The Important of Knowledge Management as a Panacea for Sustainable Development
OYEWUMI Fausat Ayobami1, OYEDOKUN Tunde Toyese2* and OTONEKWU Florence Onyeisi1
1 University of Ilorin Library, Nigeria
2 Department of Library and Information Science, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
Submission: February 13, 2019; Published: June 25, 2019
*Corresponding author: Tunde Toyese Oyedokun, Mater Graduate of Department of Library and Information Science, Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
How to cite this article:OYEWUMI Fausat Ayobami, OYEDOKUN Tunde Toyese, OTONEKWU Florence Onyeisi. The Important of Knowledge
Management as a Panacea for Sustainable Development. Ann Soc Sci Manage Stud. 2019; 3(4): 555619. DOI: 10.19080/ASM.2019.03.555619
Sustainable Development Goals is a global partnership that tends to set the world on the path of inclusive and sustainable development. The seventeen goals, one hundred and sixty-nine targets, as well as three hundred and four indicators, are set to achieve three broad objectives that include a global scale economic development, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. Transforming our world on the path of sustainable development constitute the hallmark of United Nation Assembly’s Open Group that set the vision to be accomplished by the year 2030. Agenda 2030 is universally applicable to all nations of the world, which implies that no nation can localize and implement Sustainable Development Goals successfully while working in isolation.
The implication is that the global agenda would be defeated. Going by what is obtainable in the literature, submission of the 17th goal of Sustainable Development Goals that advocate for a global partnership as well as knowledge management initiatives already embarked upon by various stakeholders buttressed the importance of knowledge management imitative for sustainable development. Relevant instances of knowledge management initiatives for the accomplishment of Sustainable Development Goals include United Health Coverage, United Nation Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, Knowledge for Development Partnership, and many more. However, setting the world on the path of transformation and global sustainability demand global partnership that strengthen collaboration and sharing of knowledge. It also requires bridging the digital divide between developed and developing countries through the provision of adequate information infrastructure that would incite knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Keywords: Knowledge; Knowledge management; Sustainable development goals; Millennium development goals; United nation
Sustainability is the art (that require certain skills) and social science (that following a scientific approach) of upholding, supporting, and maintaining a system or process to remain productive indefinitely. Sustainable development, on the other hand, is the process of meeting development goals through an organizing principle or strategic sustainable plans that ensures indefinite availability of resources for present and future needs . It is a process that fosters a sustainable environment for societal development without compromising the future need for available resources. In consonance to the, Ulrich  stressed that sustainable development is concerned with carrying capacity of the natural system with the social, political, and economic challenges faced by humanity with emphases on the present generation’s responsibility to regenerate, maintain, and improve planetary resources for use by the future generation.
Sustainable Development Goals  was conceived and presented by the United Nation General Assembly’s Open Working Group on 19th July 2014 containing 17 goals, accompanying by 169 targets and about 304 indicators, which was subjected to
some review before it final endorsement in September 2015 by the head of states and government. United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015 contained the goals, targets and indicators. SDGs covers issues that bothered on poverty, health, education, global warming, gender equality, environmental sanitation, energy, urbanization, social justice and many more running to 304 indicators that measure compliance.
One hundred and ninety-three (193) head of states agreed to set the world on a path to transform the world towards sustainable development by setting out sustainable development agenda for 2030 . SDGs build on the accomplishment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by extending the eight (8) goals of MDGs. While SDGs is on the sustainability of natural resources that take into action interconnectedness of all developmental problems in our society, MDGs is all about development. The three (3) main dimensions of the 17 goals are to record at global scale economic growth, environmental suitability and social inclusion. SDGs bulwark on MDGs (meant for developing countries) and apply universally as a new paradigm for sustainable development for all countries. The new agenda (sometimes refers to as the
2030 agenda) was broadened to accommodate other areas such as
security, governance, social, economic and environmental aspect
Agenda  constitute a cohesive and integrated package
of global aspirations. It builds on the achievement of MDGs
and addresses the most pressing global challenges of our time,
calling upon collaborative partnership across and between
countries to balance development in term of economic growth,
environmental sustainability and social inclusion. Implementation
of SDGs started with localization of SDGs by participating nations,
institutions, local players and other stakeholders. SDGs are
universal goals in which each country will be responsible for
developing and implementing national strategies to achieve them
and will be expected to track and report progress. The Sustainable
Development Goals aim to eradicate poverty and inequalities and
spur economic growth while respecting planetary boundaries.
The agenda is transformative: they address both gaps in coverage
of the MDGs and the underlying problems. There are specific
global goals that aim at putting in place policies, institutions and
systems necessary to generate sustained investment and growth.
