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Welcome to the concept page for the Virtual Knowledge Fair on Water 2006. : -> Read about submissions or the Final Report & Lessons Learned



Background & Rationale

Promoting the culture of knowledge sharing, codification and application across UNDP Country Offices requires a number of different strategies and approaches, both traditional and innovative. UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre (BRC) in collaboration with the SURF for Arab States (SURF-AS) are working together to launch new ways of promoting quick and interactive access to replicable knowledge. Building on their respective work towards building regional Water Governance Communities of Practice, the BRC and the SURF-AS are exploring the potential of knowledge fairs and exhibits to give a new impetus to knowledge codification that is inclusive even of tacit knowledge and experiences. The BRC and SURF-AS plan to expand their partnership to capture knowledge that is not limited geographically as well as to capture knowledge and good practices of non-UNDP actors.

In 2006 BRC together with SURF-AS plans to organize and launch a virtual (web-based) knowledge fair on water governance programming. The knowledge fair will be linked to the launch of the 2006 global HDR dedicated to water. Knowledge Fairs as alternative techniques for knowledge management proved successful elsewhere in UNDP and in the private sector because they:

  • Stimulate new ideas while capturing good practices through dynamic interaction;
  • Encourage sharing of country level development knowledge;
  • Help UNDP regional centres/SURFs to better understand countries’ and country offices’ needs for better tailored regional centre services and for workplanning which is synchronized with CO needs;
  • Enhance COs’ understanding of services and products available from UNDP regional centres;
  • Reassert UNDP’s role as a knowledge broker aware of demand and supply for applicable knowledge (knowledge fairs with external partners)


The overall objective of a web-based K-fair is comprised of learning and community of practice building as well as presenting the mission of UNDP in the field and communicating with external audiences including media. The fair offers the possibility:

  • to test an alternative way for codification and consolidation of pieces of knowledge (not yet another website);
  • to bring together a range of relevant actors at low cost;
  • to link knowledge management and communications with the most important UNDP annual publication – global HDR;
  • to open UNDP knowledge efforts and expertise to the outside world and also communicate with the external clients.

The central strategic objectives for the K-Fair are therefore:

  1. to position UNDP as a credible partner in water governance;
  2. to promote the main messages of the region with the linkage to the HDR 2006, and illustrate them with concrete examples from Europe, CIS and the Arab states (from the CoPs) in line with the main mission of the fair;
  3. to mobilize UNDP regional CoPs (in RBEC and RBAS), build awareness about, and develop the capacity to identify and develop new initiatives around "Water Governance";
  4. to codify good practice and lessons in Water Governance and capture them in a lasting and efficient way (e.g. connection to WaterWiki)
  5. capacity building for practitioners towards better programming and policy advice in Water Governance.

The Concept

The planned virtual knowledge fair will be a web-based exhibition of good practices, issue, programmatic solutions to water governance problems, and other types of knowledge from both the Europe and CIS and the Arab States regions. It will allow knowledge suppliers and knowledge demanders to "meet virtiually" and exchange (i.e. showcase or search for) approaches to concrete, water related development challenges.

The virtual modality offers the possibility for an un-restricted number of participants to take part, irrespective of time zones and without travel expenses. Once the fair closes the exchanged and captured knowledge will stay available on the created/populated website(s).

WHAT to be exhibited

Topics / Themes

In terms of themes for knowledge products to be exhibited, it was discussed whether to give strict guidance to participants and limit the topics or to provide just a general theme – water governance. While for the sake of creativity any kind of limitations should be handeld with care, it is suggested to concentrate on 4-5 areas (or key messages) from the HDR 2006, around which to collect/display existing knowledge (good practices, experiences, lessons):

  1. Water resource management, including access, usage and infrastructure, local community-mobilization, etc.
  2. PPP (including Financing the Water Sector, emerging opportunities under the new EC Neigbourhood Policy / the EUWI, etc.)
  3. water production and the environment
  4. water and sanitation
  5. water and security

A definitive selection of areas will be done in due time, once a (more) final draft of the HDR will be available.

Types of knowledge

Possible content for the exhibition could include:

  1. Most recent country information related to water;
  2. Knowledge told in photos;
  3. Project solutions to problems or challenges (country, regional);
  4. "Water-Stories" from different countries told through multi-media products;
  5. Highlighted cuntry cases around the HDR'06 main messages;
  6. On-line discussions on how to enact the HDR at country level;
  7. On-line discussions on select topics;
  8. "Who is who" rubrique;
  9. Access to a collection of water-resources.

