As prepared for delivery.
Your Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, Chief Executive Officer, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation,
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are witnessing today the increasingly important role of knowledge in the development of our societies. Gaining knowledge, sharing it, and applying it develops capabilities and expands opportunities in every aspect of people’s lives, enriching the nations to which they belong -- from education to the economy, from technology to the world of work. We cannot but consider knowledge as our strong ally to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Investing in knowledge is a priority for any country striving to meet the ambitious vision of the 2030 Agenda. To maximise its impact on the ground, any development plan, strategy or framework must be grounded in knowledge and evidence. UNDP supports national development strategies in many ways, including by helping to gather, analyse and disseminate data that can inform policymaking and promote thought leadership.
Data are the lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability. By investing in data-driven solutions and solid knowledge management platforms, we at UNDP have taken concrete steps to provide people with timely and trustworthy information for more effective decisions. To navigate a world where data are bigger, faster and more detailed than ever before, we decided to place additional attention on innovation and new technology.
We need to seize the opportunity. We need to work with governments to ensure that they have the agility and ability to keep pace with and enable this revolution. We need to engage with the private sector and academia to harness technology and innovation. We need to work with civil society, women, youth and media to ensure their ownership of and contribution to this revolution. We cannot and should not do this alone; we can only do it effectively in the context of bold, innovative partnerships.
An example of such a partnership is the longstanding and pioneering one between UNDP and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation. This year marks the 10th anniversary of our collaboration, which we have built on a shared vision, with knowledge as its cornerstone. In 2008, the Knowledge Project started with a specific focus on the Arab region. Today, a decade later, our Global Knowledge Index tracks the status of knowledge in 131 countries around the globe. As we celebrate our successes to date, we must look to the future, to the targets that we set for 2030 and continue together our relentless journey to leave no one behind. It is an honor to be here today to celebrate our successful partnership.
The second initiative that will be presented today is also the fruit of a partnership – this time between UNDP and the Coordination Group of Arab, National and Regional Development Institutions. The Arab Development Portal, launched two years ago, publishes and analyses timely and high-quality data on multiple development topics in the Arab region. Leveraging cutting-edge tools, such as big data and metadata exchange technology as well as advanced visualization tools, this platform also hosts the first regional tracking tool that allows anyone with access to a computer or a smartphone to monitor countries’ progress on the SDGs. This initiative is not just about improving and collecting statistics; it is about making data accessible and usable by everyone, everywhere.
Investing in knowledge positively affects education and skills development, which are key to ensure that youth and women can drive sustainable change in the years to come. To succeed in this process, we need to engage youth, both young men and young women, from the beginning, listen to them and tap into their energy, creativity and enthusiasm when we devise policies and solutions. I congratulate you on these two initiatives that will be the focus of today’s discussion for incorporating this vision into their work and activities.
I look forward to learning from all of you today how we can best harness the potential of knowledge and data to transform our world by 2030 and shift it onto a more sustainable and resilient path.