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International development research funders publish guidance to anticipate, mitigate and address harm in research


International development research funders publish guidance to anticipate, mitigate and address harm in research

On behalf of major funders of international development research, UK Collaborative for Development Research (UKCDR) has published best practice guidance to prevent and tackle harm and abuse across the international development research sector in general as well as in emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidance includes a set of principles on safeguarding to enable all involved in the international development research chain to anticipate, mitigate and address potential and actual harms that could arise in the process of international development research, along with a ‘companion piece’ on the practical application of this guidance during COVID-19.

This new guidance has been developed over the past 18 months, in consultation with international development experts across the globe following a commitment made in 2018 by the Department for International Development, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department of Health and Social Care, UK Research and Innovation and Wellcome to work jointly with the sector to enhance approaches to safeguarding, building on good practice where is exists.

The evidence-based guidance is designed to be used flexibly and collaboratively by a wide range of people involved in the international development research process, whether based in low, middle or high income countries. Formed around four key principles; rights of victims and survivors and whistle-blowers; equity and fairness; transparency; and accountability and good governance, the guidance is not prescriptive and is adaptable to different contexts.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, UKCDR and its consultants have also prepared an additional ‘companion piece’ to accompany this guidance to underline the ongoing importance of safeguarding in research in the context of COVID-19, highlighting specific issues to consider during the current crisis and signpost additional useful resources to support the sector to address these complex issues in this challenging time.

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