Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges

The Evidence Commission report (released in January 2022, along with an executive summary) had two main goals: provide recommendations about how we can and must improve the use of evidence, both in routine times and in future global crises; and provide the context, concepts or vocabulary that underpin work in this area. Update 2023 (released in January 2023) describes our progress towards improving the use of evidence to address societal challenges and how we are moving from recommendations into action.

We believe we can go farther, faster together - here's how:

  • We need to formalize and strengthen domestic evidence-support systems
  • We need to enhance and leverage the global evidence architecture
  • We need to engage citizens, citizen leaders and citizen-serving NGOs in putting evidence at the centre of everyday life


Four groups are involved in addressing the Evidence Commission’s implementation priorities.

Our Implementation Council promotes, contributes to and/or leads efforts to implement the report’s 24 recommendations and three implementation priorities.

Domestically, the Rapid Evidence-Support System Assessment (RESSA) Country Leads Group advances the Evidence Commission’s implementation priority to strengthen domestic evidence-support systems by sharing lessons learned from participating countries and taking action based on what is learned.

Globally, the Global Evidence Producers Group advances the Evidence Commission’s implementation priority to enhance the global evidence architecture by discussing opportunities to improve coordination and reduce duplication and ways to engage funders and donors in these opportunities.

Our Citizen Leadership Group advances the Evidence Commission's implementation priority to put evidence at the centre of everyday life by providing a forum for citizen leaders and leaders of citizen-serving organizations to shape thinking and action.

Additional details about these four groups are available along with others the secretariat engages regularly.

As background, the Evidence Commission report defines ‘evidence’ as research evidence comprising data analytics, modeling, evaluation, behavioural / implementation research, qualitative insights, evidence syntheses, technology assessment/cost-effectiveness analysis, and guidelines. The report recognizes the value of both local and global evidence. Decision-makers need both local evidence (i.e., what has been learned in their own country, state/province or city) and global evidence (i.e., what has been learned around the world, including how it varies by groups and contexts). Decision-makers may benefit from recommendations that draw on both local and global evidence.

Now is the time to systematize the aspects of using evidence that are going well and address the many shortfalls, which means creating the capacities, opportunities and motivation to use evidence to address societal challenge, and putting in place the structures and processes to sustain them. Now is also the time to balance the use of evidence with judgement, humility and empathy. For those seeking to use evidence to address societal challenges, legitimacy needs to be earned and then actively maintained. The Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges was convened to support people in this vital work.

Read the report and update 2023

Available in seven languages:
Versions available now: 
  • update 2023
  • Online executive summary
  • Online full report
  • Online chapters and sections (or infographics)
  • Print-on-demand full report (at cost through Amazon)