COP22 Panel on University Capacity Building in Developing Countries

This morning I attended a panel on the role of university research in increasing capacity building in developing countries 

Increasing Capacity Building in Developing Countries

November 18, 2016

COP22 Panel on University Capacity Building in Developing Countries

This morning I attended a panel on the role of university research in increasing capacity building in developing countries. Capacity building has to do with enhancing the ability for development on an individual, institutional, or societal scale. Capacity building is an effort to understand interactions between government, industry, civil society, and other sectors of society and make necessary changes to these networks in order to increase the amount and efficiency of development.

Nathaniel FisherNathaniel Fisher '19, is a member of Cornell's COP22 delegation

Panelists stressed the importance of increasing university involvement in capacity building and offered a variety of ways in which universities could achieve these goals. The gap between science and policy (i.e., that public policy rarely reflects modern scientific knowledge) was emphasized repeatedly throughout the discussion and identified as a strong indicator of lack of university involvement in capacity building.

Representatives from the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) proposed some solutions, including creating a network of universities across the globe that focuses on capacity building research and allows universities to more easily share knowledge and research. Timmons Roberts of the Climate and Development Lab stressed the importance of finding research questions of mutual interest for organizations in developing countries and university researchers and noted that schedules and deadlines for capacity building research should be aligned with negotiations and conferences. Additionally, he suggested that the review process for capacity development research should be the “normal research model of science turned on its head,” stressing the importance of looking past the traditional peer review process and seeking reviews of research from a diverse array of voices, including NGOs, policymakers, and citizens in developing countries.

These suggestions for increasing practical applications of academic research might appeal to researchers at Cornell and elsewhere who are looking to make a stronger impact on capacity building efforts in developing countries.

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