In this second installment of the strands that will be covered by EVIDENCE 2018, the strand leaders for Good Governance and Climate Resilience discuss the importance of these topics for evidence-informed decision-making in Africa.
Can evidence solve the governance challenge in Africa?
Dr Rose Oronje (Good Governance Strand Leader)
Director – Science Communications & Evidence Uptake, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), Kenya
Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, once said, “good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development”. This is because bad governance that often manifests through, among others, mismanagement of public resources, corruption, waste, and a lack of transparency and inefficiency in the delivery of social services, remains one of the biggest challenges to development in much of sub-Saharan Africa. In the 2017 Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, the region was the overall worst performing, as has been the case in many previous years.
We believe that evidence is the next central ingredient in improving governance. Are you one of the many actors in sub-Saharan Africa working to improve decision-making in governance processes? If so, how are you doing this and what lessons and insights are you drawing from this work?
Governance is a very political process, and so evidence has to compete with many other factors to inform governance processes and decisions. This competition makes it critical to share, reflect, and draw lessons from ongoing efforts in order to continue improving the effectiveness of efforts that seek to strengthen governance using evidence.
The EVIDENCE 2018 conference will provide a platform for sharing and discussing experiences of how different actors are working to infuse evidence in governance processes. We are looking for impactful stories of how actors are using evidence to strengthen political leadership and decision-making in national and sub-national governments, ministries, departments, and agencies. We are looking for creative examples that highlight how actors are using evidence to inform the allocation of resources to ensure equity and the direction of resources at those most in need. We are looking for innovative stories of how actors are using evidence to help policy leaders and politicians manage and track public expenditure. We are looking for the lessons actors are drawing from using evidence to strengthen citizens’ voices in governance processes. We are looking for examples of how actors are using evidence to facilitate transparency in resource allocation and tackle corruption in public service. We are looking for stories of how evidence interacts with power, politics, and interests to inform public policy decisions. And finally, we are looking for stories and lessons of how to strengthen the evidence ecosystem in key governance institutions in African countries including parliament, local governments, the judiciary, and cabinet.
If you work in any of the areas above or other areas relevant to improving governance with a focus on evidence, we are calling on you to submit an abstract to the EVIDENCE 2018 conference by April 30.
Evidence of climate change in the global context: What does it mean for national efforts to respond to climate change?
Sibonelo G Mbanjwa (Climate Resilience Strand Leader)
Director: Climate Change Adaptation-Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), South Africa
Evidence plays a significant role in decision-making, including decisions to transition toward a climate resilient society. The centrality of evidence in environmental decision-making is reflected in multilateral institutional mechanisms created to support countries in making sound decisions, supported by scientific evidence, to address climate change and achieve climate resilient societies.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988, is such an example of a body tasked with scientific work and generating scientific evidence to inform multilateral decisions on the climate change response. The primary role of the IPCC is the preparation of comprehensive assessment reports about climate change at regular intervals, drawing on hundreds of scientists from across the world. Scientific work done at this level enables policy-makers to take sound and evidence-based decisions. According to these assessments there is evidence of rapid climate change which include, for example, increases in the average temperature, rises in global sea level, and changes in average rainfall patterns. These reports furthermore speak to the vulnerability and impact associated with climate related extremes, such as alteration of ecosystems, disruption of food systems (production and supply), damage to infrastructure and human settlements, and impacts on human health and human wellbeing such as increased heat-related mortality and changes in the distribution of waterborne illnesses and diseases vectors.
With this knowledge and experience in mind humankind has to find ways to adapt and ensure the existence of climate resilient societies. We need to demonstrate what can be done at national, provincial, and local levels to respond to climate change and ensure that communities transition to climate resilient societies. We need to generate knowledge that takes into consideration local contexts and provides appropriate responses to climate change. The EVIDENCE 2018 conference provides a platform to share our experiences of generative evidence for climate change and how it is applied in various national situations to ensure the resilience of communities. We encourage you to come and share your experiences of how evidence has informed decision-making in relation to climate change and climate resilience by submitting an abstract by the 30th of April.