As part of the Knowledge Summit in Dubai, UAE, the Knowledge Project launched its first edition of the Global Knowledge Index (GKI 2017). The GKI 2017 is a unique initiative that focuses on knowledge as a comprehensive interdisciplinary concept related to all aspects of human life, including cultural, social and economic activities. It is also based on the belief that knowledge is a vital driver for achieving sustainable and comprehensive human development.

According to the Index, Switzerland is the best-performing country in the world with a total score of 71.8 out of 100, followed by Singapore (69.5), Finland (68.5), Sweden (68.3), the Netherlands (68) and the United States of America (67.2), Luxembourg (66.2), United Kingdom (65.6), Denmark (65.2) and Norway (64.3). Other countries of notable performance include the Philippines ranking 4th and Azerbaijan 11th at the global level in the Technical Vocational Education and Training Index; and the UAE ranking 2nd at the global level in the Economy Index.

Mr. Michael O’Neill, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, noted during presentation of the GKI that “access to and availability of such data is important to design evidence-based policies that will be effective to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The GKI is a composite index structured around seven sectoral indices, namely Pre-University Education; Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET); Higher Education; Research, Development and Innovation (RDI); Information and Communication Technology (ICT); Economy; and General Enabling Environment. It brings together 133 variables from the most reliable and updated international data sources. It builds on the work of the Knowledge Project over the past ten years which led to remarkable results, including the Arab Knowledge Report, the Arab Knowledge and Reading indices, and the cutting-edge Knowledge4All e-portal and mobile application.

The Global Knowledge Index is published by the Knowledge Project, a partnership between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), supported by a core team of authors, and an advisory board with leading international experts in the areas related to the sectoral indices and knowledge. Advisory board includes: Ahmed ElSherbini from the ITU, Anuja Utz from the World Bank, Hugo Hollanders from the Innovation Systems Indicators and Policy program at Maastricht University, Jan Sturesson the founder of RESTING-Advice from the Future, Laurent Probst the leader of Research & Development activities Unit at PwC, Leif Edvinsson, Professor of Intellectual Capital at Lund University in Sweden, Milorad Kovacevic, Chief Statistician at HDRO-UNDP; Luis Serven from the World Bank; Jean-Louis Laville from CNAM; Ali Hadi from the American University in Cairo, Shyamal Majumdar from UNESCO-UNEVOC, and Sid-Ahmed Soussi from the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Dr. Hany Torky, Chief Technical Advisor of the Knowledge Project, described this index as “a major step in supporting sustainable development efforts with new innovative and helpful datasets and indicators, especially that it includes in its first edition 131 countries selected based on data availability.” On the future plans, Torky said that “the Project aspires to become a key reference in supporting policymakers and stakeholders in the area of knowledge-based development, and to include more countries in future editions”. Torky highlighted that “One of the main findings of the GKI is that it statistically confirms the correlation between knowledge and development, which are interrelated and mutually influenced.”

His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, MBRF Chief Executive Officer, stressed that “based on the results of the index, governments should invest in and promote knowledge which is key to their progress and development”.