“What is evidence good for? – Absolutely nothing”. This was one of the most tweeted quotes from the opening plenary of the What Works Global Summit in London in September. The meaning – evidence itself is worthless without strategies to get it into policy and practice.
In September members of the EHPSA team attended two different conferences looking at evidence-based policy making, or evidence-into-action (EiA). The African Evidence Network regional conference was held in Pretoria, (21-23 September) and structured around the three themes of Engage. Understand. Impact. The What Works Global Summit (London 26-28 September) was the inaugural conference of an international network of academics, policy makers and practitioners from a wide range of sectors.
Both conferences emphasised the importance of context and concluded that evidence alone is not enough for uptake: political will and public expectation may be the determining factors.
Other issues covered by the conferences include the importance of:
• partnerships between policy makers and researchers;
• stakeholder and landscape mapping to understand the opportunities for change; and
• active focussed dissemination by policy entrepreneurs and knowledge brokers.
The conferences provided fresh insights and opportunities for the EHPSA programme.
What Works Global Summit.
Engage. Understand. Impact.