Supporting the implementation of the Technical Cooperation for Enhanced Capacity Development component of the EU Operational Framework on Aid Effectiveness

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Publication Date: 
20 October 2011
Gwenaëlle Corre

This study assesses EU members' approaches to technical cooperation and capacity development. Key messages emerging from the report are: 1. The international agenda on Aid Effectiveness is a favourable opportunity for setting Capacity Development as a priority. Capacity is both the means to deliver sustainable results, as well as a goal in itself. 2. Further explore an enhanced coordination of EU Member States approaches with the EC approach, into a possible European Union common set of principles on Capacity Development & Technical Cooperation 3. Capacity Development faces several important challenges: ownership is not a given fact; multiple stakeholders are involved; contextual factors influence its outcomes. In other words, there is a certain degree of complexity in all Capacity Development processes that should be managed to reach effective results. 4. There is a need for a pragmatic approach, moving from rhetoric to practice: internal procedures would need to be adapted in areas which are critical to Capacity Development such as internal competencies, alignment, flexible planning, focus on learning, etc. 5. A tension exists between results orientation and process support: the pressure to deliver fast measurable results is not conducive to an engagement in Capacity Development processes. In the end, Capacity Development is both a means to produce results, and a strategic priority. 6. There is a need for an increased use of knowledge sharing and collaborative tools: Capacity Development is highly contextualised, therefore centralised decision making and blueprints should be balanced by grassroots and practitioners knowledge and information sharing.

Acknowledgements: European Commission