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Region
Africa
Latin America and Caribbean
South and East Asia
North America
Europe
Issue
Climate Change and Renewable Energy

MI seeks to build a critical mass of people and organizations with systems thinking skills, by promoting systems literacy and dynamic modeling tools in the public policy realm, civil society, private sector, and academic institutions in the developing and industrialized world.

Customizing and institutionalizing T21 requires completing a series of tasks concurrently.   These include identifying the core issues, training key staff, institutionalizing the model, pilot testing and ongoing applications. This process usually takes between 1 – 3 years (see general timeline), and it is a tool that can be updated as the need arises. 

MI's approach is not to come in and give answers or provide a ready-made tool, as this contradicts our goal to empower people and governments to build societies that are peaceful, equitable and sustainable.  Instead, our approach involves extensive consultation to make sure the model fits a country's needs and priorities, and leverages local knowledge and expertise.

Clients interested in using T21 as their comprehensive planning tool should discuss and confirm the following in order to begin a project:

Clarify goals

Political commitment

Multi-stakeholder participation

Funding

Data

Training

 

Clarify goals

T21 is most effective when it is linked to defined goals and applications.  Before initiating a T21 project, clients should think through what tangible outcomes they want from T21.  Outcomes can range from analysis of the best paths for meeting the MDGs and tracking progress toward them, and providing analytical underpinnings for PRSPs or comprehensive national development plans, to special sector studies that are linked to outcomes in the larger system.  In the past, clients used T21 to support preparation of the African Environmental Outlook 2 report and to increase the scientific basis underlying PRSPs and other strategies.

Political commitment

The institutionalization of T21 is a significant effort aimed at long-term capacity building and should not be considered a one-time exercise.  Because of the time and resources required, it is crucial that support and commitment is available from relevant government and civil society stakeholders.

Multi-stakeholder participation

T21 was envisioned as a central tool to be used jointly by government agencies, civil society, universities and research institutes, the private sector, and development partners. Therefore, we highly recommend multi-stakeholder involvement.  We have found that in addition to creating broad ownership of the plans that result, such involvement provides continuity and helps to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders.

Funding

Developing countries interested in T21 may need to seek support from external donors to pay the cost of implementing T21.  Donors who have supported T21 projects in the past include UNDP, UNEP, CIDA and The Carter Center.  MI is often able to help in the process of securing funds.  Additional funding sources can be found here.

Data

Whenever possible, it is preferable to use country-generated data for the customization of T21.  Therefore countries need to be prepared to provide data.  Where it is not available, there are several primary international data sources used for T21. These are: World Development Indicators, FAOSTAT, World Population Prospects, Energy Statistics, and International Financial Statistics.

Training

One of MI’s goals is to build sustainable local capacity to maintain, update, and modify T21.  This implies that clients must commit at least two persons to receive in-depth training in System Dynamics and T21 modeling.  These persons will lead continual application of T21 after MI hands over the finished model, and will serve as points of contact for further expansion of the model, as needed.  Additional persons should be trained each year so that knowledge about T21 can be maintained and passed on as staff compositions change.

 

T21 Development and Institutionalization Timeline

Below is a general timeline for developing and institutionalizing T21.  The timeline will be tailored in each project to meet the needs, schedule, and priorities of our clients.

Phase One: Year 1
Month Activity
1 Develop project Terms of Reference and Contract
1 First mission for consultation to define issues and gather data
2 - 4 Customize T21 v. 3.1 using national data (or international data if preferred)
5 Initial technical training and identification of needed modifications to the model
6 - 7 Refine T21 to version 3.2
8 Second mission for consultations, further capacity building, and application of T21 v. 3.2 to a specific planning task
9 - 10 Refine T21 to version 3.3
11 Advanced training, application, and consultations
12 Full transfer of final model
Phase Two: Year 2 - 4
Continued support via Internet and phone
Participation in the T21 Users Forum

 

Benefits of T21

A few benefits of a national T21 project include:

  • capacity to use and update a dynamic, integrated tool that can be used jointly by stakeholders to find the best paths to sustainable development
  • a means of gaining fresh insight into long-term development opportunities through simulation of different policy scenarios
  • a framework for integrating past work that can be used in parallel with other planning models
  • a tool for “distributed national modeling” that separates the sectors and allows individual ministries and agencies to use and update them
  • a framework for dialogue, consensus building, and harmonization with a wide range of stakeholders
  • a tool that simplifies analysis, budgeting, and reporting for frameworks such as MDGs and PSRPs