The inaugural symposium of the Kenya Think Tanks was convened jointly by The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) in collaboration with the Kenya Think Tanks on 27th November 2019 at Crowne Plaza, Nairobi. The theme of the symposium was “Policy Makers and Think Tanks Engagement in Strengthening Evidence Informed Policy Making”.
The objectives of the symposium were as follows: To promote conversation between think tanks and policy makers, including state and non-state agencies; Enhance think tank-to-think tank and policy maker-to-think tank collaboration, networking and synergies in generating and sharing evidence; and identify the channels through which ideas and knowledge held by think tanks and policy makers can be used in the public policy process.
Participants of the symposium included representation from the Legislative and Executive Arms of National and County Governments, Development Partners, Think Tanks in Kenya and the Academia.
In the course of deliberation, the following resolutions were made:
PLENARY PANEL SESSION-UNDERSTANDING THE PUBLIC POLICY MAKING PROCESS AND DEMAND FOR EVIDENCE AT EACH STAGE
- Think Tanks shall actively participate in national planning and budgeting through participation in government organised stakeholder engagement and validation workshops in a timely manner
- Think tanks shall be pro-active in providing timely evidence to Parliamentarians and other Policy Makers cohorts to support enactment of evidence informed laws and amendment of existing laws
- Parliamentary Caucus on evidence-informed decision making, shall provide details of their paper that elaborates plans to enhance issue-based linkages between think tanks and parliament for input from Think Tanks
- Think tanks shall endeavour to explore the possibility of learning from best practise and best fit to make simple policy recommendations that can be quickly implemented. In addition, Think Tanks need to come up with innovative ways to package their research findings and recommendations to make them palatable to policy makers for easy uptake.
- Think tanks shall endeavour to enhance their visibility at county level to promote uptake of evidence-based policy making process
- Think tanks should diversify the scope of their research to touch on areas such as climate change and climate damming that are generally unexplored and country specific emerging issues based on factual geospatial data
- KIPPRA shall embark on developing a comprehensive contact database of think tanks disaggregated by areas of interest to contribute to the building of issue-based synergies and collaborations
- KIPPRA shall explore the possibility of developing a single repository for research relevant to Kenya for ease of access
- Think Tanks shall continuously involve and engage policy makers in policy dialogue forums to enhance the uptake of policy research and analysis with a view to have impactful inferences
LEARNING FROM BEST PRACTISES IN EVIDENCE-INFORMED POLICY MAKING
- KIPPRA, and other think tanks, shall continue to come up with innovative ways to allow for discourse on best practices for influencing policy in a cordial and neutral environment
- Think Tanks shall endeavor to partner with Government, Ministries, Departments and Agencies to be more impactful in the policy making process
- Think Tanks shall endeavor to participate in Global Ranking Initiatives to enhance visibility and quality of research outputs in order to gauge clear and robust data collection
- Think Tanks shall tap into existing knowledge base of the youth by using recommendations from research outputs in Universities and Capacity Building Programmes focusing on young professionals
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR THINK TANKS
- Think Tanks shall endeavour to promote access and equity in the county’s development agenda in research designs to ensure policy interventions promote inclusive societies
- Think Tanks shall endeavour to undertake evidence based and demand driven research in order to attract funding
- Think Tanks shall commit to promoting self-regulation to ensure quality outputs
- The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) commits to ensure that the issues raised are communicated with the relevant agencies for action, dissemination and usage.