WORKING PAPER: Capability development - Taking a targeted approach

WORKING PAPER: Capability development - Taking a targeted approach

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Author: CDKN Global

Developing capacity for a post-2020 world

The Paris Agreement provided the global community with an opportunity to unite and take on the greatest current development challenge. This is to deliver economic growth and prosperity in an environmentally sustainable and equitable way, while coping with the urgent challenge of climate change. In 2015, countries presented their nationally determined contributions, which serve as a guide to development planning. The strong ambitions set out in the Paris Agreement provide a clear call for action and the best opportunity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. For many countries, this implies a significant advance in reducing carbon emissions and increasing resilience to the negative impacts of climate change. The focus has now shifted to implementing the vision that was carefully co-created between different actors. However, many acknowledge that “to implement the Paris Agreement, a transformative change in international capacity building is required.”

Countries are now turning to the complex task of integrating climate change into development planning and implementation. “Closing the gap between climate change ambitions and implementation will require a structural shift.” The challenge is intensified in low- and middle-income countries, where capacity and resources are more constrained. Development cooperation now places a strong emphasis on country ownership. Exercising this ownership fully, in turn, requires the right balance of capacities and capabilities at country level.

How do organisations build capacity and capability effectively? Key messages from the paper

Approaches to the development of capacity and capability vary from one organisation to another and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. The topic is complex and very context-specific. Rather than letting capacity develop by chance or as a by-product, CDKN has adopted a more intentional approach. It has done this by articulating the types of capabilities it would like to support within country systems and by working with actors at country level. This process started as an organisational enquiry in 2016.

This paper aims to share some of the latest thinking about CDKN’s approach to the development of capacity and capability. These findings represent only what has been explored to date and the enquiry is still open, continuing to highlight new insights from CDKN’s experience. This paper therefore also invites others to join the enquiry process and share their experiences, thoughts and observations on the topic.


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