Policy Journal
Overview, Mission and Philosophy
Center For Public Policy Analysis

Need, Vision, And Mission
The center for Public Policy Analysis ("center") is dedicated to documenting, analyzing, and enhancing public policies and practices for the benefit of policy makers and those affected by them. The Center is a part of the Foundation for Understanding and enhancement (FUNEN), a non-profit organization established in 1988 to sponsor and implement projects to improve the economic, social, and cultural environment of people.

The Center's activities focus on the compilation, integration, evaluation, and distribution of information related to significant public policy issues: which policies have worked well and why, which policies have not worked well and why not, and what are the resources available to the policymakers to improve the effectiveness of their policies. The benefits of these activities include: more effective sharing of experiences (both good and bad) of policymakers' endeavors, facilitation of cooperative programs among policy implementers, creation of opportunities for leveraging public funding by programs for investment, development, and trade. Ultimately the analysis can lead to the implementation of improved policies that lead to the betterment of the health, safety, and economic well-being of citizens and prudent management of the environment.

The vision of the Center is to become a leading research institution recognized for its excellence in addressing public policy issues. The mission of the Center is to compile, analyze, and disseminate information and guidance on developing, implementing, and monitoring effective public policies. The following sections of this document discuss the main program areas for the Center and the specific projects being sponsored at the present time.

The Center's overall program focuses on public policy issues in the following four main areas:

  1. Environmental Management
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Public-Private Partnerships For Social Service
  4. Global trade and Development

For each program area, we describe below the major public policy issues that the Center will address and the specific projects the Center is sponsoring at this time.

Environmental Management
While managing the growth of their communities, local agencies strive to protect such precious environmental resources as air, rivers and streams, habitats of flora and fauna, scenic vistas, and sources of ground water.

The Center will analyze trends in the public policies and practices designed to protect the environment without imposing unreasonable restrictions on commercial and industrial activities. The program will also document the experiences of different communities in developing and enforcing environmental policies.

One specific project under this program area focuses on the development of a computerized database of the trends in the environmental conditions at selected locations around the world. Important data attributes will includes: number of days in each month exceeding air quality standards, acres of open land space, number of scenic vistas, water quality measures for surface and around water, and the number and size of hazardous waste sites requiring cleanup. The database is designed for Internet access so that researchers, agency staff, and public all over the world could easily access and analyze the data. The data Could be used to: analyze spatial and temporal trends in pollution levels, evaluate the impact of policies on these trends, and correlate the trends with health statistics (e. g., person-days of illness and number of fatalities related to environmental pollution in the local communities).

Development of the database is a staged program. In the first stage, we will select a small number of representative locations and data attributes, and design and test an Internet database storage and analysis system. In subsequent stages, we will add locations and data attributes, and expand capabilities for data processing and analysis.

A major responsibility of local agencies is the proper maintenance of local infrastructure facilities, which include local roads and streets, water and sewer systems, garbage collection system, and electricity and gas supply systems. Important public policy issues in this regard are: defining appropriate performance standards for different facilities, establishing- maintenance and system improvement priorities, identifying sources of funding (including private funding), and privatization of some of the operation and maintenance programs. The Center will sponsor projects to analyze these issues, document the experiences of different agencies, and research innovative ideas that could be used to improve the operational efficiency of various infrastructure facilities.

One specific project in this program area will focus on defining consistent, uniform, and objective performance measures for different infrastructure facilities. The lack of such measures is a major obstacle in comparing the cost-effectiveness of the policies used by different local agencies. Subsequent stages of this project will research methods for prioritizing facility improvement and maintenance strategies and develop guidelines for use by local agencies in developing cost-effective work programs for infrastructure facilities. The project will also evaluate options and experiences regarding joint public and private funding and privatization of the responsibilities to operate and maintain public facilities.

With population growth, often accompanied by commercial and industrial growth, local agencies face the difficult question of how to manage growth while preserving the character and culture of the community. Controversial land use planning questions often arise which sometimes divide the community. The Center will sponsor projects to analyze these questions and identify public policies that have worked well, as well as those that have not and hence should be avoided.

Public Private Partnerships
With limited public resources to the substantial need for social services considerable attention in focused on how to forge partnerships between the public agencies whose primary mission is to develop and implement policies to service the social needs and the various nonprofit organizations work on meeting these needs with cash and in-kind resources and personnel. Several factors influence the effectiveness of this partnership e.g., the relationship, roles and responsibilities of the parties; participation in policy planning and service delivery; and the mechanisms for ensuring sustained support and eventual self-sufficiency. The Center will analyze public-private partnerships at various levels i.e. local, state, national and international and develop models which appear to produce the best results in each case.

Globalization of Trade and Development
The past decade has witnessed a tremendous increase in the global linkages for capital, investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, and development of trade. A great deal of this growth has occurred without a coherent policy framework at the global level and has often resulted in conflicts with local policies and adverse economic and social effects at the local levels. The objective will be to examine how local p9olicies can mitigate such adverse effects while enhancing the benefits of the availability of capital, resource and trade opportunities from the globalization.

Citizen Participation
Public policies are more likely to succeed if the process of developing the policies and monitoring their enforcement involves different stakeholders from the community. This is an area were many communities all around the world are likely to have extensive experience, both good and bad. It will be extremely informative to compile and analyze these experiences, and draw useful conclusions as to what policies work (and do not work) and under what circumstances. The Center will sponsor projects to document the experiences of many-diverse communities and develop guidelines for designing a process for effective and meaningful citizen participation.

In addition to topical reports on specific projects, the Center publishes a periodic Policy Review Journal that will highlight public policy issues and solutions in one or more of the major program areas. The journal will be available on the Internet and in hard copy.

For each program area, the journal will present case studies that address the following aspects of public policy:

* Which policies have worked well and why?
* Which policies have not worked and why not?
* What are the costs and benefits of implementing various policies?
* What are the major technological, anthropological, and institutional barriers in policy implementation and how could one remove these barriers?
* What are the lessons learned by policy makers and citizens in developing, promoting, and enforcing effective policies?
* What resources are available to policy makers to obtain information about relevant public policy issues and to identify potential sources of funding?

The magazine will also publish interviews of public officials, scholars, and citizens, and present innovative ideas from researchers.

Editorial committee:

Dr. Ashok S. Patwardhan; Dr. Barney Popkin; Dr. Ram B. Kulkarni; Awinash Ambike; Jefferson M. Hillard.

Editor's Note