HOW to exhibit/present knowledge


Videos and other multi-media exhibits
The exhibited products could include vidoes/spots about good practices, case studies, particularly interesting issues and/or solutions to problems, etc. (-> should not be more than 2-3 min.)
Besides videos we could use photos, multimedia, etc.

Interactive exhibits
Multi-media products could also include interactive write ups (e.g. a funny quiz, Wiki-articles, contests, etc.). Besides the aim to verbalize and visualize knowledge by avoiding traditional paper work, like for the "one-way or consumable exhibits" described above, interactive exhibits could emphazise on the learning (or even learning by doing) part.

Short regional documentary
would "tell the story of the region(s)"; In the case of the Arab Region e.g. UNDP's support to establishment of the Arab Water Council.

Links to existing knowledge products, publications, newsletters, etc.
E.g. existing WaterWiki articles (lessons, "concepts", short descriptions of organizations, projects, etc. etc.)

Display of already existing multi-media products
movies & documentaries, other visual materials related to water governance in the two regions.

How to create the exhibits / technical support

There will be a guidance distributed to COs what to address and how to approach the presentation of their work. Other players will be asked to do something similar – when country experiences are not applicable, overall presentation of the work on water will be sought.

A web development company
has been contracted in Bratislava to design and produce the fair web-site.

Multi-media graphic designer
Preliminary agreement with a movie director in Beirut to direct the production of a variety of multi-media products.

To enable access also to those who do not have (broadband) internet connection, exhibits and other Fair materials will be put on CD-ROMs, as feasible

Other ways (channels) of knowledge display and showcase

Water Clinic
There could be a "water clinic" where leading names on water will be available for a couple of hours on-line and asked for advice on specific questions.
Water quizzes
A new quizz every day for the duration of the k-fair. Every quizz could be somehow linked to one of the messages of the HDR. Awards (mainly symbolic e.g. water encyclopedia) could be distributed to the best result owner.
Interviews with interesting country (or world) celebrities
Could be done to address the wider public. Topic will be water. These could be done in cooperation with the COs which have the relevant contacts. WEHAVE TO COME UP WITH SOME SUGGESTIONS AS WELL (Dessi wrote: June 5th 2006)
There could also be an interview with or a presence of a world celebrity to launch the HDR at regional level. This could be used to launch the water fair as well.
The (RBEC) regional CoP-meeting brings together most CO Energy (& Water) focal points (planned back-to-back with regional launch of HDR 06), an opportunity that could be used for face-to-face activities, such as launch (first day) of Virtual fair, award ceremonies, etc.
The (regional) HDR 06 launch in November (for Europe and the CIS possibly held in Istanbul), could be broadcasted on the virtual fair site. If it would be planned to coincide timely and possibly geographically together with the launch of the K-Fair, then these events could reinforce eachother and multiply the visibility.
Instead of, or in addition to, one of the launches and/or the CoP meeting, an exhibition dedicated to water could be organized and held in either of the locations.

WHO to address/involve (Target Audience and Participants)

The virtual Water Knowledge Fair aims at bringing together knowledge suppliers and demanders, which in principle includes a variety of stakeholders including UNDP offices(COs, other headquarter and regional centres), UN(DP)-projects in the regions, specialized UN agencies, NGOs and external partners.

Regarding the limited time and resources available, a decision was taken to limit the main focus on "core target participants/audience" that include:

  1. UNDP Country Offices in RBEC and RBAS;
  2. UNDP project partners (NGOs, project staff, etc.);
  3. Other UN-agencies (UNICEF, FAO, etc) and -projects, as feasible.

The apporoach will be to initially contact CoP members who would be play role of 'scouts' and who will identify best practices in the Arab States and Europe & CIS Regions.

Link/Coordination with other activities

Other relevant activities - need for coordination
Activity Opportunities Need for Coordination Assumptions/constraints
HDR 2006 (Water) launch (Nov 06) Combined regional (global?) launch
  • Coordinated Main Messages ;
  • Timely coordination (same audience, therefore important for getting attention)
  • Depends on HDRO interest & cooperation;
TWME-EECCA project
  • Project will identify, codify, assess and showcase good practices in transboundary water management project -> potential input for K-Fair;
  • Project will produce video-clips of good practice examples;
  • Project will establish "criteria" for assessment / selection of "best practices" (award scheme);
  • Project partners: REC & other NGOs, UNECE
  • Lessons and codified knowledge to be exchanged;
  • Avoid duplication and/or over-stretching of "Interviewees" or knowledge contributors (e.g. project personnel)
  • Depends on REC and project partners agreement to "serve K-Fair" purpose (in addition or instead of other project activities)
RBAS Water programme formulation / launch
RBEC: development of a regional Water Governance Strategy for UNDP
  • Mapping and assessment exercise can yield lessons;
  • inputs for K-Fair
  • Avoid double-burden or over-stretching of involved practitioners
  • Buy-in by Senior management and non-RBEC/RBAS colleagues (e.g. headquarter water team, Stocklholm WGF, non-UNDP contributors)
  • RBEC Env Focal Points;
  • RBEC-Water CoP?;
  • RBAS Water-CoP
  • CoP-meeting could/should be combined with K-Fair related f2f event (launch, awards, …)
  • Need to align CoP- and K-Fair activities; * Avoid duplication of learning efforts!
  • Agreement from non-water colleagues and CoP-members to combine activities


