Governance and development

Capacity Development: Encouraging good practice


Donors invest an estimated 25% of total ODA annually in capacity building - an essential ingredient for sustainable solutions. Yet several studies have found that initiatives such as training are failing to do the job properly. Our work on capacity development draws on best practice to establish common principles and works with DCD's various teams to ensure that capacity building is integrated as effectively as possible in development programmes.


Assisting the implementation of capacity development priorities in the Accra Agenda for Action

Outlined in the Accra Agenda for Action, capacity development is a primary objective for development co-operation policies and strategies in both developed and developing countries. However, many have experienced difficulties in rendering the concept operational in the field.


The initiative on capacity development aims to:

  • consolidate and disseminate evidence and learning on existing capacity development approaches and good practice
  • support donors, partner countries and other interested parties to shape and use a common agenda of priority capacity development actions

The overarching objective of this capacity development learning efforts is to promote joint South-North strategic shifts from:

  • Joint learning to concrete joint behavior change
  • Donor leadership to partner country ownership of capacity development processes
  • Headquarters policy to country implementation of capacity development principles and good practices.

Supporting capacity development: Taking stock and advancing donors' agendas

The DAC Secretariat has been collaborating with member countries and relevant partners toward a more co-ordinated effort in capacity development, with the primary objective of helping to implement the capacity development priorities of the Accra Agenda for Action through the next High Level Forum in 2011. To do so, the DAC Secretariat has developed the following projects:


Supporting technical cooperation reform for more effective support to capacity development on the road to Busan

The current aid effectiveness agenda on the road to HLF4 in Busan offers an exceptional opportunity to help build a South-North consensus on ways to successfully reform technical cooperation to make it more effective in supporting capacity development. OECD is working with its partners in the South and the North to promote such reforms and disseminate good practice in TC.


Read more


Cairo Workshop on Capacity Development – “From Concepts to Implementation”
Cairo, Egypt, 28-29 March 2011

The Cairo Workshop on Capacity Development constituted a landmark on the road to the Fourth High Level Forum (HLF-4) in Busan. It contributed a more pragmatic approach to institutional and human resource development by brining policy makers and senior practitioners from South and North together to examine how to move ahead. The workshop generated a Cairo Consensus to be carried forward to Busan.

Prior to the event, a synthesis report was drafted by experienced practitioners and under the guidance of a Southern High Level Group to consolidate lessons learnt on capacity development. It offered an evidence-based framework for the workshop discussions.

The workshop was hosted by the Government of Egypt, with the support of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), and the Capacity Development Alliance. » Read more

synthesis report: Capacity Development: Lessons Learned and Actions for Busan and Beyond (pdf, 2 MB)

Cairo Consensus (pdf, 174 kB)

Capacity development in aid business processes: Getting it right!

29-30 November 2010, OECD Conference Centre

Donor and Southern countries, multilateral organisations and civil society gathered to address the challenge of making capacity development operational. This meeting marked a key step in a joint effort to review lessons and indentify key technical and political messages on capacity development. Efforts will continue in the lead-up to Busan and beyond.

Egypt and the CD Alliance will co-host a follow-up meeting on 28-29 March 2011 with the support of the OECD, LenCD and Japan.


Capacity Development in Aid Business Processes: Getting it Right! (Issues Brief)

Donor capacity development innovation

A series of Issues Briefs explores donor capacity development reform, providing up-to-date information on donor efforts, key initiatives and innovations to support capacity development in partner countries. Each brief provides a concise overview of an individual donor’s capacity development policies and practices.


Australia (pdf, 815 kB)

The European Commission (pdf, 648 kB)

Inventory of current donor practice and approaches to capacity development

In March 2009, we completed an inventory of current donor practices and approaches to capacity development. Updated in May 2010, our inventory provides initial input on priority joint actions within the donor community.

Download (pdf, 916 kB)


Perspective Notes: On the road to Busan

In November 2011, progress on the implementation of the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action takes center stage at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. The Working Party on Aid Effectiveness (WP-EFF) leads the effort to take stock of progress made by donors and partner countries in the implementation of joint commitments. To complement this effort, we are co-operating with LenCD and the CD Alliance to reflect on specific capacity development commitments and implications of the Paris Declaration and the AAA. A set of technical “Perspective Notes” is a key input to that process.
These Perspectives Notes will:

  • review the current state of play
  • provide key messages for Busan - and effort led by a CD Alliance coalition
  • set an agenda for technical work post-Busan

The drafts of these notes will be available on LenCD's website.

For comments on these notes, please write to


Please click here to see a list of our key documents and publications for each priority area related to capacity development, as listed in the Accra Agenda for Action.


Related Documents


Capacity development


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