Andreas Brandner 

General Manager, Knowledge Management Austria, KM4Dev and Knowledge for Development Partnership

Knowledge is at the heart of development. It is an essential resource for all parts of our societies – ranging from individual citizens to companies, organisations and public bodies – and only through partnership and collaboration we can master the challenges of the future. But knowledge without values is dangerous. That is why we selected the symbol of the olive twig for the Agenda Knowledge for Development: the leaves represent the different kinds of knowledge and the diversity of humankind. The twig is representing common, human values – as for instance expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Agenda 2030. By linking values with knowledge we can create a peaceful and better world – together. To put this into practice, knowledge partnerships need to be developed. I advocate for the establishment of a global knowledge partnership, built on strong, self-determined knowledge partnerships within cities being natural knowledge hubs for their wider region and reaching finally every single citizen.

Knowledge partnerships provide a transdisciplinary and inclusive space for dialogue, for the assessment and advancement of local/regional knowledge ecosystems, the improvement of legal frameworks, the initiation of joint programmes, the integration of knowledge silos, inclusion of minorities and migrants, and awareness-raising for the relevance of knowledge in society, and finally for bridging global opportunities to local realities. Stable financial resources, political commitment, and of course knowledge and attention need to be dedicated to these knowledge partnerships that complement essentially the traditional sectors like schools, universities, industry or media. Knowledge foundations or funds can be essential to guarantee sustained knowledge partnerships, to connect knowledge silos and to integrate bodies of knowledge to achieve higher societal impact. I give credit to the millions of social entrepreneurs that play an important role within healthy knowledge ecosystems; to those who left the comfort zones of traditional business, science, and politics, taking the financial and social burden to make a difference for a better future. They are shaping future knowledge societies, and their contributions need to be respected.

Finally I advocate for the advancement of competence in knowledge work, knowledge management and knowledge politics. These are not given naturally, but they can be learnt and improved. Specifically in this regard, every single person, every organisation and company, and every public body can contribute to better and more competent knowledge societies.