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Thursday, 23 October 2003
Knowledge and Agricultural Development in Africa: Building Local Policy Research Institutions
Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
11:45 am - 2:00 pm, Perkins Room (E-415), 4th Floor, Eliot Building, KSG (Map)
Lunch will be served

This presentation emphasizes the role of diversity in the generation of knowledge needed for policy making.  It uses the case of the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), founded by the speaker in Nairobi in 1988, to illustrate how knowledge-based institutions interact with policy makers to guide development processes.  ACTS was established to undertake policy research, promote training, and disseminate information on the role of technological innovation in sustainable development, with particular emphasis on agriculture.

Biography:

Calestous Juma is Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Science, Technology and Globalization Project. He is a former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and Founding Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi. He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences and the World Academy of Art and Science, member of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences, and National Associate of the U.S. National Academies. He has served on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on science advice for sustainable development, geographical information sciences, and biotechnology. He is coordinator of the United Nations Millennium Project's Task Force on Science, Technology and Innovation. He has visiting appointments at the United Nations University in Tokyo and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. He has won several international awards for his work on the environment and development. He holds a PhD in science and technology policy studies, and has written widely on science, technology and the environment. He is working on a book on biotechnology and globalization.

Presentation slides:

Juma, Calestous. "Knowledge and Agricultural Development in Africa: Building Local Policy Research Institutions." PowerPoint presentation from Knowledge for Development Seminar, 23 October 2003, Center for International Development, Harvard University.

Seminar Report:

Juma, Calestous. "Knowledge and Agricultural Development in Africa: Building Local Policy Research Institutions." Report of the Knowledge for Development Seminar held 23 October 2003. Prepared by Vanessa Timmer, Center for International Development, Harvard University.

Background document:

Juma, Calestous, and Norman Clark. 1995. "Policy Research in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Exploration." Public Administration and Development 15: 121-137.

This article argues that a major problem with contemporary policy analysis is that it has difficulty coming to terms with complex economic change. This in turn is probably influenced by a view of socioeconomic systems that still harks back to the classical mechanics of the nineteenth century and a relatively stable world in which social action could reasonably be informed by disinterested scientific research of a traditional kind.  By means of a review of some recent policy analysis literature and by focusing on issues relating to development issues in contemporary Africa, the article maintains that a more realistic approach would recognize the evolutionary nature of modern socioeconomic systems and base policy interventions accordingly.  In particular, there is a need to see 'policy' as a process of complex change requiring innovative institutional contexts and novel managerial capabilities.

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