UN Agency Cooperation Notes

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Open Space on UN Agency Cooperation in Knowledge Management


Gauri Salokhe (FAO)
Johannes Schunter (UNDP)
Kim Henderson (UNDP)


FAO: Gauri Salokhe, Nadejda Loumbeva, Sophie Treinen
IFAD: Roxanna Samii, Willem Bettnik, Chase Palermi
UNIFEM: Jennifer Breslin
ILO: Annette Schut-van den Berg
UNU: Viriginie Aimard, Oksana Buranbaeva, Ben Zhu, Chahira Nouira, Isabel Thompson, Maike Schansker
UNDP: Kim Henderson, Johannes Schunter
IDS: Carl Jackson
IRC: Jaap Pels
IDLO: Samir Bejaoui

Key Discussion Points

The session was an opportunity to renew connections and build new ones with other UN colleagues working on KM, and to update one another on the status of KM and KM programmes within each organization. There were some participants from non UN organizations interested in hearing about the status of KM within various UN organizations.

The open space did consist mostly of a round of brief presentation on the current institutional setup, initiatives and priorities with regard to Knowledge Management in each organization. However, participants were interested in taking the discussion to a next level to identify opportunities for collaboration, cross-institutional exchange and joint initiatives.

Overview of KM activties in UN organizations

Organisation Organisational Context Status of KM Staff for KM Focus of KM programme Existing IT tools/systems Contact/links
United Nations University, Bonn 500 staff. Networked structure. Composed of different research and training centres which are autonomous. HQ in Tokyo. Outpost of vice rectors office in Bonn – science/policy issues (German govt) E-learning and CD for external universities, esp in Africa. Being driven by an individual in the organisation with an interest. Starting to link with KM inside the organisation. None E-learning: connecting with other colleagues in other agencies and other centres in UNU to set up a collaborative team within UNU on e-learning.

Interested in implementing training on graphic facilitation. Want to organise a social network analysis of who is working in Africa and how they relate to each other and connect and use this to show that the UNU needs to create more of this KS culture inside the organisation.

None Viriginie Aimard
FAO Over 3000 staff members spread across HQ, regional and country offices. Consultant drafting a FAO Knowledge Strategy. Have established Ask FAO, Thematic Networks and Best Practices initiatives.

Increasing demands for using KS methods in meetings following Share Fair (http://www.sharefair.net). Increasing demand for adopting KS methods and tools as part of the work due to the weekly trainings provided.

K Exchange and Capacity Building unit – 1 person dedicated to KM but part of all TOR. Other than that, consultants support individual activities related to KM/KS. Share Fair took place in early 2009, 700 registered participants from WFP, IFAD and FAO, 120 sessions (2 PowerPoints), discussed KS process.

Weekly training on understanding tools – increase understanding and comfort with tools – write blogs about it, fact sheets to summarise methods, K Cafe – Intranet – focused on KS, volunteer to register (ask and answer service, sharing experiences via blog, event announcement). Work with clients to talk through needs for tools rather than just give the tool they request. Struggles with online tools – IT unit doesn’t want to support non standard software due to valid security and resource constraints. Institutional memory and content, content is going up on Internet, some like to post on the internet and leave it static. More and more people want to facilitate and/or have their meetings facilitated.

Knowledge Café (internal to FAO) Gauri Salokhe
IFAD 700 staff. Challenges include a bureaucratic culture, dormant thematic networks, need to connect more with external partners, and to outside networks. Supported by President. Champion, KM Core team (3 staff) with representation from each department and KM CoP, (15 members).

KM Officers in regions – 3

Have a current KS strategy. Conduct weekly sessions on web 2.0 tools.

Want to make the organisation a learning organisation. Want to embed KS in operations not have it as an add on. Had great impact with the “Sharefair” in 2008. (see entry in FAO above)

None Roxanna Samii
UNIFEM 600 staff, at the very beginning of developing a KS approach. Some existing ad hoc KS initiatives. KM focal points in thematic and geographical units with different TOR and different understandings of what KM means. Currently developing a strategy. 1 KM Manager Currently trying to understand and define organisational cultural barriers. Trying to build on some existing initiatives None Jennifer Breslin
UNDP 7000+ staff

KM programme since 1999, mostly focused on Thematic Knowledge Networks and CoPs, Previous corporate KM Strategy from2004-2006.

Strategy shift since 2009 towards Web 2.0, more technology-driven.

New UNDP Knowledge Strategy 2009-2001 focused on Web 2.0 platform

Corporate KM group at HQ (5 staff), Knowledge Service Teams in 6 Regional Centres each with 1 Team Leader and additional local staff.

1 Knowledge Network Facilitator and 1 Research Assistant for all major CoPs, plus extra facilitators for niche or regional; networks, funded by the respective thematic programme

Launch of new Social Networking Platform “Teamworks”in 2010 (prototype in 2009), intention to open platform up to participation by other UN agencies

Communities of Practice in each Thematic Area (Poverty, Environment, Governance, CPR, HIV, Capacity Development and Gender) plus regional networks, management networks (MPN, Finance, Procurement, IT etc)

Social Networking Platform “Teamworks” to be developed in 2010 based on Drupal

Lyris Mailing List, Atlas.

Intranet -Sharepoint recently agreed on as corporate intranet and business process platform.

Johannes Schunter

Additional Resources (if applicable)