Capacity Building

According to UNCED

Capacity Building

Capacity Building according to UNCED 1992 (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development)

Specifically, capacity building encompasses the country’s human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities. A fundamental goal of capacity building is to enhance the ability to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among development options, based on an understanding of environment potentials and limits and of needs perceived by the people of the country concerned”.

Capacity Building – Agenda 21’s definition (Chapter 37, UNCED, 1992.)

Capacity Building is much more than training and includes the following:

Human resource development, the process of equipping individuals with the understanding, skills and access to information, knowledge and training that enables them to perform effectively.
Organizational development, the elaboration of management structures, processes and procedures, not only within organizations but also the management of relationships between the different organizations and sectors (public, private and community).
Institutional and legal framework development, making legal and regulatory changes to enable organizations, institutions and agencies at all levels and in all sectors to enhance their capacities.

Why is Capcity Building Needed ?

The issue of capacity is critical and the scale of need is enormous, but appreciation of the problem is low.
The link between needs and supply is weak.
There is a lack of realistic funding.
There is need for support for change.
Training institutions are isolated – communications are poor.
Development of teaching materials is inefficient.
Alternative ways of capacity building are not adequately recognized.

In its broadest interpretation, capacity building encompasses human resource development (HRD) as an essential part of development. It is based on the concept that education and training lie at the heart of development efforts and that without HRD most development interventions will be ineffective. It focuses on a series of actions directed at helping participants in the development process to increase their knowledge, skills and understandings and to develop the attitudes needed to bring about the desired developmental change.

What is Capacity Building?

According to Michelle Maiese

The terms “capacity building” and “capacity development” are used in numerous contexts to describe a wide array of activities. In the most general terms, capacity consists of a party’s ability to solve its problems and achieve its objectives.

[1] Capacity building aims to strengthen parties’ ability to work together for their mutual benefit by providing them with the skills and tools they need to define problems and issues and formulate solutions.

[2] “Capacity building, capacity development, empowerment and strengthening-all describe an increase in the ability of a social organization to achieve the goals that are set by that organization.”- Available Here.

Of course, at some basic level, building capacity for effective governance and conflict management rests on the availability of fundamental human needs: food, clean drinking water, health care, basic education, and economic opportunities within a society.

[3] Societies also need to have some sort of basic infrastructure in place that includes roads, electricity, hospitals, schools, and rule of law. If no such infrastructure is in place, it is unlikely that institutions, governments, and organizations will be very effective at solving the problems that society faces.

However, capacity building goes well beyond the provision of basic needs. It is matter of development at all levels of society and includes institutional development, community development, and economic development. Some of the central assets that individuals, organizations, communities, and governments need in order to achieve their full potential include knowledge and technical skills, institutional and organizational capacity, and the ability to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts. This essay focuses on how to build three broad types of capacity: political capacity, conflict resolution capacity, and the ability of individuals, communities, institutions, and organizations to implement sustainable development strategies.

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