A Southern-led partnership on capacity development
Capacity development has been increasingly in the spotlight of international development debate – and is now seen as central to aid effectiveness as clearly articulated in the September 2008 Accra Agenda for Action (AAA). Following Accra, a group of committed participants from partner countries came together and launched the CD Alliance – a Southern-led partnership forum for partner country political leaders to discuss capacity priorities and challenges as articulated in the AAA (See DACNews December 2008).
Since Accra, the CD Alliance has now been taking shape
Under the leadership of co-chairs Talaat Abdel-Malek (Egypt) and Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven (Germany), the CD Alliance has assembled an impressive membership for its Core Group. It currently includes 14 senior policy makers from partner countries, donor agencies and key multilateral institutions engaged in capacity development.
The Alliance is actively seeking linkages with key partners. A partnership has been already established with the DAC and the Learning Network for Capacity Development (LenCD). The Alliance will have strong ties with the WP-EFF, given the role of Dr. Abdel-Malek as Co-chair of that group. Also, WP-EFF Co-chair Koos Richelle and member Ikfumi Tomimoto (who also will serve as capacity development facilitator in the Executive Committee) simultaneously are members of the CD Alliance Core Group. Networking is underway with other relevant institutions and initiatives such as NEPAD, the African Capacity Building Foundation and the recently established Capacity Development Facility for Development Effectiveness (CDDE) in Asia and the Pacific.
A strong consensus emerged at the CD Alliance meeting
The CD Alliance held its first official meeting in Berlin on 11-12 May 2009, to discuss an “action-oriented and realistic” work plan for 2009-2010. Participants shared their experiences and conveyed their perspectives in terms of priority areas for immediate focus. Contributions from partner counties, donors, and assistance providers showed clear similarities in areas of interest and concerns:
Traditional, donor-driven forms of interventions do not work – capacity development must be demand-driven, Southern-led and fully integrated into national and sector programmes. Action focus should be at the country level.
In line with the AAA, priority areas for action will include: adjusting CD interventions to fragile situations; strengthening country systems; integration of CD at the sector level; strategies to strengthen capacities outside the public sector (civil society, NGO networks and private sector).
Experience sharing and peer-to-peer learning among partner countries is fundamental. The CD Alliance can play a crucial role in providing a forum for South-South cooperation and exchange. In general, donors and partner countries alike call for enhancing the effectiveness of technical cooperation and promoting South-South and triangular cooperation.
With time and resources limited, the CD Alliance should choose carefully two o r three key areas to focus on during the upcoming year. Priority should be given to action and substance - procedures must be kept as simple and flexible as possible.
The CD Alliance, donors and other assistance providers must work together to enhance synergies and avoid duplications across work streams.
Immediate actions and the way forward
At the Berlin meeting, a series of immediate key actions were identified. The CD Alliance will seek to expand membership to enhance regional representation and become more inclusive of the broader spectrum of partner countries. It also will improve its communication strategy – including the introduction of a user-friendly web site. Core Group members from partner countries will identify specific opportunities for priority CD action in their respective countries, sub-regions, or regions, and will identify local or national capacity development champions - senior policy makers that have shown strong commitment to capacity development. At the request of the Co-chairs, the OECD agreed to continue its role as transitional secretariat until the Alliance can establish its own support structure in the coming months.
Over the medium term, the final draft of the 2009-2010 work plan and budget for the CD alliance is expected by July 2009, at which time financial support from donors will be explored. The CD Alliance-DAC-LenCD partnership will continue to develop the details of its operational relationship. One collective action this year will be the launching of a CD learning platform in Africa, which will focus on joining up existing practitioner learning around the AAA capacity development themes. Linkages and synergies with other initiatives such as CDDE, NEPAD, and ACBF will be promoted.
For more information see the Summary Record (pdf, 167 kB) of this meeting.
The CD Alliance