Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED Programme)

About capacity development at the Trento Centre



The fundamental goal of capacity development is to enhance the ability of policy-makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders dealing with local economic and employment development to evaluate and address the development options related to policy choices and modes of implementation, based on an understanding of local potential and limits and of perceived needs.

As such, capacity development concerns the process whereby people, organisations and society as a whole unleash, strengthen, create, adapt and maintain capacity over time. It includes institutional development and puts emphasis on the functioning of the overall system, environment and context within which individuals, organisations and societies operate and interact.



Achieving local development objectives often requires working across a number of different policy areas to achieve effective local strategies. Taking an integrated approach in the design, implementation and evaluation of local economic and employment development strategies and policies requires high standards of skills and abilities and implies a long-term, continuous, interactive and partnership process in which local development actors (ministries, local authorities, social economy organisations, professional and business organisations, academics and civil society) actively participate.

Thus, at a time when human resources are so much at the heart of economic growth, enhancing understanding of local and global economic conditions by policy-makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders may allow better responses by localities to the opportunities and threats experienced in a knowledge-based economy. This can be achieved by: 

  • Establishing common strategic objectives;
  • Managing policy conflicts and trade-offs;
  • Co-ordinating labour market policy with economic development beyond the fulfilment of short-term political and business needs;
  • Avoiding skills gaps and deficiencies in the local productive systems; and
  • Ensuring that social inclusion strategies are integral parts of wider economic objectives.



Capacity development activities implemented by the OECD LEED Trento Centre include specialised seminars and workshops, thematic conferences and policy assessment through “active reviews”. Capacity development is delivered in the design, implementation and evaluation of local economic and employment development strategies and related policy issues. It is addressed to policy-makers, practitioners and other relevant stakeholders in OECD member and non-member countries. Capacity development seminars and conferences are organised at the Trento Centre in Italy on the LEED Programme’s themes of expertise. On specific request, they can be organised in partner countries.

Capacity development seminars can last from one to five days, gathering between 15 to 60 delegates. The working method is a peer-to-peer learning process that addresses delegate’s needs and expectations, using a wide range of tools, such as theoretical elements, workshops and group work, study visits and dedicated meetings with socio-economic and governmental actors, as well as the facilitation of partnership and networking opportunities.

The Trento Centre also supplements capacity development seminars with “active reviews” which helps to identify the needs and priorities for policy improvement, as well as capacity and skills gaps, of participating countries and localities, allowing tailor-made responses to needs to be offered. “Active reviews” are country or place policy reviews with a duration of between three to nine months. They include SWOT analysis, self-assessment of current practice against criteria lists, comparison with selected international good practice, tailored policy recommendations, action plans, on-the-ground seminars, and online compendiums allowing for a wider dissemination of findings. Findings from active reviews are also presented in Trento Centre’s seminar and conference activities.