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About: Working Group on Public Policy Analysis Development Issues
 
 

In recent years there has been a significant effort to improve decision-making within the public sector by developing capacity in policy analysis in CEE, Central Asia and Caucasus counties. But these efforts are still in their early stages in many countries, and heavily reliant on donor assistance. There continue to be issues both on the demand side (how much governments genuinely want evidence-based policy advice) and on the supply side (e.g., skilled policy analysts, teaching institutions, think tanks).

 

Given the importance of the field, a Panel Session was organized for the 2008 NISPAcee Annual Conference. Following its success, a Working Group on Policy Analysis Development Issues was established in 2010. The wide variety of papers and the large number of participants were evidence of the strong interest in policy analysis in the regions.

 

In its second year the Working Group has decided to tighten its focus and become a vehicle for discussions and debates around capacity challenges to professional policy analysis and concrete remedies for those challenges. These are especially important in the regions embraced by NISPAcee. First, policy analysis has developed unevenly in different countries, academic training is often weak, and professional capacity in governments is sometimes severely limited. Second, the Working Group wishes to go beyond diagnosis and encourage discussion of ways forward. Papers that probe the divide between academic policy analysis and applied (either in government or in think tanks and NGOs), and ways to overcome that divide, will be of particular interest.


In 2007, the Panel Session on Policy Analysis was established to create a forum for the discussion of recent developments in the targeted countries. Thus, following upon the success of having such forums, the new Working Group on Public Policy Analysis was established within the NISPAcee Annual Conferences with the support of the LGI. The WG is continuing discussions on which factors restrict the further development of policy analysis; who are the potential stakeholders of policy analysis; how the current stage of policy analysis in a particular country impacts the economic, social and political environment and how those challenges can be overcome (i.e. through upgrading academic, training and retraining programmes).


In the light of the main conference theme, the Working Group has decided to tighten its focus and become a vehicle for discussions and debates around capacity challenges to professional policy analysis and concrete remedies for those challenges. Multi-level governance and inter-regional cooperation also further require the capacity for professional policy, e.g. in the area of EU cohesion policies, and thus provide fertile ground for further improvements on these issues.


These are especially important in the regions embraced by NISPAcee. First, policy analysis has developed unevenly in different countries. Cross-country learning is still in its infancy, academic training and its link to the international fora are often weak, and the professional capacity in governments for policy analysis is sometimes severely limited. Can the countries in the targeted region overcome these obstacles and make a great leap forward and if so, how? Second, the Working Group wishes to go beyond diagnosis and encourage discussion on the ways forward, and this practical orientation on public policy analysis makes the Working Group a place for a fruitful meeting and discussion between practitioners and scholars.

In this framework, the contributors’ papers should provide both a diagnosis and possible remedies for the shortcomings or bottlenecks in the capacity for policy analysis, which in turn, might lead to emergent strategies across the regions.
More specifically, papers may focus on:

1. Specific weaknesses/strengths of policy analysis in a single country or region, either generally or in specific sectors;

2. Best practices and typical CEE development issues in the application of policy analysis techniques and methods;

3. Comparative analysis of similar challenges faced by a variety of countries (including an analysis of instances where capacity-building is being attempted)

4. Regional and inter-regional efforts to design and implement evidence-based policies.