DSA2017: Sustainability Interrogated: Societies, Growth, and Social Justice
- Julia Schöneberg (University of Kassel) email
- Susanne von Itter (European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI)) email
Context: Putting the SDGs into practice. We will discuss: Potentials of networks between academia, policy and practice, Requirements to promote better understanding and closer collaboration between decision-makers and scholars, Ways to influence policy with research, Spaces for scholarly activism.
We are facing complex and intertwined challenges: increasing global inequalities, (planetary) boundaries of growth and globalisation, multiple threats to peaceful societies, social justice and sustainable change. The Agenda 2030 stands as seminal and universally applicable goal setting for sustainable international cooperation in the next 15 years. Putting this agenda into practice is an enormous challenge for local, national and global policy makers and politicians alike and needs to be informed by well-grounded empirical data and theoretical insights. This calls development scholarship into responsibility.
The time is ripe to fundamentally rethink and reconfigure power relations, structures and conditions that perpetuate inequalities and boundaries, prevent and produce flows and implement divides of global North and global South. Building and reinforcing networks between academia and practice is an important requisite for the success of transformation processes.
This panel aims to contribute to this discussion by inviting contributions that deal with:
• Potentials and limitations of and for networks; both within and between academia, policy and practice
• Requirements to promote better understanding and closer collaboration between decision-makers and scholars
• Ways to influence policy with research results
• Spaces for scholarly activism
and related issues.
We aim to bring together academics, civil society and policy makers to explore spaces and arenas for joint struggles. We will opt for a world café format.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Strengthening the partnership between parliament, the academia and other stakeholders in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
This paper focuses on the role of parliament in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It explains how parliament can utilise its partnership with stakeholders in contributing to the achievement of sustainable development. The paper aims to bring a parliamentary perspective to the discussion.
The SDGs place people at the center of development. This being the case, parliaments as representative institutions cannot be left out of this journey. It is through parliaments that laws are made which provide an enabling environment for the domestication of SDGS. It is through parliament that government activities are scrutinized. It is through parliament that people from all walks of life in various constituencies are 'heard,' and it is also through parliament that the budget is approved, carrying with it the expectations, hopes and aspirations of the populace. Parliament is, therefore, a critical and strategic partner in attaining Agenda 2030.
In order for the institution of parliament to successfully carry out its mandate as it pertains to SDGs, it needs to develop and strengthen partnerships with civil society organisations, the media and academia. These partnerships will enrich parliamentary functions which include legislative, oversight, representative and budgetary as relates to SDGs. Therefore, this paper will explain the role of parliament in SDGs, reveal some of the challenges which affect parliaments as they try to incorporate SDGs in their work and then see how parliaments can benefit from partnerships with various stakeholders, in particular the academia to sail through the challenges. In terms of drawing on practical examples and challenges in incorporating SDGs, the Zambian Parliament will be used as a case study in most instances.
The 'institutional bricolage' of a consortium: perspectives from Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) projects
This paper focuses on collaboration and learning between at risk groups, development practitioners, policymakers and academics. It explores how the 'bricolage' of their relationships influences their way of working together in an effective and sustainable manner to strengthen resilience.
Understanding that sustainable development is a process of co-production, donors are attracted by multi-stakeholder processes and specifically by the consortium as an entity that lifts the burden of managing different grants. Ideally, consortia are synergistic partnerships of multi-disciplinary actors bringing together expertise, experience and coordinated efforts to confront development issues holistically. By focusing on the interplay of stakeholders at different levels, this way of working can create longer-term relationships that ensure the project's sustainability.
This paper explores the role of 'institutional bricolage' (Cleaver, 2012; De Koning and Cleaver, 2015) and the process of co-production of knowledge among a wide range of partners of a consortium.
King's College London has an 'academic research and learning' mandate in two Christian Aid-led consortia, in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia, implementing DfID-funded Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters project. BRACED is designed to tackle vulnerability to climate change by strengthening resilience with the overall purpose of ending extreme poverty, reflecting goal one of the SDGs.
We argue here that the process of 'bricolage' through which preexisting or new, formal or informal institutions are shaped and shape each other is a fundamental part of achieving sustainable results - in particular when talking about climate change adaptation, because of the complex nature of resilience itself. This paper provides insights from BRACED on why and how the consortium context could allow for building sustainable, longer-term relationships among partners, co-producing knowledge and creating or reformulating institutions that bring together policy-makers, government stakeholders, NGOs and beneficiaries.
The living well collaborative: a case study of a hybrid post-development initiative where the Bolivian Andes meets the Amazon
This paper explores the case study of the Living Well Collaborative, an incubator initiative of research, action, writing and exchange based in Samaipata, Bolivia that attempts to bridge academic expertise, local policy and action with global exchange.
This paper investigates the effectiveness of a new model of development work as embodied in the initiative The Living Well Collaborative (LWC), a project of the World Policy Institute based in Samaipata, Bolivia. Guided by the post-development ideals of Colombian anthropologist Arturo Escobar and the vivir bien, or living well concept as explored by Bolivian philosopher Javier Medina, the initiative seeks a practical grounding for the indigenous Andean concept of "living well" - connecting north and south through action, research and writing. It works to deepen local actions and capacities while creating strong linkages between global allies and local Bolivian efforts.
