UNDP and Government host a Knowledge Management Workshop
Knowledge Management (KM) is a new phenomenon that is directly related to the recent emergence of the knowledge economy and technology advancement. It consists of the initiatives and systems that sustain and support the creation, storage, dissemination, assessment, application, refinement and exchange of relevant knowledge. The application of Knowledge Management, generally, can assist to facilitate the capturing and sharing of various experiences by societies. Its acquisition can ensure that knowledge is converted to useful information which informs decision making.
For instance, countries, institutions and people share knowledge and experience on a daily basis. This sharing of experience and knowledge can take place through formal meetings or in informal encounters and should be managed through structured Knowledge Management processes. The understanding of what constitutes Knowledge Management (KM) has different meanings to different people. In diplomacy, for example, the capturing of knowledge can enhance continuous learning of diplomats in order to respond effectively to challenging yet dynamic global events and crises.
It is pleasing to note that in the past 18 years, South Africa has achieved several policy successes in a number of areas around service delivery. In doing so, it has attracted countries that sought to tap into its developed knowledge for capacity development. However, South Africa is an economic behemoth with its own challenges on economic growth, unemployment, poverty and inequality. In order to address these effectively, there is need for South African policymakers to connect with global centres of excellence, with the objective of sharing knowledge and development solutions.
Globally, knowledge exchange has been prioritized as one of the pillars of the G20 Development Working Group, as part of a multi-year action plan. In addition, middle-income countries are increasingly seeing the value of knowledge in service delivery and efficiency. This trend by countries and multilaterals points to the fact that knowledge exchange is not an ad-hoc phenomenon; rather it requires a systematic approach in the form of an established knowledge exchange platform which, in turn, will be complemented by a number of sector-specific knowledge hubs.
It is this view, therefore, that a series of consultations were held by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the National Treasury Department and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to explore the feasibility of developing a national knowledge exchange platform. It was precisely the BRICS formation that inspired National Departments of South Africa to convene in March 2012 to discuss this initiative. The meeting took stock of current national initiatives around knowledge management within the South African Government and some of its agencies. The outcome from the meeting was a foreseen need for further consultations that will assist Departments to establish a knowledge exchange system for South - South cooperation and beyond. The BRICS cooperation is particularly interesting as an innovative block comprising countries from the South that have enjoyed policy successes in a number of areas that can be lessons to other regions.
UNDP, through its vast knowledge networks, is uniquely positioned to take a leading role in this initiative and also has a wealth of knowledge on tackling the developmental issues and challenges; includingassisting development partners in responding to these challenges, contributing to the achievement of the MDGs as well as fostering human development is UNDP’s core mandate.
UNDP has best served national needs when it brought to its partners the added value of its experience and knowledge needed for crafting policies by implementing quality development solutions and ensuring that national capacities are developed.
In 2012, UNDP received a Knowledge Management Award in Vienna, Austria, for its “outstanding efforts and achievements to promote the idea of knowledge societies”. According to Knowledge Management Austria, UNDP’s role in connecting UN Organizations with Knowledge Management initiatives like the one known as “TEAMWORKS” – the highlights of which were presented during the KM Workshop and thus form the body of this report, is considered as being “most valuable, contributing to the objectives of ONE UN, which necessarily have to be based on ONE Knowledge”.