United Nations, New York
September 17, 2018
The international free flow of information, globalization and the speed at which data are being disseminated have made investing in innovation and new technology imperative for any country. While the speed at which the world is changing gives an increasingly important role in the attainment of knowledge and its impact on a global scale and within societies.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) organized a high-level event at the United Nations Secretariat building, ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, with the participation of UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. The event presented the extensive and successful work of UNDP RBAS on knowledge and data and focused on the importance of knowledge in the development of nations, as well as its capabilities and opportunities across sectors from education to economy, from technology to productive capacities.
The event observed the 10th-anniversary celebration of the UNDP and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) partnership. The UNDP through its partnership with MBRF, recognizes the importance of promoting thought leadership and evidence-based policymaking for sustainable global development. The partnership, and for the past decade, has been devoted to promoting the measurement and advancement of knowledge across the Arab States and around the world.
During the event, the Global Knowledge Index 2017 (GKI) was presented along with its findings and discussed how it can be used to advise on the design of sustainable development policies and plans. The GKI is the only index that measures knowledge on the global level in a systematic approach that builds on solid conceptual and methodological principles.
For nations to maximize its impact on the ground, any development plan, strategy and framework must be grounded in knowledge and evidence. This was highlighted throughout the event, as UNDP considers knowledge as a strong ally in achieving the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Investing in the lessons of the past is crucial for achieving the 2030 Agenda,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “Development is driven by the evidence-based decisions we make combined with the opportunities for the future.  I am pleased that UNDP’s decade-long partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation has produced the innovative Global Knowledge Index to help us to navigate a world where data are bigger and faster than ever before and seize these opportunities for progress.”
“Data help us understand where we are in terms of development – and, most importantly, where we want to go,” said Mourad Wahba, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States. “UNDP and partners are committed to helping countries across the region embrace the knowledge challenge as a means of achieving the SDGs and sustainable development.”
The UNDP has taken concrete steps to provide people with timely and trustworthy information that can inform more effective decisions through its Knowledge Project and the Global Knowledge Index with an attention to innovation and new technology. Such accomplishment saw the light as a result of a longstanding and pioneering partnership between UNDP and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF).
“Our partnership with the UNDP started in 2008, paving the way for pioneering projects and initiatives that catalyse our societies’ effort towards producing, disseminating and localising knowledge in the Arab region and the world,” as stated by Jamal bin Huwaireb, Chief Executive Officer, MBRF, highlighting that the partnership has always sought to find ways to empower youth to play a bigger and effective role in their communities.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of collaboration, built on a shared vision, with knowledge at its cornerstone. In 2008, the partnership worked on promoting knowledge in the Arab region. In 2015, the partnership reaches a milestone with higher dimensions and bigger outcomes. Today, the Global Knowledge Index tracks the status of knowledge in 131 countries around the globe, and its results are accessible using the Knowledge4All portal at www.knowledge4all.org. The event was a celebration of this success with an eye to the future, to the targets set for the year 2030, and the relentless journey to leave no one behind.