We are a network of experienced development professionals who all take a political economy perspective to development. Our Directors, Principals and Associates have specialist knowledge of particular countries and sectors. They have strong connections to government, the private sector, civil society, media and research organisations. They bring to bear their own long working experience within official agencies, academia and the private sector.
The Policy Practice applies a political economy approach to supporting positive change in developing countries. We undertake strategic and policy work in developing countries, including political economy analysis, programme designs, reviews, and evaluations. We also run a flagship training course on political economy analysis and provide bespoke training for a wide variety of clients.
ICAI democracy and human rights review
The UK Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) has published its review of UK aid's approach to democracy and human rights. TPP Director, Laure-Hélène Piron, was the team leader.
The review found that the UK’s democracy and human rights work has delivered useful results, often in difficult political contexts, but has been significantly affected by budget reductions since 2020 and the lack of a strategic framework. While it awarded an overall green/amber score, it found that future results were in doubt and that the UK no longer has the ability to respond to new challenges and deliver on the UK government’s high policy ambitions in this area.
Blog: Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies – the politics of saving the planet
Hands up if you would like petrol prices to go up? I’m guessing not too many hands. The cripplingly high costs of energy (both fuel, whether petrol, diesel, gas or coal as well as electricity) have posed a huge challenge for households and firms all around the world. Massive increases in these costs, driven by the weaponization of energy by Putin after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, have plunged some households into poverty – forcing them to choose between heating and eating. Businesses have laid off workers and scaled back activities because of the crippling price rises.
Read the full blog from Dr. Neil McCulloch on Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies: the politics of saving the planet
Book: Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies – the politics of saving the planet
TPP Director, Neil McCulloch, has just launched a book on “Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies – the politics of saving the planet”, published by Practical Action Publishing. The book explains what fossil fuel subsidies are, how they inflict harm and what steps are being taken to reduce them. It also shows why subsidies persist and why existing efforts have been so ineffective. Drawing lessons from countries which have tried to remove fossil fuel subsidies, it explains that the fundamental challenge to reform is not technical, but political. The book lays out a new agenda for action on fossil fuel subsidies, showing how a better understanding of the underlying political incentives can lead to more effective approaches to tackling this major global problem.
See this link for a video of author Neil McCulloch introducing his book in a lecture at IDS.
COP27 makes some progress but political alignment is inadequate
In this second blog, Sam Bickersteth, climate change expert at The Policy Practice, reflects on what has been achieved at the 27th UN conference on climate change, and the political economy barriers to saving our planet by reducing emissions.
Keeping our attention on climate change – listening to the COP27 Hubbub
The annual UN conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention has kicked off in Egypt and it is getting attention like never before. When the UN Secretary General tells us that we are close to irreversible tipping points and “climate hell” then we should be sitting up and listening.
But what can we hear through the hubbub of statements from Heads of State, multiple side events, news reports and pre COP blogs? What will hold our attention and that of our leaders preoccupied with recession, food and energy price hikes, the war in Ukraine and the impending northern hemisphere winter?
Read the first blog by TPP Principal, Sam Bickersteth.
Latest Political Economy Analysis in Action online training course launched
We are pleased to announce the launch of our next Political Economy Analysis in Action online training course, starting 20 February till 23 June 2023.
The course is designed to equip participants to identify the challenges arising from political economy features of the contexts in which they work, and to draw well-grounded conclusions for policy, strategy, or programme design and implementation.
Documentary and policy brief on solar energy development
The American University of Beirut, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and The Policy Practice have collaborated on a documentary and policy brief on the challenges facing solar power development in Lebanon, drawing lessons from Jordan and Yemen.
Link to the documentary here.
Thinking and Working Politically on Health Systems Resilience
A new paper by Gareth Williams, The Policy Practice Director, and the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice, reflects on the political economy and governance factors that have affected health systems resilience during COVID-19.
The Policy Practice is assisting the World Bank Governance Practice pilot a training course to support the roll-out of its new GovEnable approach between January and June 2023.
TPP Associate Anna Paterson is co-leading an evaluation of Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises, an internationally known humanitarian health research programme established in 2013 to generate evidence on recognised public health challenges in humanitarian crises and promote its use.
Neil McCulloch, TPP Director, conducted an Applied Political Economy Analysis for the USAID funded Sri Lanka Energy Activity. It included an assessment of public and stakeholder sentiment with regards to the governance of Sri Lanka’s power sector, and provided a critical situational awareness for the USAID delivery unit.
The Policy Practice is a lead provider of training on applied political economy analysis for development practitioners.
Political economy analysis provides a deeper understanding of the contexts in which development happens – whether international, national, sectoral or local. It explores how structural factors, institutions and incentives of the key actors shape the possibilities for change in any given context – and how development partners can influence this.
Our course is designed to equip advisers and programme managers to identify the main political and institutional challenges and opportunities in the contexts in which they work, and to draw well-grounded conclusions for strategy, programme design and approaches to implementation.
We have run our flagship course for development professionals over 45 times since 2008, training over 2,000 professionals. We also offer tailored courses and bespoke advice to organisations that wish to deepen their capacity to undertake political economy analysis or manage their programmes more adaptively. Course participants come from bilateral and multilateral organisations, such as the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the US Agency for International Development, the Netherlands Foreign Ministry, Irish Aid, the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, or the United Nations Development Programme. Our clients also include research centres, non-governmental organisations and private companies, such as the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, Save The Children, Saferworld, DAI, Palladium or Chemonics.
Political economy analysis in action online training course
Our next popular online Political Economy Analysis in Action training course will run from 20th February to 23rd June 2023. Apply by 16 December 2022 to benefit from our earlybird discount. Applications close on 31 January 2023.
Participants on our interactive 17-week online course:
- Learn what political economy analysis is and why it matters
- Explore political economy concepts and how to use them
- Interact with leading experts on political economy analysis and thinking and working politically on a weekly basis
- Work through real-life case studies applying political economy tools to development challenges
- Participate in regular webinars with other course participants
- Learn how to ‘think and work politically’ in their own work
- Participants work both independently and in small groups to complete weekly tasks
See our course flyer for further information on the course, or email email@example.com if you have any questions.