Global Podd, produced by David Isaksson at Global Bar Magazine, explores the future direction of Swedish development aid and discusses the questions: How will aid look like under Sweden’s new government? What priorities will be set and what does the wording on migration mean?
Only a short period of time has passed since Sweden got a new Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade with the appointment of Johan Forssell, and it will take some time before a development aid budget for 2023 will be presented.
Aid budget in 2023
A few weeks ago, civil society sounded the alarm about major cutbacks. Now, they look to be significantly lower than expected. In 2023, aid will amount to 0.88%, with increased support for civil society. At the same time, there is great uncertainty about what the wording on aid and migration in the Tidö Agreement will actually mean.
Gudrun Brunegård, Member of the Swedish Parliament and spokesperson for aid policy at the Swedish Christian Democrats (KD), discuss together with Jesper Sundewall, Vice-chair of SweDev and researcher on global health at Lund University, and Monica Lorensson, Head of Policy & Advocacy at Plan International Sweden. The following questions are discussed in the 117th episode of the Global Podd:
How will aid meet the increased demands for effectiveness?
Does the civil society have reason to rejoice that it is now getting more resources?
How can research be given greater prominence in development aid, and what form should future health aid take?
On 22nd of August, during the DevRes conference in Uppsala, SweDev and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs organized a seminar on bridging science and policymaking in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Janet Vähämäki, Director of SweDev co-chaired the dialogue together with Måns Fellesson at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Prominent speakers contributed with their expertise including Thomas Elmqvist, Chair of the Sida Scientific Advisory Board, Ingrid Öborn, Chair Committee for Development Research (VR), Anders Hagfeldt, Vice-chancellor at Uppsala University, Ole Petter Ottersen, President of Karolinska Institute, and Gabriel Wikström, National coordinator for the 2030 Agenda.
The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) along with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development (FfD) both highlight the importance of science-based decision-making.
Watch the recording
Janet Vähämäki, Director of SweDev, introduced by referring to two studies from SweDev:
“The studies present similar findings; neither researchers, nor policy-makers know so well what is current with the other. However, there is a wish from both sides to be more connected with each other. Interestingly, 89% of the policy-makers perceive research as very important, yet 72% say that they do not have time to read and keep up with research”.
Janet Vähämäki, Director of SweDev.
In the Swedish Development Policy Platform – the overall guiding document for the Swedish development cooperation – it is addressed that to reach Swedish policy ambitions and the 2030 Agenda, Sweden should build broad engagement and inclusive partnerships between actors in Sweden.
Måns Fellesson, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, supported this statement and said that: “From the policy side, we would like to emphasize the importance of research. Research and innovation are central components in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”
The seminar discussed the challenges of the interaction between research and policy.
“One main challenge we have today is different timelines in policy and research. Researchers should ask themselves: Why is this important and what will it take to implement this research?”
Ole Petter Ottersen, President of Karolinska Institute.
Måns Fellesson argued that: “A lot of scientific research performed at Swedish universities has direct bearing on the 2030 Agenda, but we also need to make use of the research. This is essential and the reason for this seminar today.”
“The Swedish Research Council is working on the impact of research. Our experience is that it’s essential to bring in policy-makers and communication experts early in research projects.
Ingrid Öborn, Chair of the Committee for Development Research at the Swedish Research Council.
“Policy should also consider perspectives from national partners in low- and middle-income countries, as noted in the new Government strategy,” Indrid Öborn explained.
A multi-stakeholder platform and co-creation
The panellists agreed that one of the main problems is the lack of cooperation between policy-makers and researchers. A multi-stakeholder platform for Sweden, co-creation, long-term visions, communication and longer funding periods – could be one way forward according to the discussion.
Main needs identified by the panel moving forward
Create a multi-stakeholder platform with researchers, policy-makers, civil society and the private sector to discuss problems and solutions. This platform should be used to invite, engage and challenge the different stakeholders on local and global aspects addressed in either research or in policy implementation.
Funding and incentives are needed to bring in policy actors and communication experts early in the research projects, and more long-term funded research is needed.
Researchers need to identify long-term impacts of their research and think about the feasibility of implementing research findings/ideas into practice.
Research needs to be higher on the political agenda and spreading research results needs to be valued and encouraged at the universities.
Policy-makers should use the research that already is available, and efforts should be made to increase “research literacy” among policy-makers.
Engaging in policy processes as a researcher needs to be both funded and rewarded.
Researchers and policy-makers should use “co-creation” (implementation research, embedded research etc) approaches.
Secondments of researchers to development and decision-making bodies is needed and more researchers should be integrated/employed into governments and municipalities.
“Slow science” is essential for understanding the complex problems the world is facing today and should also be allowed.
Individual researcher might have a short-term vision for his/her own research, but every researcher should be part of a research community with long term goals and visions.
The seminar was attended by around 120 researchers, policy-makers and international scholars and held during DevRes2022 in Uppsala.
SEI’s Development and Aid Policy Team and the Swedish Development Research Network (SweDev) are proud to present Coralie Legrand as the first keynote speaker in 2022 on the dialogues on development research held on 7 April at 13 CEST.
The aim of the dialogues on development research is to spread findings of development research by creating a learning space where researchers can share their work in an informal and easily accessed setting. The dialogue series are targeting researchers, practitioners and policymakers within the development research area.
Keynote speaker Coralie Legrand
Coralie Legrand. Photo: Alexandra Bertels.
Coralie Legrand is a freelance motion designer and illustrator from Brussels, Belgium. Coralie uses storytelling and visual communication to break down complexity into digestible content to help create a wider impact with scientific research.
Coralie will talk about the added value of design, illustration and animation in communication tools. Her focus is on projects on sustainability, science communication and social impact. Coralie creates animated content and visual communication tools through storytelling and design to help deliver a message to raise awareness, inform or educate.
Coralie will showcase two animated videos that she is co-creating together with SEI’s Matthew Osborne for ‘Low-carbon development in East Africa’ to support the research in its goal to reach practitioners in the renewable energy space.
The dialogue on “Low-carbon development in Africa: How to visually create impact” will be held online via Teams Live.
The Development and Aid Policy Team at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) performs research on topics related to human development and environment. The team conducts research from local to global scale, providing state of the art interdisciplinary research, analysis and training to inform policy and practice at the nexus of environment and development research and policy.
Working with partners around the world, the team aims to support more equitable and sustainable development through demand driven and solution-oriented research and decision support.