Decisions informed by best evidence for responding to societal challenges
Government policymakers, organizational leaders, many types of professionals, and citizens—their collective decisions shape the response to societal challenges. How can we better support decision-makers to rely on best evidence in decision-making?
Data analytics, modelling, evaluation, behavioural/ implementation research, qualitative insights, evidence synthesis, technology assessment/cost-effectiveness analysis, guidelines—what types of research evidence are conducive to what types of decisions?
‘Slow burn’ issues, long-standing concerns, and unpredictable future crises—what if we could exact the lessons for curating and relying on best evidence in decision-making to inform the response to every societal challenge, every time?
About the Evidence Commission
The Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges will produce recommendations (by December 2021) and pursue 'pathways to influence' (in the first half of 2022) to strengthen the use of evidence by decision-makers – be they government policymakers, organizational leaders, professionals, or citizens – in addressing societal challenges, both in routine times and in future global crises. At the core of our work is better understanding the range of societal challenges we face and how best to prepare decision-makers to effectively respond drawing on the world’s best evidence.
Our audience are people who make or can influence decisions about whether and how evidence is used to address societal challenges.
Our report will be built around key exhibits (infographics, tables and text boxes) that build momentum for action.
- COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-generation focus on evidence among governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations, many types of professionals, and citizens
- Their decisions have shaped the pandemic response and will shape responses to future societal challenges
- The pandemic has fast-tracked collaboration among decision-makers and researchers, but drawing from a range of types of evidence to inform decision-making is not yet routine
- Now is the time to systematize the aspects of using evidence that have gone well and address the many shortfalls
Our independent panel of commissioners will produce a report with recommendations for ways to better meet the evidence needs of decision-makers in routine times and in future global crises. In doing so, they will build on and complement past work, such as the examples below.
How will the Evidence Commission complement and build upon past work?
- Our work recognizes the distinct needs of different types of decision-makers vs. targetting single types of decision-makers. For example, the U.S. Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (2017) focuses on government decision-makers.
- Our work considers the complementarities of different types of evidence vs. prioritizing single evidence sources. For example, the Science Academies of the Group of Seven (G7) nations released a statement on Data for International Health Emergencies: Governance, Operations and Skills (2021), which focuses on data analytics.
- Our work helps to prepare for different types of societal challenges vs. focusing on single categories of challenges. For example, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (2021) focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does success look like?
Armed with the world’s best evidence, decision-makers can more effectively respond to societal challenges, for example:
- UN’s Secretary General supports the design, implementation and monitoring of the evidence architecture needed to ensure that evidence is at the heart of the UN’s the efforts to deliver the SDGs
- A non-governmental organization establishes an integrated decision-support unit that commissions data analytics, evidence syntheses and behavioural insights and integrates them into briefing notes
- A citizen group relies on evidence syntheses to fact check statements made by government and to advocate for change
Supported by improved global and national prioritization and coordination processes, evidence producers work in their respective areas of strength and build on one another’s work, while evidence intermediaries package the right evidence on the right issues at the right time in the right context
Learn more. Download our brief on the Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges.