Gibril Faal

Director of GK Partners & Interim Director of ADEPT

On 19 September 2015 at the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants, I had the privilege to address member states on the subject of ‘International cooperation: the way a head.’ I stated that ‘One year into Agenda 2030, we are in the era of implementation and action. As we make a shift of emphasis towards implementation and operations, we shall embrace and normalise the techniques and processes of effectiveness and efficiency, and liberate states and non-state actors to innovate and activate options and opportunities.’ Effective and appropriate development cannot happen without relevant knowledge. Knowledge itself is innately and intricately linked with migration and development. In the discourse of Knowledge for Development (K4D), there need to be emphasis on skills and knowledge-based skills. There is often frustration about those who know things, but cannot do things. Development is about knowing and doing, thus K4D should put more focus on skills and actions, as practical improvements emanate from these ‘frontline’ factors. From the earliest dawn of human civilisation to current cybernetic knowledge revolutions, we witness migrants spreading the values, virtues and veins of new knowledge. From single or small number of clusters in different corners of the world, new knowledge and skills are shared and spread across the world by the experts and practitioners, through long term, temporary or virtual migration. People migrate to be part of knowledge communities. This is why students constitute a significant percentage of the global migrant stock.

The innate nexus between knowledge and migration is the reason why migrants are over-presented in the pantheon of Nobel laureates. Indeed, I have previously people proposed that ‘people migrate to earn, learn and yearn.’ Given the advanced state of communication in the 21st Century, knowledge and skill mobility through migrants and diaspora has become a very important feature in the development and operations of private, public, international and civil society organisations and institutions across the world. It is indeed timely and important that there is a structured approach to Knowledge Development Goals. This will strengthen the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and optimise the practical linkages with related fields such as labour and skill mobility. It is within this context that in July 2016, I developed and launched an accredited course in the UK on ‘Optimising actual, virtual and circular diaspora return.’ I am keen to endorse the work of Andreas Brandner and his team, and look forward to future collaborations.