FEATURE: In conversation… with Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, CDKN Asia Director
Simon Maxwell: Ali you’re the Regional Director for Asia of the CDKN. How do you see the problem of linking climate change and development in your region?
Ali Tauqeer Sheikh: We have three challenges cut for us in CDKN. One how to strengthen the capacity of these research institution and think-tanks. Two how do we make them talk to each other in substantive terms. Third is how do we improve and strengthen the policy input of think-tank and research institutions.
Simon: Are you going to work in the whole region or are you going to try and focus geographically?
Ali: Priority countries for now are Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Essentially we wish to respond to the demand that comes to us. The research has to assume a central role in encouraging policymaking that is based on evidence. It has to come from the evidence that is emerging in the field, at the community level. The farmers and the communities have their ears closer to the ground and they’re responding to the changes that are happening in terms of natural resource management. Remember the governments are not monolithic. It’s not one person who makes the decision. There are a host of institutions and organisations, departments, ministries, where the climate impact is faced and they need to respond too. So our client is not necessarily ministries of environment alone. These are in planning commissions, these are ministries of agriculture, these are departments of human resource planning and so on and so forth.
Simon: And briefly when you look back in five years time on what you’ve been able to achieve in Asia through the climate change and development network what will you think has been successful?
Ali: I think I’d like to see our impact in terms of more specific response from the governments that we work within terms of the policies, action plans and priority investments. Then we’ll also like to see strengthened capacities of these institutions to work on policy area after our departure.
Simon: Ali we have a number of different instruments available to us in the climate change and development network. We have research funding. We have some money for advisory services. We have money for knowledge management and partnerships. How do we put those together when we’re working in practical situations in your countries?
Ali: The network will first and foremost aspire to work with government. First track is technical assistance to the governments that we’ll work with. In policy realm they can update their existing policies, fill in any voids or gaps that they may have, develop action plans if they need to and if they need our assistance and see where we can help with some leverage to attract other funding and resourcesto fill that gap in implementation. That’s first track. Second track, of course is there is a huge wealth of knowledge that is being generated all over. So what we’ll try to do is see if there is any value for partnerships and knowledge management that our partners, such as the governments that I mentioned to you, and any benefit they see in this. And if they do we have a whole scheme of things whereby we can furnish them and assist them with state of the art knowledge in different areas of their interest and their concern. And also linking them up with other think-tanks, research establishments, universities, and other policy forum including linking micro with macro in terms of assisting in global negotiations. And third track is very simple, but very ambitious one. That is there any space and scope for additional research.
Simon: Ali Tauqeer Sheikh thank you very much and good luck with the implementation of the project.
Ali: Thank you Simon.