There could be no better moment than now for the United Nations
to launch the SDGs as a roadmap for the accomplishment of
sustainable development by the year 2030.
Leveraging knowledge for sustainable development constitute
the hallmark of knowledge management initiative, as learned
citizens embark on long-life learning that equipped them with
skills necessary for identification of knowledge gap in their
knowledge domain as well as knowing the sources of information
at their disposal in solving phenomenon (uncertainty/knowledge
gap). Any nation wishing to attain sustainable development ought
to work toward attaining the status of a knowledge society where
citizens are rightly informed. Attaining this status is highly pivotal,
as most successful individuals, group, and organization and by
extension nations of the world, are those that best leverage their
knowledge base (documented knowledge/information, individual
experience, skills, intuition etc.) for sustainable development. In
today’s social, economic, industrial, political and technological
world, knowledge management is an indispensable and essential
ingredient in achieving meaningful development. In advocacy to
foregoing, Brander  posited that in every parts and facet of our
society, knowledge is the heart of all resources or factors needed
for development. Buttressing the aforestated was Kurz  who
also affirmed that knowledge is a vital and indispensable resource
for sustainable development.
In knowledge economy of today, more value is accord to
knowledge as a key driver and social engineering for sustainable
development [7,8]. In congruence to foregoing, Dumittriu 
asserted that knowledge is preeminent in all mandates and actions
that fuel the dynamics of our globalized and interdependent
world that goes beyond thematic or geographical borders. This is
so true such that if we are to attain the United Nations’ Agenda
2030, the world must recognize the substantial need of embracing
the culture of knowledge sharing across boundaries without
barriers. The MDGs is a collection of separate objectives, while
that of 2030 Agenda was global and indivisible, which tends to be
far remote from disintegration, duplication as well as working in
reclusiveness Carbonez .
This is where adoption of knowledge management practice
for sustainable development became paramount and widespread
among various stakeholders advocating for Agenda 2030.
Knowledge management constitutes the roadmap for the
accomplishment of SDGs because of its concern with extracting
value from knowledge repositories and sharing such knowledge
with various stakeholders. No stakeholder of agenda  can
achieve SDGs in isolation without collaboration and sharing
of knowledge learned with others. This practice of knowledge
sharing will eliminate duplication of effort and waste of scarce
resources among participating counties. In today online world
with the wealth of information presented therein, Bokova 
reported that two-thirds of residence of third world countries
remain offline. This call for bridging all form of the digital
divide that would foster global inclusive development-oriented
information society where everyone creates, access, share and
Kerkhoff (2014) associated sustainable development as a
knowledge-intensive process that was plagued by an inability
to connect what we know with sustainable practices. Therefore,
adopting knowledge management as elixir vitae for sustainable
development advocate for a global practice that foster synergies,
cross-fertilization, bottom-up and top-down knowledge transfer,
vertical and horizontal learning and knowledge sharing Bury
. In recognition of the importance of knowledge management
for the accomplishment of global sustainable development. The
United Nations, international organizations, and associations
such as Universal Health Coverage (creation of World Health
Organization), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and
the Empowerment of Women and Knowledge for Development
Partnership embarked on knowledge management initiatives
that foster collaboration as well as knowledge sharing across
the globe [13-15]. Considering this, this paper reviews various
knowledge management initiatives documents that bothered on
the accomplishment of Agenda .
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) sometimes refers to, as global goals
for sustainable development are sets of seventeen (17) goals,
one hundred and sixty-nine (169) targets and three hundred
and four indicators that measure compliance and localization of
implementation process. The initiative was a result of resolution
made by one hundred and ninety-three 193-member states and
global civil society that participated in United Nation General
Assembly of 25 September 2015. To set the world on the path
of development that is sustainable, the 17 goals, 169 targets and
specific objectives for each goal was enshrined in the United Nation’s document paragraph 54, A/RES/70/1. Achieving the
specific objectives denote accomplishing the 17 goals.
The seventeen goals of SDGs, as well as their specific objectives,
are stated thus:
a) Goal One: to end poverty in all its forms everywhere – No
b) Goal Two: to achieved food security and improved
nutrition through sustainable agriculture – Zero Hunger.
c) Goal Three: to ensure healthy lives and promote
wellbeing for all – Good Health for the People.
d) Goal Four: to ensure inclusive and equitable quality
education as well as the promotion of lifelong opportunities
for all – Quality Education.
e) Goal Five: to achieve gender equality and empowerment
for women – Gender Equality
f) Goal Six: Clean Water and Sanitation.
g) Goal Seven: to ensure access to affordable, reliable,
sustainable and modern energy for all – Affordable and Clean
h) Goal Eight: to promote sustained, inclusive and
sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment
and decent work for all – Decent Work and Economic Growth.
