Influencing Policy Processes. Lessons from Experience
The literature available on best practices for providing policy assistance and influencing effectively national policy processes is insufficient to provide appropriate guidance to those whose work it is to help countries in shaping their policies and ensure that the advice they provide has a good chance of being adopted by governments.
Based on these premises, this study, qualitative in nature, uses the results of a review of existing literature, a consultation with 25 agencies conducting policy assistance activities and an in-depth review of 12 FAO policy assistance projects to highlight a series of good practices that can contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of policy advisory activities. It shows that understanding the context within which policy assistance is provided, the process followed, the expertise mobilized and an effective and creative management are critical factors of influencing policy processes. It demonstrates the need for international and bilateral agencies to regard policy assistance in a new way: a knowledge-based activity where technical and analytical skills are necessary but not sufficient and need to be complemented by "soft" skills like facilitation and negotiation.