UNOSD Releases Documentation on Knowledge Needs for Sustainable Development

January 2013: The UN Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD) has released three documents to inform an upcoming expert workshop. The workshop, titled “Expert Consultation on Knowledge and Capacity Needs for Sustainable Development in Post-Rio+20 Era,” will discuss an initial mapping of sustainability knowledge actors, assets and activities, with the aim of better defining knowledge needs and priorities for policy makers.

The workshop will take place from 6-8 March 2013, in Incheon, Republic of Korea, and will focus on three thematic areas: energy access for poverty eradication; sustainable agriculture for food security; and water management for climate change adaptation.

One of the publications, a review titled “Knowledge, Capacity Building and Networks for Sustainable Development,” discusses the state of the field on these three topics. It highlights the changing nature of knowledge as a result of technological advances and accelerated knowledge production, which has resulted in increased emphasis on horizontal networks and multi-disciplinary sustainable development practices. It recommends that UNOSD, inter alia: develop new knowledge management tools and methods; build the capacity of groups to participate in networked governance and to manage "boundary work" on the interfaces among science, policy and stakeholders; and help officials adapt to shifts from stock to flow-based knowledge management. The review also includes input and recommendations from expert consultations, which highlight: a gap in capacity for strategic foresight among many countries; the under-prioritization of capacity building; and the importance of supporting decision-making and planning processes.

The second publication, "Report on a Mapping Visualization Study," presents the objectives, methodology and findings of a UNOSD study on data collection and visualization related to sustainable development and sustainability transitions in the agriculture, energy and water sectors. The report aims to map out inter-organizational relationships, and provide visual information on sustainable development knowledge flows.

The workshop documentation also includes the Co-Chairs' Report on the UN Secretary-General's High-level Group on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), published in September 2012. The report highlights SE4ALL's achievements, including: setting a Framework for Action and defining a Global Action Agenda; securing endorsement of the SE4ALL vision from around the world, including in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) Outcome Document; and inspiring over 100 commitments to action, including financial support and technical assistance.

UNOSD aims to support UN Member States in the implementation of sustainable development by facilitating knowledge exchange, performing research and policy analysis, providing capacity building opportunities and helping to form networks and partnerships. [Workshop Website] [Publication: Knowledge, Capacity Building and Networks for Sustainable Development: A Review[Publication: Report on Mapping Visualization Study] [Publication: Report of the Co-Chairs]