Global Governance Institute


Panel Discussion: Global Public Policy and the Role of Experts

13 June 2018, 6:15 pm–7:30 pm

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Event Information

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E28 Harrie Massey LT, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY

Experts play a vital role in global public policy, from agenda-setting through to monitoring and implementation efforts. Their influence is arguably growing as global policy-making mechanisms - and the problems they aim to address - become ever more complex and protracted. Expert involvement provides an important source of knowledge and authority for global regulatory bodies, especially agencies working on issues perceived as largely 'technical'. However, reliance on experts can also pose legitimacy challenges, with the potential to undermine evidence-based policy-making. As witnessed in the UK Brexit debate, confronted by contrary expert opinion, pro-Brexit politicians declared that "people in this country have had enough of experts". 

This panel discussion will reflect on the role of researchers and experts in spurring global public policy innovation. It will reflect on how expert-driven governance of transboundary problems, while vital, is also not a 'neutral' or 'un-political' endeavour. The decoupling of global policy-making from national democratic procedures can blur the lines between expert advice and executive decision-making, with significant consequences for legitimacy and, ultimately, implementation. Observers have attributed a sense of remoteness from global policy-making procedures as a key driver in the erosion of public confidence in multilateral organisations, fuelled by a surge in support for populist and nationalist movements and growing suspicion of scientific evidence.

In this difficult climate, what role can and should researchers play in formulating evidence-based global public policies that also enjoy legitimacy and broad-based public support? How can they communicate research better to both policy-makers and the wider public in an age of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts'? And how can they ensure that communication also works the other way around, with academic debates reflecting the voices of those on the receiving end of global public policies? 

This event is free and open to all but, to avoid disappointment, please register at: EVENTBRITE: Global Public Policy and the Role of Experts

Panel Members: 

Wendy Carlin is Professor of Economics at UCL and Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). Her research focuses on macroeconomics, institutions and economic performance, and the economics of transition. She is a member of the Expert Advisory Panel of the UK's Office for Budget Responsibility and has acted as a consultant for international organisations such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank. She is leading an international project - the CORE project - to reform the undergraduate economics curriculum. 

Sarah Hawkes is Professor of Global Public Health at the UCL Institute for Global Health where she leads a research theme analysing the use of evidence in policy processes, particularly in relation to gender and health, and sexual health. She has lived and worked for much of the past 20 years in Asia, where she has gathered evidence, built capacity and helped develop policy for programmes focusing on gender, sexual health and human rights. She works closely with national governments, research organisations, WHO and UNFPA in Asia and the Middle East. She also leads the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health. 

Chris Rapley is Professor of Climate Science at UCL and Chair of the UCL Policy Commission on the Communication of Climate Science. He is also Chair of the London Climate Change Partnership, and a Board member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Prior to joining UCL, he was variously Director of the Science Museum, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, and Executive Director of the International-Geosphere Biosphere Programme. In addition to his commitment to understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change, his recent work has focused on the public understanding of climate change and the role of scientists in engaging with policy makers and the public.

Uta Staiger is the co-founder and Executive Director of the UCL European Institute. Since 2010, she has led the Institute in its mission to both create and curate opportunities for research on Europe, within and beyond UCL. She has been actively involved in driving UCL's policy engagement on EU and European matters, including relationships with key stakeholders. In June 2017, she was appointed as UCL's Pro-Vice-Provost (Europe), a strategic role shaping UCL's engagement with Europe. In this role, she also contributes to UCL's institutional strategy and research-based response to Brexit.

Chair: David Coen, Director of the UCL Global Governance Institute

This event is organised by the UCL Global Governance Institute, with support from the UCL Global Engagement Office (GEO) / Office of the Vice-Provost (International) and UCL Public Policy / Office of the Vice-Provost (Research).