Sustainable Development Policy Institute


Sixth Sustainable Development Conference 11-13 December 2003, Holiday Inn, Islamabad
Sustainable Development Bridging the Research/Policy Gaps in Southern Contexts
Concept Note

This Conference seeks to problematize knowledge production processes/research in relation to policies in the South. As there are gaps between policy and research at multiple levels, it will raise questions such as: who are the knowledge producers? Who raises the demands for knowledge production? What are the sites of knowledge production? Who uses such knowledge? Who benefits from new knowledge? What are the lessons learnt? And how can we bridge these gaps?

Specifically, the Conference will focus on the problematique of knowledge production about southern contexts in the South. It will explore policy/research gaps in two directions: in some places policy needs to be fed by better research while in others, policy needs to take better account of existing solid research. It will focus on the ways and means for translating this knowledge into effective policy initiatives locally, nationally, regionally and internationally by identifying the multiple gaps between research and policies in different sectors.

The Conference seeks to bring together theorists, researchers, creative thinkers, writers, activists, policy makers, academicians to debate bridging the real and imagined gaps. How can the research we produce in third world contexts be translated into effective policy for sustainable development (SD)? Is SD only a question of reorienting the research/policy connections? Or, is it about claiming and putting value into the fragmented and disparate work that speaks to and about the third world?

These questions will be tackled at several inter-related levels: in purely third world contexts; in terms of the relationship with first world institutions; and, within and between third world contexts.

The Conference will address three themes.

  1. Concepts and approaches: How can concrete situations be addressed in a transdisciplinary manner? How can the specialized research be translated into effective policy measures?
  2. Contexts and issues: Can specific contexts and issues be related to general trends and patterns? Can these trends and patterns identify the existing gaps?
  3. Findings and recommendations: What are the lessons learnt and how to bridge the policy-research gaps?

The Conference will be multi and transdisciplinary in order to open up new ways of seeing, which may lead to effective strategies for overcoming the gaps we presently face in policy making.

The Conference will investigate critical policy issues ranging from the status of social sciences to issues of migration and urbanization, food security, employment, governance, gender, violence, poverty, the WTO regime and trade, renewable energy, and conflict. It will highlight the cross-cutting linkages between such diverse themes and the increasingly complex demands upon the policy arena to respond to these issues quickly and effectively.

Sustainable Development Policy Institute #3 UN Boulevard Diplomatic Enclave 1, G-5, Islamabad, Pakistan
Phone ++ 92-51-2278134 Fax ++92-51-2278135 Email