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A key outcome of the study is a comprehensive Connectedness Index, which covers 132 countries, using the most relevant available data from a wide range of sources. Initial findings through the Connectedness Index are clear: networks matter for development effectiveness.

The results show a significant variation in networks across countries and also within countries across levels of networks. There is a strong positive correlation between the Connectedness Index and government effectiveness, industrial development and economic development.

Switzerland topped the global ranking, followed by Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, the United States, Belgium, Finland, Austria, Singapore, Norway, Canada, Ireland, Germany, the UK, France, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg and New Zealand.

One of the findings of the report in relationship to the level of connectedness is, that knowledge networks can facilitate the exchange of policy-relevant knowledge among their members and the production of new knowledge and solutions. In some cases, this is being scaled up and leads to policy coordination (or even harmonization) and mutual learning. With their informal, flexible and trust-building nature, knowledge networks can lead to global/regional agenda- and norm setting and help in harmonization processes, particularly when rapid decision-making is required during crisis periods. Thus they can be particularly useful in processes of regional and/or inter-regional integration, where a prior harmonization process can ease, support and speed up policy implementation and operations.

The role of intergovernmental knowledge networks in norm and standard setting or diffusion deserves a particular attention, in particular due to the increasing rise of private standards ruling the international private sector, thus influencing the economic performance of countries indirectly.

Knowledge networking can be crucial in norm-setting and diffusion through peer-to-peer interaction and learning. Successful knowledge sharing depends less on IT platforms than on interests and incentives.

A final consideration regarding the need for increased cross-border knowledge exchange and policy coordination is that in many regions can be observed the parallel processes of ‘regionalization’ of policy and the progressive upgrading of the micro-regional level in policy processes. Indeed, there is now a wide consensus that governance is not limited to the level of the state alone but requires a system of participatory policymaking, involving those parts of society that are affected by the policies.