Islamic Development Bank, Community Jameel tie up on policy labs within governments

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The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Community Jameel, and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) announced recently that they are ready to join forces on a comprehensive cooperation program with the aim of embedding evidence-based policy labs within governments.

The announcement came at an event at the 2022 IsDB Group Annual Meetings, hosted in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

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The event, titled ‘Next Frontier in Evidence-Based Policies: Charting a Path Forward,’ was co-organized by the IsDB, J-PAL, the Egyptian Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, and Community Jameel.

The event highlights how government-led partnerships with researchers operate, how they can be designed, and how they can help generate rigorous research to inform policy design.

Through this collaboration, the IsDB, Community Jameel, and J-PAL plan to embark on the partnership with pilot projects in selected IsDB member-countries, helping them improve their evaluation of interventions and policies, particularly in the realms of social protection, labor promotion, and other programs to promote human capital development.

Successful models of evidence-based policymaking have been piloted in Indonesia and Egypt, among other countries, where government-led partnerships with J-PAL have allowed for enhanced programs and policies in line with the governments’ development priorities.

By embedding these labs within governments, the partnership will support countries in achieving their development objectives by leveraging an evidence-based approach in the design of their social development programs.

Evidence-based program design utilises data and evidence from rigorous impact evaluations which allow for increased understanding of the needs of vulnerable groups and the design of more impactful policies and programs.

Dr. Hala El Said, Egyptian Minister of Planning and Economic Development, said: “The utilisation of evidence essentially distinguishes effective policies from less effective ones. Promoting a culture of evidence-based policymaking is of particular significance to developing countries, having potential to save lives, reduce poverty, and improve development performance. From that perspective, high quality evidence should be placed at the heart of policy development and implementation.”

Hassan Jameel, Vice Chairman of Community Jameel, said: “The ethos of our work at Community Jameel is grounded in science and promotes multidisciplinary approaches to instigate change in how we adapt to human challenges. J-PAL’s emphasis on evidence-based policy design has proven to be capable of addressing these challenges and supporting policymakers in adapting to specific contexts. We are proud to be coming together with the IsDB and J-PAL to announce a shared vision for achieving lasting change in the social programmes of countries across the Global South.”

Iqbal Dhaliwal, Global Executive Director of J-PAL, said: “J-PAL is enthusiastic about the promise of this collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank and Community Jameel.”

Dhaliwal said their regional offices in the Middle East and North Africa and Southeast Asia (MENASA) are leading exciting work with national governments to develop evidence labs. “We are committed to deepening these partnerships through this pilot with IsDB and Community Jameel and interested in replicating the model with other governments as we demonstrate together how these labs can reduce poverty through evidence.”

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