How to Broker Knowledge in a Way That Scientific Findings Are Considered in Policy-Making for Sustainable Land Management

In 2016, PlanAdapt supported the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in its efforts to reach out to relevant scientific knowledge providers and brokers. PlanAdapt helped to develop a strategy for the UNCCD secretariat on how to work with knowledge partners and how to manage those partnerships to further the development of the scientific knowledge brokering portal. The respective partnerships were part of an overall process to make the Scientific Knowledge Brokering Portal (SKBP) a fundamental pillar of the overall UNCCD knowledge management strategy.

The strategy adopted a definition of knowledge partnerships developed by the Asian Development Bank: ‘A knowledge partnership has a particular emphasis on the role of knowledge in accomplishing the common aims of the group, including the sharing of knowledge among members, the generation of new ideas and understanding, and the communication and application of that knowledge beyond the partnership itself’. The SKBP aims to fill the gaps between isolated initiatives in relation to knowledge management. It is designed to act as a knowledge broker. The role of a knowledge broker, in the context of the SKBP, essentially constitutes facilitation of the transfer and exchange of knowledge from where it is abundant to where it is needed.

The SKBP is designed to take the form of a search engine that would mine information from a pool of relevant partner databases and retrieve knowledge products targeting policy makers and practitioners.  It capitalizes on the fact that search engines offer end users a high level of control over their research, allowing them to engage in a more iterative process where they can tailor their searches as they learn more about what is available.  The availability of different types of data related to climate change is being enhanced through tools such as semantic tagging, linked open data and refined business rules, leading users to a broader but more specific array of information and knowledge.

PlanAdapt supported the SKBP development team in filtering and prioritising the vast array of international and national knowledge providers.  PlanAdapt developed a SKBP partnership score for that purpose and calculated the score for more than 150 organisations that generate, map, broker and disseminate policy-relevant scientific information on land degradation, desertification and sustainable land management.