UNDP’s Knowledge Management Strategy

Teamworks artwork
A visualization of online conversations and exchanges among UNDP staff, UN partners and participants of knowledge mobilization initiatives such as the ‘Rio+20 Dialogues’ and ‘World We Want 2015’, demonstrating how UNDP’s knowledge management integrates previously separate networks in one collaborative environment.

Knowledge Management in the context of UNDP’s Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan 2014-2017 re-aligns UNDP’s attention on a set of priority areas around Sustainable Development Pathways, Inclusive and Effective Democratic Governance and Resilience, to position UNDP more distinctively as a thought leader in the global development debate, and increase its impact on development results. UNDP’s knowledge management (KM) serves these three areas of development work, either directly though externally oriented evidence collection, analysis, knowledge capture, generation and exchange initiatives and engagement in policy debate, or indirectly by improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency and fostering a culture of learning and exchange.

The key objective of KM in UNDP is to drive UNDP’s global leadership in achieving the seven outcomes of the Strategic Plan. To this end, UNDP will focus its KM work on understanding what does and does not work in the above areas, collecting, analysing and using evidence from a global and country perspective, and from external and internal experience.

What is Knowledge Management for UNDP?

UNDP defines KM as the summary of all measures designed to address its knowledge-related challenges. It recognizes that knowledge is both a key output that it delivers to its clients, as well as a key resource that the organization needs in order to deliver its results. KM means using the resource ‘knowledge’ more effectively to improve the way UNDP does business and to achieve greater impact in its development outcomes as formulated in UNDP’s Strategic Plan.

External versus internal knowledge work.

In doing so UNDP’s KM covers both external KM for and with partners and clients to draw on external knowledge, expand our perspective beyond UNDP‘s internal view, build our partners’ capacity and respond to client demand for KM advisory and policy services, as well as internal KM to support the organization’s flow of substantive expertise and operational efficiency:


  • KM for South-South Cooperation and Effective Development Cooperation
  • Building of an external evidence base with partners on policies and solutions and active participation in and shaping of development solutions and discourse
  • KM advisory and support services to and capacity building of partners and clients


  • Improved quality and efficiency of thematic and operational work of staff, consultants, and project teams
  • Getting the greatest possible advantage of existing knowledge resources available through UNDP’s global network
  • Evidence and lessons for learning, reporting, results-based management and communication

Knowledge Management Priorities for 2014-2017

In February 2014, UNDP adopted a Knowledge Management Strategy Framework 2014-2017 that defines UNDP’s principles, objectives and priorities in KM for the next four years. Following the lessons and feedback from internal and external stakeholders as well as consultations in preparation to developing this framework, UNDP decided to prioritize and invest in the following six KM focus areas to strengthen UNDP’s role as knowledge broker, builder of capacities and facilitator of exchanges in KM for development practice. Each of them contains various elements which contribute to the six focus areas:

Organizational Learning and Knowledge Capture

  • Knowledge generation in UNDP's new areas of development work
  • Learning before, during and after
  • Revising the approach to Knowledge Product development
  • Sharing across headquarter bureaus, global policy centres, and regions

Knowledge networking

Openness and public engagement

  • Working out loud
  • Sharing knowledge with the public
  • Engaging in public debate

South-South Cooperation and External Client-Services

  • KM for South-South and Effective Development Cooperation
  • Knowledge Advisory Services

Measurement and incentives

  • Data Analytics within an Evidence-based Approach
  • Measurement
  • Incentives

Talent management

  • Expertise rosters and virtual project teams
  • Developing KM capacity
  • KM for human resources planning

You can download the full Knowledge Management Strategy 2014-2017 here. For any questions regarding knowledge management in UNDP, please send us a message at knowledge@undp.org.

Knowledge Management Strategy

UNDP's knowledge management strategy framework for 2014-2017

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