UNU-INWEH is the executing agency behind a three-phase knowledge management programme entitled KM:Land (meaning “Knowledge from the Land”). This programme is implemented by the UNDP, and is directly funded from the GEF trust fund. The GEF Medium-Size Project (MSP) “Ensuring Impacts from SLM – Development of a Global Indicator System” is the first phase of KM:Land and will focus on setting up an indicator system for the evaluation of the overall impact of the Land Degradation Focal Area (LD FA). This MSP also aims to establish an initial Learning Network for exchange of information within the GEF LD FA and design the basis for a comprehensive framework of knowledge management (KM) and capacity building for Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in the GEF LD FA.
The rationale behind the KM:Land Learning Network comes out of the report of the Third Overall Performance Study of the GEF (OPS3) (2005). It acknowledged that KM, and specifically, the learning, dissemination and adoption of lessons learned through project implementation, is one of the key weaknesses of the GEF system. This lack of management of knowledge is not unique to the GEF system, and this bottleneck has been identified as one of the major barriers to the successful implementation and effective up-scaling of SLM at various levels. To address this weakness, OPS3 suggested that a formal GEF wide KM function be established. This need for an efficient KM mechanism has been previously recognized by the GEF Secretariat, and thus, several FAs have initiated, or are in the process of initiating, processes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of KM.
The overall objective of the KM:Land project is to “strengthen the capacity for adaptive management of SLM projects in order to enhance their effectiveness and impact on ecosystem integrity, stability, functions and services in the context of national development priorities”. The second generalized objective of the initiative directly relates to the establishment of the Learning Network and is formulated as follows: “Exchange and disseminate knowledge and practices generated through sustainable land management projects and programs through a Learning Network”. This Learning Network will target several user groups, including: GEF staff, agency staff responsible for LD projects, GEF project teams, members of the GEF LD Task Force, etc.