Why Think Tank matters «

Why Think Tank matters

Institute for Integrated Development Studies (IIDS) organized a session entitled ‘Why Think Tanks Matter: Making People Centered Public Policy’ at IIDS in Kathmandu on Wednesday to acknowledge the efforts of think tanks in Nepal and how they can play a vital role inmaking the public policies pro-public.
Dr. Bishnu Dev Pant, Executive Director of IIDS opened the programme highlighting the two major objectives of programme: to release GGTTI2017 report and explore why think tank matters especially after the changed political context and that the new government is on the offing so that think tanks can adequately facilitate.
Think tanks started from 70s in Nepal with the inception of CEDA which performed as one of the most vibrant think tanks not just in Nepal but in South Asia. Similarly, IIDS was established in 1979 and it performed very exciting role in its initial days.
However, the good work could not continue as it ceased to work effectively as a think tank. Due to lack of fund, the think tank’s work unfortunately started being donor driven. In other countries, the respective governments support their indigenous think tanks with funds which unfortunately not the case in our country. However, he showed optimism that the new government will do something.
Dr. James McGann, Director, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Programme, University of Pennsylvania said that there are two issues which they are going to highlight in this year’s Go To Report. One is the sustainability challenge facing think tanks in Africa and other regions of the world and the looming food and water crisis.
Chairing the programme Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, Former Vice Chair of National Planning Commission (NPC), talked about the need for a think tank, especially in current context. He opined that older models of development have become irrelevant today as the theories of past do not work in today country context. Contextualizing and adapting these theories according to today’s demand is the need of the hour since technology is constantly changing.
The panelist of the session included Mr. Ganesh Shah, Former Minister, Environment Science and Technology; Dr. Ram Manohar Shrestha, Professor Emeritus, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand; Dr. Arun Kumar Thakur, Executive Director, CEDA, TU; Prof. Govind Nepal, Acting Chaiman, Institute for Strategic and Socio-economic Research (ISSR); Dr. Pushpa Raj Rajkarnikar, Chairperson, IPRAD and Dr. Bishnu Dev Pant, Executive Director, IIDS.
Dr. Ram Manohar Shrestha, Professor Emeritus, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand was of the view that we lack the basic soul of Research and Development in our education system.
Dr. Arun Kumar Thakur, Executive Director, CEDA, TU, on the occasion asked to understand the situation and the needs of think tanks. Citing an example of CEDA as to how the think tank has been hit by government apathy, he said that there are no money for research, no recognition, no facilities, no fund for administrative support from the government and there are lots of deficiencies.
Likewsie, Prof Govind Nepal, Acting Chairman, Institute for Strategic and Socio-economic Research (ISSR) opined that the country does not have favourable environment for think tanks and due to different reasons they have not been able to work impartially, rather are doing consultancy business.
Dr. Bishnu Pant, Executive Director, IIDS, on the occasion, reiterated the other speakers. He opined that there are three major issues- sustainability, relevancy and bureaucratic hurdles.
At the end of remarks by the panelists, Dr. Khatiwada released the 11th Edition of the Global Go to Think Tank Index Report in Nepal.