In April 2007, a five year research programme was approved for funding by the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS), part of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The programme, Emergent Issues in Information and Knowledge Management (IKM) and International Development, will be known as the IKM Emergent Research Programme. Running from mid-2007 to mid-2012, the programme has been funded for approximately Euro 500,000 per annum, a total of nearly Euro 2.5 million over the 5 year period. The programme is taking place under the auspices of the European Association of Development Research and Training Institites (EADI)

The programme is based on the premise that the development sector has not fully appreciated the strategic importance of knowledge to its work, and that it has not responded effectively to the practical challenges of organising and using information and knowledge within and between organizations at a time of rapid but uneven ‘informational developments.’ Northern development organizations of all types often lack adequate knowledge of the Southern realities that they exist to change and, as importantly, of the perception of those realities by local populations and by local intellectuals. This is a fundamental issue affecting the potential effectiveness of all development work. The objective of the programme is to improve development practice by promoting change in the way the development sector approaches the selection, management and use of knowledge in the formation and implementation of its policies and programmes. It aims to achieve this by:

  • raising awareness of the importance of knowledge to development work and its contested nature;
  • promoting investment in and use of Southern knowledge production of all types and origins;
  • creating an environment for innovation, supported by research on existing and emergent practice, for people working in the development sector to raise and discuss means of addressing these issues;
  • researching conceptual and practical issues raised by the Programme, and ways of addressing them;
  • mapping and making available IKM's work, and realted work by others, in order to offer a more holistic and accessible body of knowledge; and
  • finding, creating, testing and documenting ideas for processes and tools which will illustrate the range of issues which affect how knowledge is used in development work and stimulate thought around possible solutions.