The local/global initiative, now in its third year, seeks to weave expertise and access-points for maximum impact, including strategic support to operationalize a Bolivian eco-municipality with potential to serve as a national and international model. Overall, the LWC seeks to utilize academic, policy and practitioner expertise to foster local seeds of change while strengthening local capacities; build local/global linkages to support local change through tripartite action (individual/community/policy); and amplify the voice and experience of local change on the global stage. Challenges to the model, including issues of inter-cultural and cross-expertise tensions offer a host of interesting lessons for South-North exchange and the building of networks for sustainable change.
Understanding research impact beyond the academy: implications for knowledge for sustainable development
Development research organisations are increasingly invested in understanding how their work is used by diverse audiences. Alternative metrics of impact have grown rapidly as a way of measuring impact beyond academia. This paper will present insights on the nature and effects of these tools.
In their pursuit to produce relevant, useful research towards sustainable development, research producers in the field are invested in understanding how their work is used by diverse audiences. As such, they are eager to develop efficient ways to measure wider societal impact, in order to inform their strategies around research focus, funding, communication and reporting. To this end, alternative metrics of impact ('altmetrics') have grown rapidly as a way of measuring impact beyond academia. This project will investigate the effects of altmetrics for a leading multilateral agency. Strongly invested in understanding how their research is utilised by users around the world, these agencies have begun to gather evidence from altmetric sources. Yet, the value of these tools is unclear and often controversial. Using a novel sociological, mixed-methods framework, this presentation will provide preliminary insights into the use of alternative metrics of impact in the global policy context. This methodological combination will allow me to chart the networks of research impact, but also, crucially, to capture the complexity of meanings and practices surrounding altmetric use, towards better utilisation of knowledge and evidence in addressing global challenges.
University networks to enhance knowledge exchange for better policy and practice for sustainable development?
By presenting the highlights and stumbling blocks from UniPID's work, this presentation will address the potential and limitations of academic networks and aim to encourage the sharing of best practices on facilitating research-policy cooperation for sustainable development.
Considering the variety and interrelatedness of the SDGs, and the interdependency of their implementation at national and global levels, it comes clear that there is need for well informed decisions, based on empirical evidence and multidisciplinary expert knowledge.
In Finland the national draft plan for implementing the Agenda 2030 suggests that more emphasis is given to science-based decision-making. However, concrete tools and avenues for constructive knowledge-exchange between researchers and decision makers are still lacking. Multiple challenges prevent the cooperation between scholars and policy makers, such as the lack of common language, the mismatching timelines of policy needs and long-term research, the specificity of academic expertise vs. needs for more general advice, and the limited time in researchers' use for societal interaction.
UniPID is a Finnish university network to strengthen universities' global responsibility. UniPID advocates for science-based policymaking and highlights the importance of higher education and research in facing global challenges. As part of UniPID's societal impact work, the network holds discussions with ministries and facilitates researchers' contribution to development and higher education policy, as well as to the national and international research agenda and funding priorities.
There is a need to strengthen ties between like-minded networks and associations internationally to fortify the academic response and contribution to the implementation of the Agenda 2030. By presenting some concrete highlights and stumbling blocks from UniPID's work, this presentation will address the potential and limitations of academic networks and aim to encourage the sharing of best practices on facilitating research-policy cooperation.
Well-being participatory action research: building capabilities through participatory video in Lagos
The paper analyses the potential of wellbeing participatory action research in enhancing the capability of informal dwellers' groups in advocating for their housing rights in Lagos. It reflects on the process of knowledge co-production facilitated through a participatory video workshop.
The concept of wellbeing has been increasingly prominent in international development literature and practice. Literature argues that wellbeing helps development practice and policy to focus on 'what matters for people'. However, there has been a limited amount of studies exploring specifically how the process and outputs from well-being research can expand the capabilities of marginalized groups to influence social change. This paper explores the potential of wellbeing participatory action research in enhancing the capability of informal dwellers' groups in Lagos to advocate for their housing rights. Particularly, the paper reflects on a process of knowledge co-production involving academia, development professionals and community groups to conduct a wellbeing participatory action research.
The paper reflects on a 5 day participatory well-being workshop that took place with 25 members of the Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation and was facilitated by researchers from The Bartlett Development Planning Unit of University College London and staff members from the NGO Justice and Empowerment Initiative (JEI). The workshop revolved around the use of participatory video and was embedded in the on-going activities of JEI and the Federation, hoping to contribute to their efforts to resist the threat of evictions of Lagos' waterfront informal settlements.
The analysis draws on semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions exploring the extent to which this collaborative workshop contributed to the Federation's capability to: build relationships of trust and solidarity; enable critical collective learning; foster members capacity to aspire; enhance their ability to define and set an agenda; and influence decision-making processes.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.