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The Canada’s think tanks malaise and the need for innovation

17/10/2013 Leave a comment

“I was disappointed when I learned that the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre has closed its doors, same as Rights and Democracy. The Ottawa’s respected  North-South Institute is also in jeopardy. I share the main thoughts from an essay published in Global and Mail and Toronto Star, and summed up at the CIC website: Better Think Tanks, Better Foreign Policy » .

– For decades Canada’s non-governmental sector was weaned on public funds. Despite repeated warning signs.Their outputs feel oddly out of step with today´s global conversations. This lack of innovation has resulted in a loss of talent. Very few Canadian NGOs are contributing to decision-making in the United Nations or involved in public and private discussions underway in the Americas, Africa and Asia, we’re out of the loop.

– A recent global assessment of the top 150 think tanks from around the world includes just two Canadian entities, the Fraser Institute (25) and the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

– Blame for the closures cannot be laid wholly at the administration’s doorstep. The steady demise of many of Canada’s international non-governmental organizations is also a result of years of dependency and a lack of policy innovation. Foreign policy directives are informed more by ideology than evidence. Authors have brought 5 solutions to spur innovation among Canada’s foreign policy think tanks.

Finally, Canadian experts have find out that innovation, evidence-based policy-making, ICTs are keys to build robust and financially independent think tanks. I hope that Canadian NGOs are willing to be really “international” and join digital conversations as authors have argued.

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