Brain trust puts Peru back on its feet

October 25, 2010
IDRC Communications
When top officials in Peru need expert advice, they know who to call. Recommendations made by CIES, the Economic and Social Research Consortium, have led to a healthy energy sector; modern customs, export, and labour laws; stronger consumer protection in banking; and higher unemployment insurance payments during the economic downturn.

CIES has funded research, honed its members’ research skills, and mastered the intricacies of policy influence with the help of long-term financial support, as well as mentoring and advice, from IDRC. CIES can quickly put together a multidisciplinary team of researchers and technical specialists to analyze an issue and come up with advice based on evidence. It can then present its findings at the Presidential Academic Dialogue, a regular meeting between the consortium, the president of Peru, and a select group of senior public sector officials.

It’s a scenario that would have been unimaginable 20 years ago. When CIES was created in 1989, Peru was grappling with economic and political instability resulting from hyperinflation and a violent guerrilla insurgency. “Public policy was based on improvisation and short-term political negotiations,” says Javier Portocarrero Maisch, executive director of CIES.

Today CIES is a formidable brain trust with a well-earned reputation for impartiality and independence. Its 45 members include think tanks, research centres, non-governmental organizations, private and public agencies, and 25 universities. Another of the consortium’s key initiatives has been the Public Sector Consultative Group, consisting of 16 representatives of key government institutions. The group meets with CIES twice a year to identify knowledge needs and establish a research agenda.

These and many other initiatives “have opened up new opportunities for constructive engagement between researchers and policymakers,” says CIES’ program officer Norma Correa Aste.


CIES has expanded throughout the country, so that today the research being done contributes to social and economic development in the regions as well.”
— Mercedes Aráoz, Peru’s Minister of Finance and the Economy
Interview with Mercedes Aráoz
Peru's Minister of Finance and the Economy implements the policy advice she once gave to politicians
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