapsed during the civil war
  • During the last ten year as the country has been recovering from the conflict the number of students finishing secondary education has gradually increased and so has the demand for university education
  • The number of universities in the country has increased rapidly driven by three factors: 1) private investors who established private universities; 2) a federal governance system; and 3) a weak regulatory framework defining the establishment of higher education institutions
  • The rapid growth in the number of universities in the regions of Somalia means that there is an urgent need to guarantee quality of higher education teaching and research
  • There are many challenges, but things are removing in the right direction. There are discussions among universities leaders and regional governments about finding ways to strengthening research in universities, reforming the career progression for academics, invest in labs for natural science research, and more collaborations and twinning arrangements with universities overseas.
Photo by John O'Nolan on Unsplash
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On the evidence ecosystem in South Africa

I am reading with great interest The evidence ecosystem in South Africa: growing resilience and institutionalisation of evidence use by Ruth Stewart, Harsha Dayal, Laurenz Langer, and Carina van Rooyen.

The article, as the authors say, is the result  of 20+ yrs. of work on evidence informed policy making (EIPM) and reforms in the evidence ecosystem in South Africa. My main takeaways reading the article are:

  • A lot of the international discussion on EIPM still feels about sharing and translating research findings for policy makers and building capacities. In the XXI century that is no longer a useful or useable framing.
  • Policy makers are often seen or described as users of evidence while in fact they can and do shape and influence  how evidence is generated, where it is sourced, and how it can be used. They are both users and generators of evidence and that has to be more openly recognised.
  • Policy actors are actors in an evidence ecosystems, that is a system that is complex, dynamic, adaptive, etc. The authors acknowledge that politics plays a big role in this system and the ways policy decisions are taken, but at the same time, they have seen from direct experience that in the evidence ecosystem there are actors, practices, functions that seem to endure regardless of the political party in office. Who are these actors? How do they demand and shape evidence? What makes them do that? These question are often forgotten in the design of initiatives that aims at supporting EIPM.
  • For quite a long time initiatives and projects on EIPM have focused on what was missing on capacity gaps of specific parts of the evidence ecosystem (e.g. knowledge production, communication, demand for evidence capacity, etc.) without taking a real systemic approach. This is an approach modelled on Norther ways and interpretations of EIPM. In countries such as South Africa, the work on EIPM is moving from individual projects focused on capacity building towards supporting organisational knowledge structures and processes for evidence use within the backdrop and as part of a wider evidence ecosystem.

There are many other interesting points in the article which I hope you will have time to read.

The question I have after reading the article are: how do you bring together a systemic approach with the need to address concrete problems in the knowledge ecosystems? Can digital technologies help with a more system approach to continuing improve the capability of the whole evidence ecosystem? How to design and receive funding for experimentation with new and innovative organisational knowledge structures which by definition cannot guarantee specific results?

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Greta Thunberg and The 1975 join forces against climate change

Excerpt from The Guardian:

“I kept thinking about it and I just wondered if I am going to have a future. And I kept that to myself because I’m not very much of a talker, and that wasn’t healthy. I became very depressed and stopped going to school. When I was home, my parents took care of me, and we started talking because we had nothing else to do. And then I told them about my worries and concerns about the climate crisis and the environment. And it felt good to just get that off my chest.”

“I painted the sign on a piece of wood and, for the flyers, wrote down some facts I thought everyone should know. And then I took my bike to the parliament and just sat there … The first day, I sat alone from about 8.30am to 3pm – the regular schoolday. And then on the second day, people started joining me. After that, there were people there all the time.”

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What did we do before going digital?

Leah McLaren in this article in The Guardian ponders a time when our attention was allowed to wander. Below an extract with the key steps in our lives becoming digital

Let’s go digital

Key developments that changed the way we communicate. By Hayley Myers

1971: Email Ray Tomlinson was responsible for electronic mail as we know it, choosing the @ sign to connect the username with its destination. Today, it’s estimated there are 3.9 billion email users.

1992: Phone texting British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first SMS – ‘Merry Christmas’ – from his computer to the mobile phone of Vodafone’s Richard Jarvis. Handsets didn’t include keyboards then, so Jarvis was unable to reply.

