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Data-driven policymaking in Nepal can make a positive impact. How can it be promoted then?

data _ graph and policy
Representational image. Photo: Pexels/ Lukas

Data-driven policymaking involves using data and evidence to inform the development and implementation of policies. It uses data and evidence to understand a policy problem, identify potential policy options, evaluate its potential impacts and trade-offs, and make informed decisions about which opportunities to pursue.

It involves collecting and analysing data from various sources, including government agencies, research studies, and community surveys, to understand the policy problem and identify potential solutions.

Data-driven policymaking is increasingly used in various policy areas, including education, healthcare, economic development, and criminal justice. It is also being used at all levels of government abroad, from local to national.

In the global scenario, data-driven policymaking is an essential tool for policymakers seeking to address the challenges facing their communities and help them achieve their goals.

But, Nepal has not been an earlier adopter of this practice as the state of data-driven policymaking in Nepal is still developing, and there is significant room for improvement to integrate this concept into the policymaking process fully.

Challenges in implementation

One of the main benefits of data-driven policymaking is that it can help policymakers be informed while making more evidence-based decisions. This eventually leads them to take decisions on objective data rather than subjective opinions or beliefs. This indicates a better understanding of the needs and priorities of the communities they serve, leading them to design policies that are more likely to be effective and impactful.

Data-driven policymaking and implementation
Photo: Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio

Data-driven policymaking involves using data and evidence to inform the development and implementation of policies. While there are efforts to improve data collection and reporting systems in Nepal and promote data and evidence in policymaking, several challenges limit the use of data-driven policymaking in the country.

There are some critical challenges to data-driven policymaking in Nepal. Firstly, Nepal has limited data and evidence on many policy issues, making it difficult for policymakers to make informed decisions. This may be due to a lack of data collection and reporting systems or limited resources available to collect and analyse data.

Secondly, the quality of the data available in Nepal may be questionable, with errors or inconsistencies that could impact the reliability of the data. This may be due to data collection or reporting issues or outdated or unreliable sources.

Thirdly, the data available in Nepal may not be easily accessible to policymakers and other stakeholders, making it difficult for them to use it to inform policy decisions. This may be due to data storage and management issues or limited data analysis and visualisation resources.

Fourthly, there may be a lack of data literacy among policymakers and other stakeholders in Nepal, making it difficult for them to use data to inform policy decisions effectively. This may include a lack of understanding of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data or familiarity with data visualisation tools and techniques.

The way forward

There are many steps that could be taken to improve data-driven policymaking in Nepal. Some potential strategies include:

data Data-driven policymaking and implementation
Photo: Pexels/ Lukas:
  • Improving data collection and reporting systems

Nepal has limited data and evidence on many policy issues, making it difficult for policymakers to make informed decisions. Improving data collection and reporting systems could help to increase the availability and quality of data in Nepal.

  • Promoting data literacy

There may be a lack of data literacy among policymakers and other stakeholders in Nepal, making it difficult for them to use data to inform policy decisions effectively. Promoting data literacy could involve training programmes or initiatives to improve understanding of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data and using data visualisation tools and techniques.

  • Developing systems for storing, managing, and accessing data

Ensuring that data is easily accessible to policymakers and other stakeholders is critical for effective data-driven policymaking. Developing strategies for storing, managing, and accessing data more efficiently could help to improve data accessibility in Nepal.

  • Investing in data analysis and visualisation

Analysing and visualising data can be critical for understanding complex policy issues and identifying potential solutions. Therefore, investing in data analysis, visualisation tools, and expertise could help policymakers use data better to inform policy decisions in Nepal.

  • Building partnerships and collaborations

Building partnerships and collaborations with data experts, research institutions, and other stakeholders can help Nepal improve data-driven policymaking. These partnerships can provide access to new data sources, expertise, and resources and facilitate the exchange of ideas and best practices.

Generally, many steps could be taken to improve data-driven policymaking in Nepal. And by addressing these challenges and building on these opportunities, Nepal can strengthen its capacity for data-driven policymaking.

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Ghimire is a lawyer.

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