Civil Society Organisations and Policy Entrepreneurship Workshop, Vietnam
Naved Chowdhury, ODI
Cecilia Luttrell, ODI
The Center for Analysis and Forecasting under the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) is working with ODI under the Civil Society Partnerships Programme. ODI and CAF held a two-day workshop in April 2006 in Vietnam. Its main objective was to provide a forum for sharing experiences, learning from each other skills in dealing with challenges that researchers are facing in bringing their research to policy process, as well as the role of civil society organisation (CSOs) in this process.
The RAPID framework was introduced at the seminar. This is a model reflecting a wide range of inter-related factors, which determines whether research based and other forms of evidence are likely to be adopted by policymakers. Together with this, the ODI researchers introduced the role of civil society organisations (CSO) in research and policy influence.
A researcher from the Hochiminh City Institute of Economic Research (IER) presented his draft report on how IER's research is used to influence the policymaking at a sub-national level. Organisationally, IER is under the People's Committee of Hochiminh City and its main function is to do research and on this basis, provide policy advice to the People's Committee. Numerous studies done by IER are based on request of the People's Committee of Hochiminh City and subsequently used as direct inputs into the City's policymaking. However, there are also studies that are initiated by the IER, including 'Economic Growth and Its Implications for Policies', one of the three case studies presented in the workshop whose findings received attention from city leaders and made them more determined for reforms to sustain economic growth.
Many participants found the presentation by ODI researchers very interesting and useful, especially the factors that hinder the uptake of research findings by policymakers. All participants were then involved in a lively discussion about hierarchical organisation and role of research institutes (a kind of CSO) in Vietnam.
Participants were divided into three groups for a group exercise, in which they applied the RAPID framework to analyse topics that they proposed. Group 1 worked on issues related to migration into Hochiminh City; Group 2 tried to find solutions for the traffic jam in Hochiminh City and the group 3 worked on Land compensation policy in ODA projects. Generally speaking, all three groups successfully applied the RAPID framework in their analysis. All three proposals also received numerous interesting comments from other groups.
In summary, all participants highly evaluated the usefulness of the seminar. With lively discussions, and the diversity of constructive opinions expressed, strong interest shown and many new things learnt by participants, the joint VASS-ODI workshop on research and policy was considered a success. The workshop equipped the participants with a well-founded and integrated approach to the important issue of improving research-policy linkage. Participants had an opportunity to discuss in detail specific issues about various models and tools for conducting policy research for use in the policy process, as well as the role of CSOs in this process.
However, participants also felt that more case studies would be needed to better illustrate the application of tools in practice. It is also suggested that more similar workshops should be conducted in the future, with a wider pool of participants and better representation of stakeholders at the sub-national level.
Wider dissemination and better application of the RAPID framework in practice would clearly improve the policy usefulness and influence of research in the future in Vietnam.
This workshop aimed to enable the discussion and validation of the preliminary results from the project case study work and to provide training and dissemination of the wider results from the CSSP. Various research institutes at the national and sub-national level were in attendance. The workshop also provided an opportunity to share the learning on bridging research and policy with the Vietnamese research community. The workshop was facilitated by Cecilia Luttrell and Naved Chowdhury from ODI. Case studies were presented by CAF as well as from Hochiminh City Institute of Economics Research (IER). The topics covered included establishment of HCMC Fund for Urban Development, Economics Growth and its Implications for Polices in Vietnam and Decentralization Decree of HCMC.