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Linking Knowledge Management to Environmental Solutions

When I talk about my passion for protecting the environment, I’m often asked how my work in knowledge management is linked to change on the ground. That’s an easy question to answer this week, as the United States officially re-entered the Paris Climate Agreement and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) revamped its two environment knowledge portals to ensure that climate and biodiversity solutions are made better and smarter by sharing key resources, data, and lessons learned. 

How we share what works and what doesn’t shapes the effectiveness of on-the-ground efforts. EI provides strategic knowledge management services to improve the impact of development programs around the world. Without this support, critical knowledge and experience can get lost in databases and documents or remain siloed in the minds of too few people. Innovations can wither in the idea stage, and decisions can be made based on incomplete or outdated information. The climate crisis demands that we close the data-decision gap and give development professionals and communities around the world the information they need—when they need it—to make evidence-driven policy and programming choices. 

Our experience also tells us that having data isn’t enough—it needs to be organized, communicated, and applied effectively to drive real change. Since 2004, EI has helped our clients improve program performance, enhance organizational learning, and achieve sustainable outcomes. EI’s support to USAID’s Sharing Environment and Energy Knowledge (SEEK) activity aims to strengthen the Agency’s capacity for greater efficiency, learning, and adaptive management by focusing on enhancing staff skills and abilities and developing communication systems that facilitate effective knowledge sharing. 

This week, USAID officially launched revamped BiodiversityLinks and Climatelinks websites that support its ambitious mandate on the environment and will help make it more successful. Under SEEK, EI, in partnership with the Training Resources Group and Forum One, supported the website redesigns to better meet user needs.

BiodiversityLinks is now the Agency’s knowledge portal for biodiversity conservation, featuring key USAID conservation tools and resources as well as new evidence and learning collections. USAID took the best elements of BiodiversityLinks’ predecessors, the Natural Resources Management and Development (RM) Portal and the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway, to better support today’s biodiversity practitioners.

Climatelinks has been redesigned with updated country-by-country climate indicator data, sector-specific content to support mainstreaming of climate into a range of development programs, and a rich photo gallery. The site houses 3,000 resources, including 600 blogs, in its resources library for USAID staff, its climate and development partners, and the global climate community. 

EI celebrates the Paris Agreement announcement and the role USAID will play in helping countries implement climate solutions to achieve their development goals. Meeting today’s climate challenge will require sharing of knowledge and sparks of innovation to get it right. This week, I am especially proud of EI’s role in supporting USAID and our other clients to make that a reality.

About the Author

Amy Gambrill directs EI’s Strategic Innovation Portfolio, including projects such as USAID's Advancing Capacity for the Environment (ACE) and USAID's Technical, Operations, and Program Support (TOPS).


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