Knowledge Sharing Activities of the JDC: Disseminating evidence and data on those forcibly displaced

Background and context

The Charter for the World Bank-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement (JDC), as approved in December 2019, states that the JDC will pursue its mission by “… sharing relevant Data and information in a systematic manner to better inform decision making for persons of concern …”[1]  and shall facilitate the collaboration between UNHCR and the World Bank (WB) in “sharing knowledge, ideas and lessons learned”[2].

The “Knowledge Sharing” workstream including its two components: i). JDC Outreach activities and ii). the Fellowship program and Senior visiting stay program directly addresses these objectives and therefore contributes to JDC’s core mission. The ‘Knowledge Sharing” activities represent a crucial element in establishing the JDC as a pivotal institution that will initiate, develop, and strengthen partnerships among various stakeholders within the context of forced displacement. Specifically, the JDC aims to collect evidence from data-based research, either financed and supported by the JDC or originating from other rigorous studies. This evidence is then disseminated among a wide audience of academic scholars, practitioners, staff in international and non-governmental organizations, and policymakers, with an ultimate goal of informing policy-design, implementation and programming.

 

Activity description

The JDC Outreach activities include a quarterly seminar series; an annual research conference; monthly newsletters and literature reviews; a quarterly digest series; blog posts; JDC webpage; support to agenda-setting publication(s); and separate activities designed to respond to immediate requests from the research community.

The activities are implemented according to several methodologies and approaches reflecting specific objectives:

  1. The Quarterly Seminar Series is organized with a dual aim. First, these seminars facilitate  knowledge exchange between the JDC and the speakers—  they give an opportunity to leading academics to visit the JDC, meet its staff, and learn about its activities; and at the same time, they offer the JDC staff, an intellectual exchange, and possibly establish long-term work relations with the speakers and their institutions. Second, the seminars serve to establish the JDC as a hub for knowledge diffusion on forced displacement. The seminars are live-streamed and recorded to reach a wide audience among academics and practitioners. These recordings are available on the JDC website[3].
  2. The Annual Research Conference presents an avenue for the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and best practices among stakeholders, conducive to the establishment of new collaborations and the development of innovative work relations. The future editions of the conference will build upon the success of the inaugural edition, which took place in January 2020. The 2020 conference saw the participation of more than 100 members of the research community and practitioners, and gave the participants the possibility to discuss and analyze current and future topics on forced displacement. The event was broadcast live and attracted more than 500 viewings. These encouraging figures indicate a keen interest and represent a great starting point for the development of a successful conference series.
  3. The monthly Literature Review Update builds on reviews prepared by the World Bank’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group over the past 18 months. It is shaped as a cumulative process, so that each issue contributes to a consolidated repository of summaries; at the same time, the Literature Review Update is delivered in an agile and accessible format, in which papers are presented in an abstract-long summary, to facilitate the dissemination of key messages. It is distributed to all newsletter subscribers as well as through internal channels within UNHCR and the World Bank Group. The repository of summaries – some 400 pieces – is accessible on the JDC website.[4] By informing the readers – including government representatives, civil society actors, researchers – about up-to-date contributions, the Literature Review supports the JDC’s overall mission to enhance the ability of stakeholders to make timely and evidence-informed decisions that can improve the lives of affected people.
  4. The monthly Newsletter accompanies the Literature Review Update (or the Quarterly Digest) and serves to (i) inform interested stakeholders of the activities of the JDC; and (ii) stimulate engagement of the readers with the JDC’s sponsored initiatives. Currently, more than 2,000 subscribers receive the Newsletter, and this number is growing constantly. Moreover, it reaches around 1,000 additional readers through channels internal to the World Bank and UNHCR.
  5. The Quarterly Digest Series builds on the experience of the Literature Review Updates and provides the readers an overview of academic work and research on specific topics related to forced displacement for a broader understanding of that particular issue. The structure of the Digest is similar to the Literature Review Update, but each quarterly issue focuses on a theme, and covers a shorter list of seminal papers published over a potentially long period of time. Moreover, the Quarterly Digest features an introductory piece written by an academic expert. The introduction provides an interpretation of the main results of the featured papers and guides the readers in appreciating their relevance in the context of contemporary policymaking.
  6. Blog posts provide insights on initiatives related to JDC work program and mission and stimulate interest for an evidence-based dialogue on forced displacement issues.
  7. The JDC webpage represents the focal point for the dissemination of information regarding the JDC’s structure, mission, and activities. The webpage was launched in August 2020 and is continuously updated to keep track of JDC’s activities. The website offers a platform for storage and dissemination of JDC-sponsored events and their audio-video recordings. This complements other dissemination channels and digital tools which are being used for wider outreach. For example, the JDC’s 2020 Research Conference recordings are available and easily accessible on  [5]
  8. Support to agenda-setting publication(s) focused on forced displacement targets high quality and yet accessible publications, which can ensure that practitioners are informed by evidence-based research. The support will create a communication platform for JDC to reach host communities and displaced individuals. An example of such platform is the Forced Migration Review (FMR), published three times a year by the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. The Review has a diverse readership in more than 170 countries, with readers and authors across humanitarian, development and research communities. The FMR is published in English, Arabic, Spanish, and French and can be accessed. in print and online formats. All these features facilitate its diffusion in the Global South. The JDC will financially support the FMR and work closely with the editorial board in identifying research themes.
  9. Other activities: The JDC will propose ad hoc knowledge sharing and dissemination activities to respond to emerging challenges in a timely manner. For example, the JDC Primer summarizes efforts of researchers and practitioners in analysing the impact of COVID-19 on forcibly displaced populations. The JDC also organizes (or contributes to organize) ad hoc workshops on topics highly pertinent to its mandate. The JDC team members will also participate and actively contribute to international conferences, meetings, and other events to further disseminate knowledge that the Center will accumulate throughout the lifespan of its activities. These efforts will increase as the body of data and evidence produced by JDC-supported activities grows. Furthermore, the JDC team members will provide inputs and contribute to UNHCR and WB publications, when requested. For example, the JDC members will draft several background papers for the seventh UNHCR The State of the World’s Forcibly Displaced publication and provide inputs to WB’s World Development Report 2021 on Data.

 

Overall objectives

The overall objective of the Knowledge Sharing activities is to stimulate increased policy and academic debate on forced displacement and position the JDC as a key facilitator of data-based knowledge exchange between different stakeholders. Specifically, the activities included in this workstream aim to reach two complementary goals. First, they contribute to the dissemination of new, data-driven evidence on forced displacement issues. This evidence can be produced through JDC-sponsored activities included in the JDC Work Program, or can originate from academic research, which is promoted through JDC  events, such as the annual research conference or quarterly seminars. Second, they reinforce the links between the JDC, think tanks,  research institutions and other evidence-driven actors. This is done by hosting both junior and senior researchers and offering them the facilities and means for developing their research agendas.

 

Engagement with partners

The Knowledge Sharing activities of the JDC will offer a platform to disseminate research, results, and evidence on forced displacement produced by several units of the WB and UNHCR, as well as other partners, some of them supported directly by the JDC. These activities will be developed in close collaboration with relevant units and partners to facilitate knowledge exchange, and dissemination, leading to stronger partnerships.

 

Contact

For further details on this activity, please contact:

 

[1] Charter, IV.1.a

[2] Charter, IV.2.c

[3] https://www.jointdatacenter.org/news-and-events/past-conferences-and-quarterly-seminars/

[4] https://www.jointdatacenter.org/jdc-literature-review/

[5] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRNOUCMcW7Z3RokGw6_9UdA/playlists

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