Supporting the implementation of the "Technical Cooperation for Enhanced Capacity Development" component of the "EU Operational Framework on Aid Effectiveness"

Gwénaëlle Corre
European Commission
Year of publication: 

This study assesses EU members' approaches to technical cooperation and capacity development.  Key messages emerging from the report are:

1. The international agenda on Aid Effectiveness is a favourable opportunity for setting capacity development as a priority. Capacity is both the means to deliver sustainable results, as well as a goal in itself.

2. Further explore an enhanced coordination of EU Member States approaches with the EC approach, into a possible European Union common set of principles on capacity development & technical cooperation

3. Capacity development faces several important challenges: ownership is not a given fact; multiple stakeholders are involved; contextual factors influence its outcomes. In other words, there is a certain degree of complexity in all Capacity Development processes that should be managed to reach effective results.

4. There is a need for a pragmatic approach, moving from rhetoric to practice: internal procedures would need to be adapted in areas which are critical to capacity development such as internal competencies, alignment, flexible planning, focus on learning, etc.

5. A tension exists between results orientation and process support: the pressure to deliver fast measurable results is not conducive to an engagement in capacity development processes. In the end, capacity development is both a means to produce results, and a strategic priority.

6. There is a need for an increased use of knowledge sharing and collaborative tools: Capacity development is highly contextualised, therefore centralised decision making and blueprints should be balanced by grassroots and practitioners knowledge and information sharing.

The report is available from:

An interview with the author is available from the Capacity4Dev web site: