NPS Policy Network Write-Shop Entebbe
CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies
The CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies organized a three-day Policy Network Write-Shop, the second in the policy network series, from 14th -16th November 2023 at Entebbe, Uganda. The first was the Policy Network and Engagement Workshop in Nairobi in June 2023.
Participants were a unique mix of policymakers, researchers, and policy advisors from the Ministry of Water and Environment, Government of Uganda, multiple CGIAR initiatives (NPS, ClimBeR, TAFFSA, Mitigate+, Climate Resilience, Ukama Ustawi), and CGIAR institutions (IWMI, ILRI, Alliance Biodiversity and CIAT, CIP, ICRISAT).
The write-shop was organized in two parts: Part 1 focused on the identification and shaping of policy narratives, and Part 2 focused on writing and editing the Policy Guidance Briefs (PGBs). The process was guided by peer review that gave directions to the policy briefs during the ideation stage (policy brief outline), and once a first draft was completed. Carefully curated sessions ensured opportunities for peer engagement and collaboration that led to 13 draft policy briefs. A review team will further review these, authors will accordingly revise and edit them, and the series of briefs will be published with respective institutions/initiatives by the end of January 2024.
Through discussions with policymakers, the participatory design of the interactions, the experiences participants brought to the table, and reviews during the pitching session helped zero in on 13 policy briefs that were geographically and thematically balanced. There were 8 country-focused policy briefs (South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Laos, Nepal, India, Uganda – 2). One focused on LMICs, while the other three had a more global scope. Thematically, the briefs can be broadly categorized as those targeting policy process interactions (for example, policy (in)coherence, science-policy interaction, institutionalized platforms to influence policy, flux in the policy environment, and community engagement in the policy process) and those focusing on complex challenges within the FLW systems and possible policy solutions (Water resource management, climate resilience, influencing GW irrigation policy, responding to environmental crises in the intersections of fragility, conflict, and migration, climate finance, and transboundary water management challenges).
While the write-shop was an enriching experience of learning and un-learning, a few aspects stood out. Engaging with policymakers to understand what interests them in research or a policy brief and receiving instant feedback on our approach to policy briefs was noteworthy. Being mindful of the potential audience for the briefs, identifying what might capture their interest, and determining the most effective ways to engage them to achieve the intended impact was another noteworthy aspect of the write-shop. Finally, a shout-out to the organizers for curating the sessions. They started with simpler questions, like discovering personal policy engagement strengths and identifying the most important parts of a policy brief. The flow then seamlessly transitioned to more advanced tasks of considering policy ideas and collaboratively outlining a policy brief. Kudos to the organizers for making this progression smooth and engaging!
Suchiradipta Bhattacharjee, Policy Engagement Specialist, IWMI
Alan Nicol, Co-lead, CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies (NPS) and Principal Researcher, IWMI
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.