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Can Politics and Evidence Work Together in International Development? Insights from Security and Justice Programmes in Conflict-Affected Areas

1.30 – 6.30, Tuesday July 1st, Room 4.02, Clement House, LSE

‘Working politically’ and ‘evidence-based policy’ often co-exist as buzzwords within development discourse and policy documents, but can they genuinely complement each other in practice, since the requirements, and timelines, of rigorous evidence production would seem to run counter to the notion of political agility? An emphasis on research and evidence implies a degree of openness, whereas working politically may necessitate a lack of transparency for practitioners. How can these two approaches work together, especially in conflict-affected regions where the tensions and trade-offs involved are likely to be heightened? How can we know whether programmes, particularly those on justice and security, have had a positive political impact?

Time Topic Speakers
13.30 – 15.00 Are the agendas on ‘working politically’ and ‘evidence-based policy’ compatible? Chair: Mary Kaldor Rosalind Eyben (IDS), Duncan Green (Oxfam), Stephen Rood (TAF)
15.00 – 15.45 Coffee and breakout discussions:

  • How can we measure success in political development engagement?
  • What kind of evidence is relevant to practice that works politically?
  • How do we balance a quest for research transparency with the need for political work to happen quietly outside the spotlight?
  • There is no difference between the current push to work politically and previous practice.  So how can we make the current trend in the debate useful for research and practice?


Facilitators:Jaime Chua (TAF), Susan Marx (TAF),
Craig Valters (ODI),
George Varughese (TAF)
15.45 – 16.45 Security in conflict-affected contexts. Chair: Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic, JSRP Freddie Carver, (Stabilisation Unit), Mareike Schomerus (JSRP),
John Sidel (LSE),
Thomas Wheeler (Saferworld)
16.45 – 17.45 Justice in conflict-affected contexts. Chair: Tim Allen, LSE/JSRP Lisa Denney (ODI), Macha Farrant (DfID CHASE),
Rachel Ibreck (Justice Africa),
Barbara Smith (TAF)
17.45 – 18.30 How to work politically with better evidence: concluding remarks and lessons learnt Patrick Barron (TAF),
Mary Kaldor (JSRP),
Iain King (DFID)



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London School of Economics