i) Goal Nine: to build resilient infrastructure, promote
inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster
innovation – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
j) Goal Ten: to reduce income inequality within and among
counties – Reducing Inequalities.
k) Goal Eleven: to make cities and human settlements
inclusive, resilient, and sustainable – Sustainable Cities and
l) Goal Twelve: to ensure sustainable consumption
and production patterns – Responsible Consumption and
m) Goal Thirteen: to take urgent action to combat climate
change and its impact by regulating emissions and promoting
developments in renewable energy – Climate Action.
n) Goal Fourteen: to conserve and sustainably use
the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable
development – Life below Water
o) Goal Fifteen: to protect, restore and promote sustainable
use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forest,
combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation
and halt biodiversity loss.
p) Goal Sixteen: to promote peaceful and inclusive societies
for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all
and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at
all levels – peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
q) Goal Seventeen: to strengthen the means of
implementation and revitalize the global partnership for
sustainable development – Partnerships for Goals.
Human activities have caused our world environment to
deteriorate to the extent that it is very difficult for planet earth
to be resources self-renewal to meet future resources need of
humankind [16,17]. There exists a global sustainability crisis as
the world population is increasing (which require more resources
for sustainability) at the expense of degrading in environmental
natural resources, which is detrimental to our society. Robert
et al.  give the condition that if society did not desist from
polluting the atmosphere and as well, change from unsustainable
practices, there would be a decline in environmental potentials
and degrade on natural resources to sustain present generation
and subsequently future generation needs.
Going by the notion that sustainable development denotes the
ability to meet present need of the populace without compromising
that of coming generation; then it is very essential for societies to
not only find a solution to present predicament but also proactively
treat the future emerging ones. No nation can boast to be selfsufficient
as our world is interdependent of one another, which
necessitate the need for United Nations to imbibe in knowledge
sharing and knowledge collaboration, which is the hallmark of
knowledge management. The practice of knowledge management
becomes the last resort through which the sustainability threat
confronting our planet could be jointly tackled.
Just in advocacy to above, Halpern  forecasted that in
near future our societies would be learnt that developmental
sustainability threat is a global phenomenon that requires
localization of knowledge garnered from global collaboration.
More so, the local communities would be considered as knowledge
holders because knowledge reflects on the knowledge that was
accumulated by generations of settlers and migrant within a
territory. Buttressing important of knowledge was Brander 
who posited that knowledge is at the nerve center of development,
which is very essential for all society that was positioned for
Boom  did not miss words when he emphatically asserts
that knowledge is a key driver of change that metamorphic into
the process of innovation, invention and diffusion that lead to the
transformation of ideas that have utility value to societal needs.
In consonance to foregoing, Bokova  stated that knowledge
management initiative is at the heart of the United Nations’
Agenda 2030 that lay the foundation for inclusive knowledge
societies. Bieckmann  posited that knowledge can be tacit
(knowledge gain through experience, intuition or belief) or explicit (documented knowledge) that recognition of its plurality nature
would make knowledge to be properly utilized for legitimizing
inclusive development policies.
In pursuit of sustainable development by United Nations
and other various stakeholders, it is necessary that knowledge
generated by individual stakeholders and nations are captured,
inventoried and shared with other stakeholders because
sustainable development could not be achieved by individual
stakeholder’s effort but rather through collaboration effort. In
congruence to aforestated was Amouzou  who demonstrated
that knowledge development is fundamental for sustainable
development such that if knowledge garnered through
collaboration efforts were utilized effectively in various nations of
the world, better health, education, infrastructural development
and social wellbeing would be guaranteed.
Knowledge for Development Partnership created the global
Agenda Knowledge for Development as one of the resolutions
made in their meeting in Vienna in October 2016 and that of
Geneva in April 2017. The Agenda Knowledge for Development
is an initiative that is open to all that wishes to place knowledge
and knowledge management at the core center of achieving
sustainable development goals. Their mission was to create a
global partnership for the development of a peaceful, wealthy,
inclusive and sustainable world for all people irrespective of
their geographical locations. Stated in apposition, this agenda
would help better understand the needs for inclusive knowledge
societies as well as manage knowledge responsibly on all level of
our societies for the benefits of a peaceful, wealthy and sustainable
Knowledge partnership was created to foster collaboration
and sharing of knowledge across the globe. The aim of the
partnership was to nurture a universal knowledge framework
that seeks to provide a guiding principle for dialogue on
knowledge, strengthening global knowledge ecosystems as
well as contributing to better success in achieving sustainable
development goals. The Agenda Knowledge for Development
strives for advancing knowledge societies that contribute to the
accomplishment of SDGs in various spheres, societies or nations.