The Process (activities and milestones)

There will be a preparation phase leading up to the event, the K-Fair itself, and a subsequent digestion phase as follows:

Preparation Phase

Knowledge Mapping
Use the COP-Water (RBAS) and RBEC-Water CoP (RBEC) for mapping of good practices, knowledge, lessons, etc.
Tool for mapping - a least for RBEC - will be WaterWiki, where knowledge mapping already is in an advanced stage.

Selection of cases, products, knowledge contributions
We will develop selection criteria; for the RBAS region we will consider geographic distribution between Maghreb (North Africa) and Maghreb (West Asia) countries.

Media / Communication concept
The exact level of publicity we want must be determined (are we shooting for a 5 minute TV spot or are we thinking UN Bulletin). There is a communication specialist hired, as of August 5th, for the duration of the k-fair.

First Consultation (with COs and other UNDP-internal colleagues)


Inform everyone about the K-Fair (DONE);
"Warm-up and buy-in" (TO BE CONT'D);
"send in your queries" (send us what you want to know, where you need knowledge..)
send us very short description about your possible contributions
any ideas, comments or feedback on "the HOW"

Second contact (with all potential K-Fair participants)

Intructions on preparations (ON-GOING);
Stimulate the production of contributions (ON-GOING);
Buy-in from a wider circle of participants;

produce you K-Products (write-ups, movies, etc.)
Look at the requests for knowledge posted here : For support, if you want to make a movie, etc. get in contact with XYZ

The K-Fair (event itself)

The k-fair is planned to happen in the first week of November 2006 and will be linked to the official global/regional lauches of the 2006 HDR.

The K-Fair main event will be of limited duration the exact lenth of which is still under discussion, most probably at least 5 days (24 hours a day). All information and contacts will be kept after the end of the fair and will serve as a resource for practitioners future water governance related activities.

The view of the home page will be changing every day by featuring: o a different topic; o different quote of the day; o different sound.

The home page will allow for: o Daily quizzes on water issues – with possibility to know the right answer right away; o Full-text search with two way navigation throughout the exhibits grouped by (i) topics, and (ii) countries; o There will be two discussion forums dealinng with: (i) How to enact the HDR into countries’ contexts?; and (ii) Facilitated discussions on chosen topics. This forum will be also for questions and answers, opinions and statements on issues related to the fair, etc. o Links to other resources such as websites, publications, events, waterwiki, etc. o Place for photos galleries, cartoons. o “Who is Who” section where there will be photos and short bios of the Community of Practice members. o Opinion poll; o Description of the awards that will be distributed after the fair.

The "Digestion Phase"

  • Ensuring proper write-up and conservation;
  • Lessons learnt on process;


After Fair web-site maintenance
Two possible options have been discussed:
1) to create the web-site and freeze it after the Fair will take place - cheaper and easier;
2) to maintain and update the site - more useful/user-oriented, but requires substantial resources unless it's fully integrated (from the start) into previously existing websites, for which maintainance is foreseen independent from the Fair.
It was suggested to connect the Fair to WaterWiki, which will make it easier to keep the Fair (or the core of it, i.e. the value-added knowledge) alive.


Roles and Responsibilities

Project Management – core team

See project plan in ""Various attachments"

Potential project partners

HDR Office, UNDP COs.
UNEP, bi-lateral donors, EU, others (?).

Various Attachments

Active documents: TORs, Budgets, etc.

Communication specialist


Web-development company




Archive: Meeting minutes, notes & drafts (chronologically)

K-fair_concept_RBEC_RBAS_19_04_06_(2).doc Telecon_20_04-revised_(2).doc

Documentation from, and links to similar exercises


Check this out for some ideas on the type of projects and what are actually out there in both regions (Jafar)

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