The Arab Knowledge Project participated in the Knowledge for Development Global Partnerships Conference in Geneva on 3-4 April 2017. The conference that has been organized by the UN Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) and Knowledge Management Austria witnessed the participation of more than 250 participants from different countries, led by a select of experts and professionals in the areas of knowledge and development. The conference took place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Keynote speakers at the opening ceremony included Michael Moller, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Greg Vines, Deputy Director-General for Management and Reform at the ILO, Zef Mazi, special assistant to the Director-General for Strategy, IATA, Ambassador Obaid Salem Nasser Al Zaabi, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations Geneva, Ambassador Thomas Hajnoczi, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Geneva, and Sarah Cummings, on behalf of KMA and KM4Dev Community.

The first day included one key session that introduced flagship documents, then the inauguration of the K4D Partnership ceremony, the launch of the K4D Agenda (Agenda Knowledge for Development). This Agenda, initiated by KMA and supported by a global community of thought leaders, offers a new, holistic view of the challenges and opportunities related to knowledge and provides orientation to all stakeholders in the field of development, and then two sessions respectively on good practices in knowledge management within the UN system and on measuring the impact of knowledge management.

Following that was the knowledge management award 2017 ceremony, where the award went jointly to the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations System and Prof. Leif Edvinsson.

Sessions on the second day were more on K4D practices in multi-sectoral environments, and this is where the Arab Knowledge Project contributed in a presentation about the key challenges and best practices in promoting knowledge for development within the global SDG context.

Dr. Hany Torky, CTA of the Arab Knowledge Project, and Mariam Itani, researcher at the Arab Knowledge Project, participated in the panel. Torky and Itani presented a brief overview on the work of the Arab Knowledge Project and from there moved to discuss key challenges faced in the area of knowledge and development in the Arab region, and present some of the best practices in facing these challenges.

The challenges mentioned included the availability of data and legal framework to support knowledge sharing and reporting, limited interest in sponsoring knowledge activities, weak engagement on behalf of policy makers and stakeholders, and a lack of appreciation for knowledge and the value of evidence in decision making, security and conflicts, and accessibility.

Torky and Itani stressed the importance of knowledge in achieving sustainable development at the Arab and global levels. They also emphasized on the importance of investing in technology and taking the extra mile toward engaging the relevant stakeholders especially policy makers, academia, entrepreneurs and the general public.

The global Knowledge for Development conference is an annual event that aims to review and enhance knowledge management practices in the field of sustainable development, and present a new agenda to strengthen knowledge societies and economies for development.

Conference Presentations can be found at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dX0ysYGhaKCYLuMXqTto2jg1hJgoN9CZnmti5mjUhOY/edit