Local Knowledge on Development The Missing Link in the Research-Policy Nexus of Sustainable Development

  •  Atal Ahmadzai    


A sense of urgency has developed to increase efforts towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda. Latest assessments recommend an urgent change of course in the implementation of the Agenda, should the pledge of ‘Leaving No One Behind’ be realized. In addition to others, challenges associated with the evaluation function of the Agenda are threatening its successful implementation. Technical challenges and political sensitivities impede the practicality of the evaluation function, thereby off-tracking progress. The lack of enough human and material resources at national and international levels, underdeveloped data systems of developing countries, the lack of non-DAC aid data; and measurability issues of some of the goals and targets are the technical challenges associated with the evaluation function of the Agenda. Furthermore, weak political-will at national levels towards Sustainable Development is another hurdle for the evaluation function of the Agenda. This commentary explores these challenges. It reveals that the existing evaluation mechanisms are not responsive and are inadequate to render the 2030 Agenda inclusive and transformational. To overcome this, the commentary proposes the “Global Enterprise of Local-Knowledge on Development,” a collaborative evaluation model for incorporating local knowledge to transform comprehensions and operationalizations of development. For appropriately assessing developmental interventions, the model proposes mandating local educational institutions to continuously engage at grassroots levels to synthesize local reviews on developmental interventions and channel them upwards to national and global levels. The model is characterized by establishing horizontal and bottom-up vertical flows of knowledge in order to evaluate and assess developmental interventions.

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