Why a Policy Center in Kuwait?
Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP) 2015-2020 manifests an ambitious resurgence of the country's national policies thereby leading to sustainable human, economic and social development. The strategic policies in the development plan are devised as a roadmap to achieving Kuwait’s national strategic vision 2035 (New Kuwait 2035), the State’s role in human, economic and knowledge development in the light of its pledge to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The results of the strategic planning of the previous five years’ plan KNDP 2010-2014 indicate that policy targets have not been achieved in most sectors as revealed by the current KNDP 2015-2020. With a straightforward and transparent analysis of the current KNDP main strategic trajectories, the plan pointed out to the elements of success and shortfall of the previous five-year development plan (2010-2014) in the light of its set objectives and implemented policies. Administrative, institutional and other obstacles have been mentioned as some of the factors behind unfulfilled goals. The outcome has been reported to affect adversely the levels of achievements and spending plans for development projects.
Therefore, the challenges are the incongruous development policies which entails the presence of some shortcomings in the policy making process. Looking at the main features that enable efficient and effective policy making, the following can be attributed to be integral triggers causing most of the mentioned problems:
- Limited concerted holistic approach (IMMEDIATE cause) to cross-cutting strategic objectives among different departments and entities. Several development sectors encompass different entities that devise their own strategies. For instance, the higher education sector features entities such as ministry of education, Kuwait University, the public authority for technical education, and Private Universities Council. The strategies these entities design are not the outcome of a joined-up approach in which clear visions are defined and understood and barriers are identified and addressed in a way that can avert the possibilities of having overlapping policies or policy gap.
- Some flaws in the inclusive and review approach (UNDERLYING cause) of the policy-making process. Lack of an holistic approach underlies lack of impact assessment or feedback mechanism that can recognize whether policies are constantly meeting the needs of the people and whether their impact is being realized. It also entails constant accurate checks of performance to examine whether the established policy is really dealing with problems it was designed to solve or is merely treating the symptoms. In such a manner, policy-makers might be able to decide to scrap redundant or limited policies.
- Some inconsistencies in the methodological policy and policy planning approach (ROOT cause) where policy making is not established on the best available evidence from a wide range of sources and stakeholders and often lacks implementation relevance. An evidence-based approach relies on policy studies that consider a combination of policy analysis and a program evaluation. Analysis includes the analytical and descriptive analysis used to explain existing policies and their impact, and the prescriptive analysis for new polices to be formulated. Policy studies are the product of existing and new research, consultation with experts and relevant partners. This is evident in the presence of several Science, Technology and Information (STI) research institutions in Kuwait, such as KISR and KFAS, and of several research and studies departments within ministries and public institutions. Some are of great contribution to the STI research base in Kuwait. However, there is no public policy making unit that can serve as a synergy tool to synchronize and synthesize these studies into accurate policy studies and policy papers that can offer properly costed and appraised options of advice to policy makers.
Acknowledging the need for policy research and guidance on improving policy making as explained above, in November 2016, GSSCPD acknowledged the necessity of developing the KPPC. The latter serves as a research center for policy analysis capable of providing policy makers and other stakeholders with evidence-based policy advice to make informed decisions. The center has been created in the new organizational structure of GSSCPD as a unit under the Secretary General’s office to analyze, advocate and back up policy decisions in addition to directing attention towards concrete aspects within the national context and concerns that are relevant to the public as well as policy makers.
What we do
- Consulting with government, non-government and civil society organizations as well as academia to conceptualize public policies for the State of Kuwait.
- Conducting research studies on public policies of all development sectors and areas; including industry, energy, trade, investment, competitiveness, environment, health, education and the community.
- Identifying and assessing public policy targets in Kuwait, relating to the Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP).
- Supporting the preparation of public policies to integrate into the government’s work program.
- Supporting government entities in developing their own respective strategic plans and indicators to evaluate and monitor the performance of their policies.
- Analyzing environmental aspects of Kuwaiti society, taking into account the selection of appropriate and executable policies.
- Overseeing the assessment and surveying public opinion on public policies in Kuwait.
- Building partnerships with public policy centers and support joint action for the analysis and advising of developmental issues related to the future of Kuwait.
- Building capacity of national caliber in the field of research and specialized studies related to public policy and related consultations.
Since its inception in 2016, KPPC has been working on producing evidence-based research and policy analysis to inform the development of the upcoming 5-year Kuwait National Development Plan (KNDP) 2020-2025. To that end, the KPPC has been employing a workflow mechanism across the different pillars in the KNDP. This workflow ensures a thorough research of any policy area as well as capitalizing on the KPPC’s partnerships with other local and international organizations and research institutions to produce evidence-based and informed policy recommendations.
The KPPC workflow begins with analyzing the existing policies in the current KNDP 2015-2020 and identifying currents gaps and challenges. Once these gaps and challenge are identified, a research agenda is drawn up and priority areas are categorized in each policy area that will enable the center to produce ongoing research. This agenda enables the KPPC to reach out to its local and international partners (See Partnership page) to produce research and papers based on the challenges identified for each pillar and policy area. The objective here is to instill a culture of continuous research, testing, and adapting the policy options based on the latest findings and best practices.
Once that is done, work commences on the development of a white policy paper with a strategic roadmap for the policy area that includes policy options and recommendations that are backed with hard evidence and thorough analysis. The latter includes a desk and literature review of other studies and strategies relating to the policy area to build on the existing studies and research that has been already conducted in Kuwait.
In the development of the white papers and policy research, KPPC adopts a participatory approach that involves and engages all relevant stakeholders in the related pillar and policy area. For such, roundtable discussions, face-to-face interviews, surveys, focus group consultations and other methods are used to ensure that policies are reviewed and based on close engagement with stakeholders. Stakeholders include the government entities, private sector, civil society organizations, as well as academia in Kuwait.