Mourad Wahba, UNDP Associate Administrator Remarks at the Launch of the Global Knowledge Index 2020

December 9, 2020

Your Excellency Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt

Your Excellency Jamal Bin Huwaireb, CEO of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to convey to you all the warm greetings of our Administrator, Achim Steiner, who could not be with us today due to competing priority engagements.

Achim is always keen to take part in activities under the umbrella of the fruitful partnership between the United Nations Development Programme and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation.

In 2019, UNDP and your esteemed Foundation marked a decade of partnership and signed a new 10-year agreement to continue to harness the power of knowledge for development.

Today, we commence a new ‘decade of action’ for this partnership and I am happy to reaffirm our commitment to it, as we gather with this distinguished group form across the globe to launch the 2020 edition of the Global Knowledge Index.

It took a lot of determination to be able to release this 2020 edition of the Global Knowledge Index in these exceptionally difficult times, as the world grapples with the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19.

I wish to commend the efforts of all UNDP and MBRF colleagues, who continued to work tirelessly to release the results of the Global Knowledge Index 2020 despite the great disruption caused by the pandemic.

But we believe that it is precisely in such times that policymakers worldwide need a strong knowledge base to guide their efforts to address emerging development risks and opportunities in such an evolving global context.

Through the Index, UNDP and MBRF aim to remind key stakeholders in the political, academic, research, industrial, and economic circles, in all countries, of the many domains of knowledge that are critical to formulate future-focused strategies to build-forward-better and recover their economies.

Data, scientific evidence, innovation and the tools of digital disruption will all be vital to help us all to get back on track.

This pandemic struck at a time when work on our shared blueprint to the future —the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development— was gaining good momentum.

COVID-19 has reminded us of the necessity to work together to address our common challenges and underlined how the Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals are more relevant today than ever before.

Many countries were already making good progress in their pursuit of the SDGs. We must restore that momentum, as we continue to count our COVID-19 losses.

It is gratifying that UNDP and MBRF have maintained the energy of this important partnership to help us build forward better despite the challenges and turbulence that the world has experienced in 2020.

This year, the world marked 75 years of collective and multilateral action by countries of the world under through the United Nations.

At this time of great disruption for humanity, with a global health crisis that is exacerbating prevalent social and economic problems and inequalities, against the backdrop of an accelerating climate emergency, we need this unity more than ever.

And knowledge remains an indispensable cornerstone in our pursuit of our shared future.

Until we meet again, in person, I hope soon, I thank you