Delegates at Knowledge Summit at Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched the third edition of the ‘Future of Knowledge Foresight Report’ on Tuesday at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The report is a study that examines the future knowledge landscape and various capacities of countries towards transformation against global risks based on a collection of data; providing new insights into countries’ readiness to face future risks.

The launch was held during the seventh edition of the Knowledge Summit, themed ‘Knowledge: Protecting Humanity and the Planet in the Pandemic’, with the participation of experts, leaders, and government officials from around the world. The summit was held Monday and Tuesday at Expo and will continue through virtual platforms from March Wednesday to Friday.

Commenting on the summit, Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of MBRF, said: “This third edition of the foresight report is a significant addition as it provides updated and unique data regarding the levels of awareness of countries across the world when it comes to future risks as well as their knowledge and skills. It comes at a time when the world is going through unprecedented challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on all aspects of life.”

Coping with disruptions

Dr Khalida Bouzar, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator, and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States, said that the pandemic has caused major global disruption that has directly affected countries’ progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, putting its gains at risk.

“At the UNDP and the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, we are committed to pursue our knowledge initiatives, believing that knowledge is the only way for humanity to confront threats. We have released the results of the Global Knowledge Index for 2020 and 2021, and here we are today at this global knowledge event, the Knowledge Summit in its seventh edition, launching the Future of Knowledge Foresight Report in its third edition. The report focuses on examining the transformative capacities that enable countries to continue to grow in the face of shocks and to sustain development gains,” she added.

The new edition of the Future of Knowledge Foresight Report consists of four chapters, the first of which presents global, technological, health, and environmental risks and challenges. It emphasises the importance of transformative capacity as one of the key components in addressing these risks, as well as the knowledge and skills that form as the foundation for such transformation. The second chapter sets out the methodology for analysis, presenting the data collection tools, as well as the analytical and methodological frameworks. The third chapter focuses on the findings of the analysis at the global level in terms of cooperation and innovation capacities. The fourth and final chapter discusses the recommendations and concluding observations.

Digital transformation

The study relied on large data and artificial intelligence using a digital information platform that allows for the monitoring of content in over 150 million open sources around the world and in more than 180 languages. The analysis presented the results of the total sample countries, which included more than 47 million data units in more than 20 languages for a total of 40 sample countries, including seven Arab countries.

The selection of countries was based on their performance in the Global Knowledge Index, using an automated machine learning method which conducted the aggregation of data, following the same process used in the data collection conducted for the Future of Knowledge Foresight Report 2019 to ensure consistency across all editions of the report.


Also on Tuesday, the role and impact of the media during the COVID-19 crisis was discussed during a panel discussion held on the sidelines of the seventh edition of the Knowledge Summit.

Themed ‘The Role and Impact of Media During Crisis: Reflecting on COVID-19’, several leading media personalities including Karam Gabr, Head of the Supreme Council for Media Regulation in Egypt; Ali Jaber, Group TV Director, MBC Group; Ali Obaid Al Hameli, News Centre Department Director at Dubai Media; and Michael Peters, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Euronews SA addressed the topic; and was moderated by TV presenter Lojain Omran.

Panelists at the summit debate the role of media in influencing society during the pandemic Image Credit: Supplied

The session tackled several issues surrounding media’s capabilities especially during crisis such as the widespread misinformation dubbed as ‘info-demic’, the importance of trusted sources during times of uncertainty, the narratives surrounding COVID-19 and the forms of storytelling, as well as debunking misleading ideas such as conspiracy theories.

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Ali Jaber said the media in some countries have played an important role in influencing society, especially during the pandemic where a cross section of the society were convinced not to take the vaccine, which had exacerbated the health conditions in those countries. He cited the laws implemented by Arab Gulf countries against spreading rumors and false news have helped these countries deal with the pandemic more effectively.

UAE’s experience

Jaber reviewed the UAE experience in dealing with the pandemic with integrity and transparency, citing the government’s strong decisions, laws, and legislation which have contributed to the control of misinformation, particularly on social media. This has had a significant impact on limiting the spread of wrong information and at the same time, contributed to encouraging community members to take the vaccine. He further highlighted that the greatest challenge in the media is putting laws and legislations in place to control the chaos in the posting on social media.