Knapen launches five knowledge platforms for development cooperation
Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen wants to see knowledge playing a more central role in development cooperation. So today he launched five knowledge platforms: one for each of the policy priorities water, food security, sexual health and rights and security and the rule of law, and one for innovative approaches to cross-cutting issues.
‘From expertise on nanotechnology for entrepreneurs in India to the best irrigation methods for farmers in Uganda: to ensure that it is not our wishes but knowledge that determines policy, we need researchers who will take a critical look at our work. And we will need to take their conclusions to heart,’ said Mr Knapen.
‘And I’m not only talking about academic knowledge, but also about the knowhow of NGOs working in the field, and the innovative ideas of the private sector. There is a lot of knowledge out there. What we need to do is find the right way of sharing and adding to it.’
The platforms bring together national and international academics, policymakers, civil society organisations and companies. The aim is to assess the knowledge that is available, draw up a research agenda and put what we already know more effectively into practice.
In November, Mr Knapen wrote a letter to the House of Representatives announcing his plans to set up the platforms as part of his effort to reform knowledge policy. The government wants to deploy research funds for development cooperation more strategically, making it less fragmented and more closely focused on its priorities. The aim is to enhance the relevance and use of existing capacity, strengthen the capacity of research institutions in developing countries, improve access to existing knowledge in developing countries and step up cooperation between knowledge institutions in the north and the south.