1997: Chat rooms Talking to friends (and strangers) in chat rooms dominated the late 1990s. The rise of other internet technologies saw their popularity plummet in the following decade, taking the ubiquitous a/s/l abbreviation with it.

2004: Social media Whether a place of meaningful connection, a worrying echo chamber or both, Myspace and its successors created an era where likes, influencers and filters reign supreme – despite recent concerns over privacy and data breaches.

2005: YouTube YouTube’s first ever video, ‘Me At The Zoo’, was uploaded by the channel’s founder Jawed Karim. It’s since been viewed 73m times, paving the way for cultural moments, such as ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’, skateboarding bulldogs and Justin Bieber.

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A reminder: the original Manifesto for Agile Software Development

Available at:

‘We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.’

We follow these principles

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Build projects around motivated individuals.

Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

Agile processes promote sustainable development. 

The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.

Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

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Podcast: Nepal on its way to federalism. A conversation with Shailendra Sigdel

In September 2015, Nepal promulgated a new Constitution which mandates the transition of Nepal from a centralized unitary state to a federal country with the goal to bringing democracy to the doorstep of the citizens and assign more power and responsibility to local governments. Four years on, how is Nepal doing? How is the reform progressing? I talked about it in Kathmandu with Shailendra Sigdel, Managing Director of the Foundation for Development Management.

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We need to prepare today the knowledge systems of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Martin Dietz until recently led the HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation team implementing the Performing and Responsive Social Sciences (PERFORM) project in Serbia and Albania. The aim of the project was to test ways to strengthening the relevance of social sciences for social and political reforms in the two countries. The project has been funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and ended in December 2018.

Preparing the knowledge systems for the 4IR requires looking beyond technical solutions, Martin Dietz

Martin is now a Senior Advisor for Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Development with Helvetas and shares here his feedback on the discussion that I have co-produced with Maria Malho, Vanesa Weyrauch and Fred Carden with support from Helvetas: State Capability, Policymaking and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Do Knowledge Systems Matter?.

‘Thank you for sharing the discussion paper on State Capability, Policymaking and the Fourth Industrial Revolution with me.  The question of whether knowledge systems matter is probably more semantic; they very much do matter, already today.

The paper provides for fascinating reading, in particularly your reflections in which ways a 4IR may impact on knowledge systems and policymaking in future.

The thought I want to share here is twofold. Knowledge systems are relevant and important not just with the advent of 4IR but very much today, and many of your recommendations can be taken up already today. Fostering knowledge systems and their links with policy institutions is not just a matter of technical skills and technical infrastructure. Trust and incentives are strong factors that should not be overlooked.  

I have been working with a team to support the strengthening of knowledge systems and in particular the linkages in the pentagon between stakeholder groups in Serbia and Albania. When I talked with colleagues and friends here in the Western Balkans about the discussion paper and its hypotheses, the response was rather lukewarm: should we spend time discussing what a 4IR will bring to countries in the region whose policy institutions are just in the process of embracing the 3IR?

The thinking is that we should not link the importance of knowledge systems in support of policymaking with the advent of 4IR. They are important today.

Numerous of your recommendations for the evolution of knowledge systems (Chapter 4.2 and Annex II) can be addressed today. With a good understanding of what knowledge systems entail and what the benefits are, governments can start working today on an enabling environment for the evolution of knowledge systems. Frameworks need to address technical capabilities and infrastructures. However, what I can see from my perspective is that we should not just focus on technological dimensions. That will be too narrow. Governments need to create an incentive system for stakeholders in knowledge systems to work together. If, for instance, policy-relevant research is not considered by performance assessment systems, it will not work. The nodes of the knowledge system pentagon don’t connect in the region where I am working. Technology alone will not overcome this.

Apart from governments, many of the development agencies have not understood the concept of knowledge systems, and do not appreciate the significance of knowledge systems for policymaking. When I hear the argument that they will consider it as a cross-cutting issue, then it’s a dead horse from the beginning.  

Your foresight thinking is important to understand how the 4IR will impact on policymaking and knowledge systems. By its very nature, the discussion paper includes many vague assumptions.

It would be interesting to focus in future more on particular sectorial fields, take the example of youth employment and actually work on knowledge systems on the ground that will foster policies that are based on evidence and good practice. That would provide rich learnings.’