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Knowledge Management in the GEF
Knowledge management is the systematic processes, or range of practices, used by organizations to identify, capture, store, create, update, represent, and distribute knowledge for use, awareness and learning across the organization. STAP has long championed the role of knowledge management as an intrinsic part of the GEF’s mandate and responsibility in the delivery of global environmental benefits and environmentally sustainable development.
STAP’s contribution in this area includes independent advice on GEF’s projects and programs as a part of its regular screening process, strategic and operational support for GEF programming including focal area strategies and the recently adopted Integrated Approach Pilots (IAPs) through its regular Work Program, support in reviewing the GEF resource allocation system, advice on results-based management frameworks including indicators and focal area tracking tools, guidance on the use of experimental project design and targeted research. STAP’s publications represent an important source of technical and operational knowledge for the GEF partnership.
The GEF’s potential for utilizing its knowledge through appropriate knowledge management design and systems is immense. Knowledge is a primary asset of the GEF partnership and supports its strategic objectives. It is an essential condition for GEF finance to make a lasting impact. The GEF's added value includes supporting the development of programs and initiatives that underpin the generation and sharing of knowledge, and facilitating the synthesis, exchange and uptake of knowledge within and beyond the GEF Partnership. The GEF's comparative knowledge advantage relies on its potential for distinctive multi-sectoral breadth, the diversity of the Partnership, and a long and rich history of projects to draw from.
The GEF Knowledge Management Approach Paper defines the overall objectives for the GEF in this area and was approved during the 48th GEF Council Meeting. Concomitantly released “Knowledge Management in the GEF: STAP Interim Report” contributed to the Approach paper and provided several recommendations to the GEF Council:
Conditions for knowledge-sharing and learning across the GEF partnership should be strengthened, particularly through the enhanced support for South-South exchanges and ‘communities of practice’. At country level the GEF should consider applications to assist countries to review their knowledge management needs in order to consolidate KM products and learning from past GEF projects as a baseline for future investments.
The GEF partnership should develop guiding learning questions to support knowledge management implementation, including for the IAPs. STAP has developed an initial set of GEF’s corporate learning questions that could be used to start a dialogue with the GEF partnership (presented in Annex 2 of the “Knowledge Management in the GEF: STAP Interim Report”).
Knowledge management should be mainstreamed systemically into the GEF project cycle, through strengthened evidence of knowledge initiatives at PIF stage and systemic development of knowledge management strategies at full design stage. This should include specification of knowledge sources and development of uptake pathways (i.e., Theory of Change).
Knowledge management and knowledge management system functions should be included in project/program monitoring and evaluation activities. The GEF IEO should explore how to harmonize knowledge management evaluation practices across agencies.
The GEF should develop its own Open Data Policy, and STAP welcomes the call to develop such a policy in the GEF Knowledge Management Approach Paper.
Knowledge management progress indicators should be included in the GEF Results-Based Management system and harmonized with the approaches of other agencies.
An enterprise-wide GEF Knowledge Management System should be adopted (perhaps based on the current PMIS but with substantial up-grading into a content management system) with the functionality to extract, edit, file, archive and create various information demands, including for reporting, evaluating, project development and portfolio assessment at a much higher level than is currently possible.
Incentives for successful dissemination of project outputs should be considered for GEF agencies, executing partners, the IEO and STAP to enhance knowledge generation and knowledge sharing.
The use of applied research in specific cases should be revisited and may include identifying a clear role for strategic engagement with the scientific community in the GEF partnership.
STAP’s continues its strategic engagement in the development of the GEF knowledge management strategy working closely with the GEF Secretariat and members of the GEF partnership. Additional information about the GEF’s ongoing knowledge management initiatives is available here.