His Excellency Dr Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, president, Islamic Development Bank Group, gives a speech during the event titled 'Next frontier in evidence-based policies: Charting a path forward' during the 2022 IsDB annual meetings on June 2, 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Photo: Islamic Development Bank Group / Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Islamic Development Bank, Community Jameel, and Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab ready to join forces on embedding evidence-based policy labs with governments

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

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

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 programmes. Evidence-based programme 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 programmes.

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, labour promotion, and other programmes to promote human capital development.

The announcement came at an event at the 2022 IsDB Group annual meetings, hosted in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The event, titled Next frontier in evidence-based policies: Charting a path forward, was co-organised by the IsDB, J-PAL, Egypt’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, and Community Jameel.

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 programmes and policies in line with the governments’ development priorities. 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.

Her Excellency Dr Hala El Said, minister of planning and economic development of Egypt, 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.”

His Excellency Dr Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, president, Islamic Development Bank Group, said: “I would like to highlight that IsDB is ready to join forces with Community Jameel, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and other partners to develop a comprehensive South-South cooperation programme focused on evidence-informed policymaking through knowledge-sharing and government- embedded labs among IsDB member countries.”

Hassan Jameel, vice chairman, 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.”

George Richards, director, Community Jameel, said: “This partnership unlocks the power of South- South collaborations between researchers and policymakers to have a positive impact at scale on the lives of millions of people. Community Jameel is excited to be joining with J-PAL and the Islamic Development Bank to scale this model of embedding evidence-based policy labs in government, from Cairo, where we launched the Egypt Impact Lab in March, to Jakarta and beyond.”

Iqbal Dhaliwal, global executive director, J-PAL, said: “J-PAL is enthusiastic about the promise of this collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank and Community Jameel. Our regional offices in the Middle East and North Africa and Southeast Asia 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.”

In March 2022, the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab Middle East and North Africa (J-PAL MENA) and Egypt’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Development signed a memorandum of understanding which saw the launch of the Egypt Impact Lab, a collaboration that aims to strengthen the effectiveness of Egypt’s poverty reduction policies by rigorously evaluating promising and innovative government programmes and using results to inform scale decisions. The Lab seeks to build a culture of evidence-informed decision-making across government by building partners’ capacity to use evidence in programme design and delivery, and using administrative data to facilitate evidence-generation.

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