Generating Knowledge and Building Capacity
This theme addresses how different forms of knowledge inform decision-making and action-taking. It aims to span and integrate understanding from formal assessment processes established by government and inter-governmental agencies, through to the diverse kinds of local and organizational knowledge often embedded in practices. Access to, and the capacity for, analysis are highly differentiated in Mekong societies. This places a high social responsibility on technical experts and their managers operating within bureaucracies that often have strong organizational interests for particular types of rationales and findings. The science-policy interface must therefore be negotiated and its inherent interdependencies acknowledged.
Our Fellowship Program comes under the umbrella of this theme, and has been strengthened following a review process. It will remain a key focus for building technical capacity in integrated water resource management for both researchers and government officials.
M-POWER recognizes that significant knowledge generation and capacity building need to occur. Our thesis is that the social learning with respect to water governance in the Mekong Region has been far slower and weaker than is required to secure sustainable livelihoods for socially vulnerable groups and to address the social development and economic growth challenges of the region. Assessments are rarely perceived as credible and even fewer as legitimate. The analyses of research and policy groups lack saliency. The media reproduces myths and misinformation without critical analysis. The result is that fact and fiction are intertwined in ways that hinder negotiations, dialogues and effective policy-making.