Capacity Building on Public Policy Analysis Tools in Colombia #NPSinitiative

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    CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies
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The joint effort of the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), has been instrumental in promoting and strengthening the integration of policy and investment tools in Colombia through the CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS). The second part of the course, “Policy Analysis Tools using General Equilibrium Models for Colombia” was held in this framework, a three-day face-to-face program last March 12 and 14, 2024 with the Agrifood Systems Research Center of the University of Los Andes, in Bogotá. At this stage, participants developed skills in public policy analysis tools using general equilibrium models and their adaptation to the Colombian case to improve decision-making in their respective fields of action.

General equilibrium models offer a unique perspective for understanding the interactions between the various sectors and economic agents in the complex world of the economy. These models allow us to forecast how the economy will adjust to different shocks or policies. For example, by analyzing the effect of a rice subsidy, we can anticipate its impact on the grain sector and the price structure and production in general. Although these models may seem overwhelming, they are based on fundamental producer and consumer behavior assumptions. They allow us to understand how firms respond to different policies or shocks, explore alternative scenarios, and assess their impact on the economy. Despite their complexity in application, their usefulness for policy analysis and macroeconomic forecasting makes them an invaluable tool for economists and policymakers alike.

The course consisted of two phases, each of which involved the participation of a diverse set of stakeholders. In the first training phase, 26 representatives from various public entities, private companies, academic institutions, and research centers participated. This was followed by four webinars that addressed relevant topics ranging from food waste to gender equity in the context of climate change.

Subsequently, in the second phase of the course, specific skills were developed in public policy analysis tools using general equilibrium models, with the participation of 23 representatives from various entities; these included DANE, FINAGRO, IDEAM, Ecopetrol, the National Infrastructure Agency, AGROSAVIA, ASOCAÑA, the World Bank, ISA Center, ECLAC, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali, George Washington University, Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, and the Palmira Mayor’s Office. The contribution of these participants further enriched the course content. It provided a broad and varied perspective on the challenges and opportunities in the economic sphere and their work areas. Participants acquired skills in public policy analysis, enabling them to make more informed and effective decisions in their respective areas of work.

In the following video, some of the course participants share how they would apply the knowledge received.

In addition, using the Social Accounting Matrix recently constructed for Colombia under the NPS initiative, IFPRI researchers are building a general equilibrium model for Colombia focused on understanding how climate change affects poverty, gender, and growth and examining mitigation strategies to overcome its negative impact, especially on women. The study also involves master’s students from George Washington University, who collaborate to conduct the research.

In this video, the students capture some of their findings, perceptions, and experiences from their visit to Colombia:

The dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge is fundamental to promoting a broader and deeper understanding of complex topics such as General Equilibrium Models for policy analysis. In this sense, the team of the initiative in Colombia develops educational material composed of short complementary videos, which aims to bring the most relevant information of the course to various audiences to democratize access to specialized knowledge and encourage greater participation and interaction around critical issues for the socio-economic development of the country.

Below, you can view this content and learn about General Equilibrium Models, their purpose, their importance, and how they can improve political decision-making.

1. What is an economic model?

2. What is a general equilibrium model?

3.  What is a general equilibrium model for?

4. Why is it important to use these models?

5. How can I apply the model to political decision making?

6. What is a shock in economics?

7. Closing


Johana Castillo, Research Associate, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Colombia

Daniela Salas, Colombia Communications Focal Point, CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Colombia

This work is part of the CGIAR Research Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS). CGIAR launched NPS with national and international partners to build policy coherence, respond to policy demands and crises, and integrate policy tools at national and subnational levels in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. CGIAR centers participating in NPS are The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Alliance Bioversity-CIAT), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Potato Center (CIP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and WorldFish. We would like to thank all funders who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund 

Photo credit:  Daniela Salas, Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, Colombia

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