The Seventh Annual Research Conference on Population, Reproductive Health, and Economic Development was held Jan. 23-26, 2013, in Oslo, Norway. The conference was co-sponsored by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Population Reference Bureau, Fafo, and The Research Council of Norway. The meeting brought together the world’s most prominent researchers on population and economic development, with a particular emphasis on African economics researchers and those conducting research in Africa. Over 100 researchers and policymakers from sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, the United States, South America, and South Asia attended the conference.
As at past conferences, participants:
- Learned about ongoing and planned research on how population dynamics and reproductive health affect economic development.
- Identified gaps in evidence and methods that inhibit development of sound policies on population, family planning, and reproductive health.
- Discussed examples of the influence of research on these policy issues.
Many participants attended the pre-Conference Methods Workshop, which delved into panel data analysis using random and fixed-effect modeling, while others discussed various methodological issues and tools during session Q&A and between the sessions. Current IIE Fellows attended an interactive workshop on how to communicate research to decision makers for evidence-based policy. The 18 research presentations covered technical aspects of research methodologies on policy-relevant family planning, reproductive health and development issues, and presenters shared their findings on these topics.
In addition to building the evidence base with policy-relevant research on the links between economic development and reproductive health, the PopPov Network also seeks to communicate this evidence to policymakers. State secretary of Norway, Gry Larsen, opened the conference by highlighting the importance of research serving as the basis for policy decisions. Dr. Frederick Mugisha of the Uganda Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development provided commentary at the end of the first day, emphasizing the need to make research findings relevant to policymakers.
As the conference progressed, a key theme emerged: the importance clearly communicating research findings. Siri Tellier, currently at the Copenhagen School of Public Health and former director of UNFPA (Geneva), delivered the keynote address, giving advice on how to communicate with decisionmakers. Invited presenter Hans Rosling of the GapMinder Foundation emphasized the importance of clear communication, while delivering a policy-relevant, ‘edu-taining’ presentation, “Fact-Based Worldview.”
Finally, Dr. Ruth Levine, Global Development and Population Program Director at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, closed the conference with a guide on how research can influence policy, and emphasized the ways that researchers can simplify their message to make it more digestible for policymakers.
Blog Posts From the Conference: 2013 PopPov Blog Archives
Conference Agenda: (PDF: 554KB)
Conference Paper Abstracts: (PDF: 490KB)
PRB, FAFO, and conference participants tweeted throughout the week (#poppov) from Oslo. Interviews with senior researchers and funding partners on various population and economic issues and their implications for public policy will be posted as they become available.