Put evidence at the centre of everyday life

Our third implementation priority – put evidence at the centre of everyday life – is where we turn our focus to citizens, who are at the end of the day the people who government policymakers, organizational leaders, and professionals, as well as those working in multilateral organizations, are meant to serve.

In recent years, we have seen some small-scale responses from governments and from citizen-serving non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on this front. There has been more focus on polarization and misinformation and efforts to address both. There has been more recognition of the need to maximize the benefits of artificial intelligence (e.g., ChatGPT) while minimizing its harms. The Global Evidence Commission itself brought together diverse citizens as part of two citizen panels addressing how to put evidence at the centre of everyday life.

The Global Evidence Commission’s secretariat, the Global Evidence Commission’s Citizen Leadership Group and their partners are speaking with many citizen-serving NGOs and citizen leaders to identify what is going well that needs to be systematized and scaled up, and what gaps should be prioritized to fill, and to work with government policymakers and citizen-serving NGOs, among others, to push for improvements. Specifically, our current strategic focus for this work is to:

  • Identify promising practices and innovations, especially among
    • Citizen-governed and citizen-serving NGOs
    • Social movements, citizen coalitions and citizen partnerships seeking to drive change
    • Local governments seeking to engage citizens and communities in local change initiatives
  • Document the supporting evidence, exemplar initiatives, and opportunities for improvement
  • Identify key implementation and scale-up considerations for promising practices and innovations
  • Raise awareness about the practices/innovations and improvement, implementation and scale-up considerations

We are particularly interested in understanding promising practices and innovations that put evidence at the centre of everyday life (alongside efforts to counter misinformation):

  • Help citizens judge what others are claiming or more generally find (and receive) reliable information on a topic 
  • Make evidence available to citizens when they are making choices 
  • Engage citizens in asking questions and answering them (with new research or with existing evidence) 
  • Make evidence-based choices the default or easy option
  • Help health and social systems learn and improve rapidly / society-wide transformation

And is guided by two cross-cutting/overarching values: 

  • Developing trusting relationships between citizens, evidence producers, and evidence intermediaries
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion

Spotlight on core recommendations from the Global Evidence Commission report

Here is the core recommendation from our report related to citizens (recommendation 13).

Evidence in everyday life — Citizens should consider making decisions about their and their families’ well-being based on best evidence; spending their money on products and services that are backed by best evidence; volunteering their time and donating money to initiatives that use evidence to make decisions about what they do and how they do it; and supporting politicians who commit to using best evidence to address societal challenges and who commit (along with others) to supporting the use of evidence in everyday life. Government policymakers, among others, need to ensure that citizens have access to best evidence, evidence-checked claims, and simple-to-use evidence-backed resources and websites to make informed choices at all times, not just during global crises. They also need to help build citizens’ media and information literacy, provide the transparency needed for citizens to know when decisions, services and initiatives are based on best evidence, and more generally create a culture where evidence is understood, valued and used.

Another core recommendations relevant to multilateral organizations is recommendation 15 (news and social media platforms). To find out about all 24 of our recommendations, see section 7.2 from our report.

Join our call to action or learn more

Are you a citizen leader or citizen-serving NGO putting evidence at the centre of everyday life? The Global Evidence Commission secretariat is actively pursuing stakeholder engagement and thought leadership opportunities to engage citizens and citizen-serving NGOs in putting evidence at the centre of everyday life, in the following ways:

Please contact evidencecommission@mcmaster.ca to learn more.

Stay connected with the Global Evidence Commission to keep up-to-date with our work.