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Involving legislators in evidence-informed policy processes: a neglected part of the democratic governance agenda

Working papers

Written by Nicola Jones

This Background Note draws on findings from primary research with CSOs and legislators in seven countries – three in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) and four in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam) to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the current relationships and mechanisms between CSOs and legislators, including the relative importance of evidence production and uptake.

Carried out between 2007 and 2010, the research explored civil society links to both individual legislators and legislative committees; legislators’ demand for and use of knowledge; and the strategies employed by civil society organisations. The latter included think-tanks, policy advocacy-focused non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and community-based organisations (CBOs).

Policy and practice implications focus on the importance of understanding the legal and political contexts where legislatures operate, the value of institutional incentives that encourage regular and systematic knowledge exchange, and the benefits associated with increased linakges between civil society and legislative functions.

Nicola Jones with EBPDN partners from East Africa and Southeast Asia