The Global Research Network on Parliament and People submitted evidence to the House of Commons International Select Committee in response to their inquiry about Sustainable Development Goal 16 (promoting peace, justice and inclusive political institutions). This group of our Fellows, partners, grantees and advisors point out that the UK government has an understandable reluctance to invest bilaterally in developing strong political institutions in countries where government commitment to inclusion and decentralized democracy is weak. However, in such countries there is huge value in investing in individuals and organisations able to produce knowledge and scrutinize politics. Prioritising investment in national research opportunities, and co-operation within civil society, is critically important to SDG16 and deserves far more attention.
We recommend that the UK government increases its investment into research organisations (ROs) and scholars in politically fragile countries, with a larger number of global south scholars acting as Principal Investigators and an increased proportion of funding for ROs in the global south. Lessons about more equitable partnerships should be learned, exchanged and embedded into funding calls. UK universities should be given incentives to recognize the intellectual property rights of Global South scholars and support their leadership in research partnerships and coalitions.
The UK Parliament dissolved for the 2019 General Election in the middle of this inquiry so this evidence has not been published by the committee. We continue to campaign for more investment in Global South scholars and artists and their organisations.