The URG’s approach is based on the premise that unless its outputs have real impact and generate real (and measurable) change, then the work is not worth undertaking in the first place. This premise will inform the areas of work and projects identified by the Group, the modes of work adopted by the organisation and the means of delivery.
For example, in terms of modes of work, there are many experts (often academic experts) around the world researching and writing about international law and policy. However, their work is often not written for or not accessible to policy-makers and other stakeholders. As a consequence, diplomats, government officials and others too often take decisions without having enjoyed access to a critical and insightful analysis of the issue at hand. This has also led many think-tanks to utilise large (and resource intensive) teams of in-house researchers to undertake the work – with the goal of ensuring that any analysis conducted is policy relevant. In reality, it is important to leverage both external and internal knowledge and expertise. It is of course important to benefit from the expertise of established external experts in a given field, but at the same time it is important to engage analysts who understand the policy imperatives behind the work and know how to ‘package’ and communicate the research and recommendations so that they generate impact.
Therefore, all URG’s projects are implemented by URG analysts (including former diplomats or representatives of human rights NGOs) while working in concert with renowned international experts. In the context of policy reports, for example, this means that they would be co-authored.
Another important consideration guiding the Group’s mode of work is the need to actively engage with and involve all relevant stakeholder groups in the implementation of projects. For example, the process for producing policy reports involves detailed and broad consultations with policy-makers and other stakeholders. This will help ensure the accuracy of analysis, the relevance of policy options and the acceptance and take-up of recommendations – and thus impact.
At the conclusion of every project, URG analysts will conduct a SIM (Show Impact and Measure) analysis to assess and demonstrate its impact on human rights policy and on the on the ground enjoyment of human rights.
SIM analyses include the following:
- Policy analysis – how the recommendations have influenced and been taken-up in policy-making and policy implementation (across a cross-section of sample countries).
- ‘What they’re saying’ – an analysis of how the project has influenced what key policy makers and policy influencers are saying (e.g. in public statements).
- Press analysis – an analysis of the take-up of the ideas and recommendations generated by the project in the world’s mainstream media (online and offline).
- Follow-up discussions (individual or group) with selected decision-makers and opinion-formers to understand their views on the project’s outputs and the degree to which those outputs have influenced thinking and decisions.