PRI hold the second round of interaction with policy experts
On 11 August 2021, PRI held the second round of policy interaction amongst researchers and experts registered in the roster which PRI has been preparing as per Clause 17 of its Formation Order. In the roster are over 570 experts from different fields of public policy making, including research, knowledge management, public advocacy and communication.
The meeting was held virtually as per PRI’s plan to organize a series of meetings to explore how the expertise in the roster can best be mobilized in policy making and other related tasks. Around 95 experts (out of 120 invited) participated in the meeting and shared their ideas and perspectives for PRI’s consideration. The interaction followed the first round held on August 4 in which some 112 experts participated and shared their views, ideas and suggestions.
The key points that have emerged from the interaction include the following.
- As the only public institution responsible for policy research, PRI should firmly adhere to the standards of public policy making processes. These processes include, among others, gender analysis in every research project; effective and meaningful inclusion and participation of all relevant stakeholders in policy making process
- There are a number of institutions, both public and private, doing research on almost the same issue. PRI should, as a matter of priority, take proactive efforts to collaborate with them all and take the lead in avoiding duplications and overlaps in research. Collaborating with experts from foreign countries (including Nepali diaspora) and engaging them in policy monitoring and review will help PRI stay the course.
- PRI should, likewise, collate research reports conducted by different institutions and agencies, including ministries, which also undertake research on issues of their concern, and share findings and recommendations with all concerned stakeholders
- The tax regime has been one of the neglected policy issues so far, despite it being closely connected to everyday life of the people. PRI should break with this tradition of neglect, take up the tax regime as a major area of policy research and help government in fixing tax policies and laws.
- PRI should be a repository of all policies of all sectors. It should develop and maintain a digital archive of all policies.
- Obligations arising from international treaties that Nepal is a party to also have policy implications, hence an area of research by PRI. How Nepal fares in terms of the achievements of SDG commitments should, for example, be treated as urgently as any other issue.
- Conducting research alone does not satisfy PRI responsibilities. PRI should also ensure the quality of research – in terms both of process and outcomes – by developing research tools and protocols as necessary or standardizing those that are in place.
- Where media falls under PRI’s thematic areas is not clear. What PRI should note is without media being at the centre of its focus, policy innovation cannot be realized.
- PRI should not expand to every sector of society and economy. It should instead take up a few key areas that can make actual contributions to the overall development
- How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected education has not been studied. PRI is the right institute to take a lead on this. The findings will help the entire educational sector.
- To build the country, Nepal should work on seven sectors: (i) National political system, (ii) national administration system, (iii) national security and defense, (iv) social sector development, (v) economic development, trade and commerce, (vi) international advocacy (vii) infrastructure development (transportation, communication and transmission). PRI should ensure that these seven sectors are covered by its thematic priorities.
- The information that PRI does not take external funding for research is a welcome news. All public institutions should make their positions clear, as PRI has done, and publicly vow that they do not accept external intrusion and dependency. They should also avoid depending on NGOs.