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Think Tanks in Post-Conflict Context: Towards Evidence-Informed Governance Reform

UNDP Oslo Governance Centre
Publication year: 
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Authors/Editors: Nicola Jones, Julia Pomares, Arnaldo Pellini with Ajoy Datta.

This OGC discussion paper highlights that there is a considerable array of internationally generated governance evidence indicators and approaches, but a much more limited culture of context-specific evidence generation in post-conflict societies. It served as a background paper to the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre & Canadian IDRC Event:  Evidence on Governance into Policy, The Role of Research Institutes and Think Tanks, Jan 18-19 2009.

The dynamics of governance policy in general, and in post-conflict settings in particular, have a number of specific features that should inform the work of actors engaged in the knowl- edge-policy interface. These dynamics often play out differently depending on the particular justice and governance issue under consideration. This is because governance policy issues encompass both technocratic (e.g. public administration reforms and decentralization) and normative dimensions (e.g. transitional human rights). The findings of this report highlight the pressing need for more attention to the supply and demand for governance evidence. Critical gaps also need to be filled in the understanding of knowledge needs at different stages in the policy cycle and in the sequencing of the production of evidence. Equally im- portant is the need for more attention to the relative contributions of different actors in the processes of knowledge generation and knowledge translation. More attention should be di- rected to the role of think tanks in the production and communication of policy-relevant and practical governance evidence, in particular within contexts of contested knowledge and competition by various economic interests.