** This article was originally published on Medium.
Africa’s first sustainable development knowledge hub was recently launched to address the need for access to relevant knowledge resources, the lack of which is hampering sustainable development across the globe, but especially in Africa.
The South African Sustainable Development Knowledge Hub (SA SD KH) is the first resource that links peer-reviewed research with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. Its aim is simple: to link policy makers and implementers with the most up-to-date and relevant knowledge resources on sustainable development in South Africa.
The SA SD KH is doing this by collecting, tagging and disseminating all publicly available research on the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and South Africa’s National Development Plan. The SA SD KH communicates through both a static web page and dynamic social media channels. Its Facebook and Twitter pages contain news items and featured knowledge resources.
At its launch in March 2017, Jeff Radebe, South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency and custodian of the country’s National Development Plan, emphasised the SA SD KH’s role in providing the evidence base from which to ‘assess progress and identify knowledge gaps’. The potential role of SA SD KH was recently affirmed when the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) accepted the SA SD KH, via the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership, as its newest member.
The SA SD KH currently contains the full texts of 621 peer-reviewed knowledge resources, tagged in terms of the SDGs and aspiration of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The hub contains a large number of articles on SDG 3 (good health and well-being), especially on ways to reduce the burden of communicable diseases and to reduce maternal and infant mortality. It also contains a significant number of articles on SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) and sustainable energy systems, SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and sustainable transport systems, SDG 15 (life on land) and conservation efforts, and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and the creation of responsive and transparent institutions.
But linking policy makers and policy implementers with relevant knowledge resources, of course, requires more than simply collecting, tagging and disseminating peer-reviewed research. This is why the SA SD KH is engaging key stakeholders, focusing on its advisers, South African government departments and technology and Open Scholarship partners.
The Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (ALCRL) and Future Africa at the University of Pretoria are playing a major role in the further development of the SA SD KH. ALCRL is one of Africa’s premium leadership research centres, and Future Africa will soon be hosting some of Africa’s most innovative frontier research projects.
It is envisioned that the SA SD KH would ultimately include sources of information beyond conventional peer-reviewed research. Discussions on the inclusion of sustainable technology and innovation and data on progress towards sustainable development are currently underway. Any input on the SA SD KH is welcomed, and can be sent to Willem Fourie, the SA SD KH Programme Co-ordinator.