This they embark upon to create global knowledge partnership
Knowledge Development Partnership .
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is an offspring of the World
Health Organization (WHO) constitution of 1948 that declared
sound health as one of the fundament human rights. The rationale
for the creation of UHC was to afford people (most especially
people from poorest countries) the use of preventive, curative,
rehabilitative and palliative health services without exposing
them to any form of financial hardship. Most especially, the agenda
of UHC was to work toward achieving health-related sustainable
development goals of 2030. In recognition of the importance
of knowledge management, UHC constitutes a Knowledge
Management Working Group (KMWG), a multi-stakeholder
platform to strengthen collaboration and contribute to the
movement for resilient, sustainable and equitable health systems
to attain global health security by 2030.
The Knowledge Management Working Group (KMWG) met in
April 2017 to map out strategies on how networks, alliances and
initiatives engaged in knowledge management related to Universal
Health Coverage (UHC) and Health System Strengthening (HSS).
What constitutes a key advantage for this collaboration is
knowledge management that helps to position UHC 2030 to broker
knowledge across the HSS and UHC Agenda. UCH 2030 knowledge
management landscape analysis report indicated that there is
an avalanche of knowledge that is available, but the knowledge
remains unknown and less utilized. Knowledge management
initiatives such as UHC 2030 are aggregator and disseminator
of knowledge that accelerates progress towards developmental
goals by pooling resources.
United Nations General Assembly established the Entity for
Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The vision was
to foster gender equality, which grounded on the notion that the
involvement of women in SDGs would have a multiplier effect. In
the process of fulfilling its mandate to achieve gender equality,
it provides support service to the government of participating
nations to domesticate, localize, and implement the SDG goal five
The organization adopted a knowledge management strategy
to collect, disseminate and preserve the intellectual output of
participating countries through diverse mechanisms to support
the localization of SDG objective of gender equality and women
empowerment. The organization objective of adopting knowledge
management practice was to ensure knowledge and innovation
are documented, analyzed and widely disseminated for uptake and
replication. What constitutes the key element of the knowledge
management strategy employed include knowledge capturing,
analysis and documentation of knowledge captured, knowledge
sharing/knowledge transfer as well as knowledge sustainability.
Concisely stated, the strategy aims at promoting the sharing
of best practices and lesson learned for the implementation of
Gender Equality (Sustainable Development Goal 5).
The SDGs set out objectives across social, economic and
environmental sustainability. The goals provide a framework
for shared action for people, planet and prosperity. The goals
are designed to be implemented by all countries acting in a
collaborative partnership. These global objectives are universally
applicable, considering different national realities, capacities
and levels of development. The realization of global sustainable development at its core essentially would require combine and
collaborative effort of all stakeholders, which is the hallmark of
knowledge management initiatives that tend to achieved set
objectives through the process of extracting knowledge from
intellectual repository (local communities held knowledge,
individual experiences, recorded knowledge, knowledge databases
etc.) and sharing such knowledge among various stakeholders.
Various stakeholders at local, national and international
level have embarked upon knowledge management initiatives
for the accomplishment of SDGs vision 2030. However, the major
challenges of knowledge management practice among United
Nations are different in the digital environment in which knowledge
is developed and utilized, reluctant on the part of participating
countries to share knowledge learned as well as the digital divide
between developed countries and developing countries. The first
world countries are in the forefront of development in term of
Information Technology (IT) that serve as drivers and enhancer
of knowledge management, while that of third world countries is
still at elementary stage.
Sustainable Development Goal 17 (Partnerships for the
Goal) that recaps the whole agenda into implementation and
revitalization through global partnership explained in coincidence
the importance of knowledge sharing and collaboration, which
constitute the core principle of knowledge management.
Therefore, knowledge management was authenticated as elixir
vitae for implementation of sustainable development at all level
In the process of localizing SDGs in various nations, it is very
crucial that lesson learned (knowledge garnered in implantation
process) are captured, inventoried and shared with all stakeholders
if truly the world is ready for sustainable development. More so,
the gap between the two sides of the digital divide (developed
and developing countries) needed to be bridged through the
provision of adequate information infrastructures that enhance
collaboration and sharing of knowledge among all nations of the
In realization of sustainable development in various societies,
knowledge is at the center, therefore access to knowledge base/
intellectual repositories be made free for all, as all habitats of the
world constitute major players in Implementation of SDGs.
In knowledge society today, knowledge development is
indispensable for sustainable development that transforms into
better education, social wellbeing, environmental infrastructure
and human capital development. Securing this status of
knowledge society require effective utilization of existing and
newly generated knowledge for the formulation of developmental
policies and implementation.
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