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Stockholm reflections

By evidentiary in  
October 27, 2016
The Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) recently held our first international conference in Stockholm. Stockholm put on a magnificent week of weather that was matched by an inspiring 3 days of presentation, conversation and networking. With over 110 delegates from 19 countries and a well organised social calendar it was an inspiring event. While there were noticeably few participants from the Asia Pacific region, the relevance of the presentations was still high for the application of evidence based decision making in Australia. It was very refreshing to hear senior government officials from leading European environmental agencies stress the importance of evidence based decision making in a) demonstrating responsible government spending and b) in managing decision making risk. These two outcomes are basic to good public service management anywhere in the world.

The conference dinner was held at the Nobel Museum, the official home of memorabilia of  Nobel laureates and inspiring quotations such as that from Louis Agassiz (pictured).  I like this quote in particular as many of us at the conference agreed that there is a connection here in the endeavour of undertaking a rigorous review of evidence in controversial topics or politically sensitive areas!

There is undeniably a strong desire and commitment to use more rigorous forms of evidence synthesis in decision making in many European countries. Australia’s position regarding evidence based policy making provided some comic moments during the conference, which if I hadn’t been from Australia and devoted 15 years of my career to the cause would have been of shared amusement.

Given the success of the conference, planning has already begun for the next conference in Paris. Together with the ” What Works Global Summit”-https://www.wwgs2016.org/, the Global Evidence Summit – http://www.globalevidencesummit.org/ and the Evidence Live conference – http://evidencelive.org/, there is no shortage of opportunities to learn how we can make better decisions resulting in better outcomes from using systematic reviews of evidence. I look forward to proudly hosting such an event in Australia soon.

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