Knowledge Broker at The Broker and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform
The Agenda Knowledge for Development rightly urges country knowledge investment. To make knowledge work practically to reach the SDGs, knowledge brokering plays an essential role. Knowledge demand and supply of various stakeholders should be better adapted by coherent knowledge development and use. Different worlds of knowledge from various disciplines, geographic levels and actor perspectives have to be connected. Practitioners and policy makers should be involved throughout knowledge and research trajectories. Independent brokering institutes can facilitate this and the needed balance for all interests, needs and commitments in continuous dynamic interactive non-linear processes. For this to occur, knowledge brokers need skills such as mediation, networking, the ability to switch between general and specific knowledge, political nous, and clear messaging. The process of knowledge brokering starts by jointly identifying knowledge gaps and then formulating knowledge questions. This method reasons from practical development issues and confirms how knowledge can solve them. All related actors are included from the beginning of the process with accessible and open dialogues. They build further upon what is already known aligning with others in their region and sector, but also across countries and themes. Depending on the needs, developing new research should be balanced with providing overviews and synthesising existing knowledge, innovations and lessons learned. Multi-stakeholder Communities of Practice continuously work on co-creation and research uptake, and adapt and embed research results into practices to improve them, and scale successes up and out. In addition, aimed outcomes and impact for sustainable development are measured. Actors working on SDGs jointly have to reserve sizable means for the intensive, long yet essential trajectories of knowledge brokering and its evaluation. For those processes, knowledge agendas for sustainable development and knowledge eco-systems that are flexible to adapt to changing practices should be (further) developed.
Countries should specialise based on their expertise and jointly align their activities, and define the most relevant and urgent actions to follow. Knowledge broker facilitation can be taken up within independent platforms, such as the Dutch ones for the priority themes of its sustainable development agenda, and stimulated at universities, policy and private organisations working on the SDGs.