Developing Institutions that are Champions in Knowledge Exchange

July 10, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2012 - At least 290 policy makers and delegates from 46 countries convened today in Bali for the High-Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation, with the theme 'Towards Country-Led Knowledge Hubs'. 

"The objective of the meeting is to push for Knowledge Exchange in the context of South-South cooperation.  The conference discusses the opportunities, challenges, and experiences in developing and building institutions that can act as 'Knowledge Hubs' -- centers that can compile experiences and build a more systematic network of Knowledge Exchange experts," said Minister Armida Alisjahbana of the National Development Planning Agency.

Minister Alisjahbana further explained that Knowledge Exchange is a key instrument in achieving development objectives, and in strengthening national capacity.  Developing nations offer many best practices that may be adapted to suit development challenges; the challenge is how to learn and share information about these best practices.  In this context, governments and practitioners from developing nations need to learn from other nations.

At the two-day meeting organized by the Government of Indonesia, the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the UN Development Program (UNDP), participants will present several institutional arrangements for knowledge sharing.  They range from Singapore's Cooperation Enterprise and Brazil's agricultural research and technology transfer hub (Embrapa) to the international development cooperation agencies established by Colombia and Mexico.

In Bali, participants are also expected to introduce country-led knowledge hubs and strengthen links between practitioners in developing countries. Among the issues being discussed in the meeting – particularly on the 2nd day – are the institutional strengthening; the art of knowledge exchange, coordination; bilateral and triangular cooperation; sustainable engagement and funding; as well as monitoring and evaluation.

"Up until recently, development cooperation was about transferring money, technology and solutions from developed countries to developing countries. Today, development solutions come from anywhere -- North, South, East and West -- and increasingly from other developing countries. They come from countries and regions that have confronted the same issues and solved them. Many of them have achieved economic growth and social progress. There is a desire to share their development experience and now some of these countries are organizing themselves as knowledge hubs," said Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank Managing Director.

The high-level meeting acknowledges the crucial role of knowledge exchange in the development agenda.  Countries want to learn from the practical experiences of their peers and practitioners increasingly want to be connected to each other, across countries, across regions.

“While development cooperation in the second half of the 20th century was built on a north-south transfer of technology, knowledge and resources, a hallmark of the 21st century is a more open knowledge exchange - from all parts of the world,” said Ajay Chhibber, Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “We must build knowledge platforms that harness these ideas and solutions that are more relevant, more affordable from those that have developed recently, process them to see what can be transportable to others, and make them available in a global solution exchange."

Indonesia already has a national policy for South-South Cooperation, which has been implemented with strengthened intra-sector and intra-institutional cooperation, as well as improved monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

The Vice President of Indonesia, Boediono, announced during the meeting Indonesia's readiness to become a Knowledge Hub for South-South and Triangular Cooperation in three areas: development issues related to energy and food security, and community-driven disaster mitigation; governance and peace building; and macro-economic management.  This initiative can encourage other nations to work with Indonesia and other emerging countries in order to expand innovation.

“What is encouraging is that Indonesia and many others are active in development co-operation and are willing to become knowledge hubs.  I look forward to increased engagements of developing countries in sharing our own development experiences and in helping their peers advance development processes, which leads to generating a great impact on development effectiveness,” said Hiroto Arakawa, Vice President of JICA.

Indonesia hopes that other countries can host similar meetings in the future to ensure that the Knowledge Hubs can offer sustainable solutions to solve global problems. The Government of Indonesia, the World Bank, JICA and UNDP, are committed to support the learning process and propose to establish a community of practice.

The conference is expected to issue the Bali Communiqué, which will affirm the importance and role of knowledge sharing in South-South Cooperation. It is hoped that the Communiqué can encourage all parties, including governments of developing countries, multilateral and regional development partners,  civil society organizations and academia, as well as the private sector, to strengthen their commitment in developing Knowledge Hubs.

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