ESPA and the Department for International Development (DFID) Joint Meeting: International Forestry and REDD+: underpinning policy and development practice with knowledge, research and evidence
The purpose of this meeting, hosted jointly by ESPA and the Department for International Development, was to examine links between research, knowledge uptake, policy, practice, and results on the ground. The aim was to facilitate regular and effective working relationships between research, policy and practice groups. The meeting was the first step in helping to establish the best ways of working together better internationally and bridging gaps between groups.
It was intended that this meeting address a request from colleagues outside of government for us to be able to communicate clearly what the UK Government’s poverty narrative is, what the International Climate Fund (ICF) covers, and where the Department for International Development is in terms of programming in international forestry work and on the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD+). The purpose of this meeting was also to hear about Defra’s work on forest related issues and about the Darwin Initiative.
The meeting sought to identify emerging research and evidence challenges with the emphasis being on results and value for money. For the UK Government and the Department For International Development it is essential that UK finance can be linked clearly to outcomes.
Following the meeting, the aim must be more regular and formal discussions on research, policy and practice. It is hoped that together we can build a formal communication flow ensuring that developing country policy makers have access to the right information at the right time by ensuring that information gets to country level offices – e.g. through the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Defra, the Department for International Development, Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) offices and embassies.
There has in the past been good communication on key gaps in research between the Department for International Development and key research providers such as the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), for example. It’s now hoped that this communication can be revived and broadened.
This meeting addressed the best ways to get existing knowledge out to the right people but also highlighted opportunities to look at things differently and see where there are new things that we need to investigate – i.e. where gaps lie and where new knowledge is required.