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Drylands Research Working Paper 41


Promoting research-policy dialogues: lessons from four country studies of dryland development in Sub-Saharan Africa. A report to the UK Department for International Development, March, 2003

This Report asks what is new in the study findings and how these relate to policy at four different levels: international, national, sectoral and local. It summarises work carried out in each country to gain endorsement of the study findings from participating communities and agencies, disseminate the findings, and promote policy debate. Workshops were held at village, district and national levels in Senegal and Niger; at state level in Nigeria; and in Kenya, where district and national workshops had been held earlier, dissemination materials have been produced. These experiences provide some lessons for research-policy dialogue concerning: participation and targeting, multi-level interaction, research ownership, prioritisation of issues, endorsement of research, language of debate, and involvement of pressure groups. The research in Senegal proved particularly timely in regard to present national debates on agricultural policy.

Specific national contexts determine the form of research-policy dialogue that is appropriate. The work described in this paper represents the first step towards a sustained effort in which national research groups, adequately resourced, can continue to play a key role.