Sector strategies

The AAA commits developing countries to the integration of CD within national sector and thematic policies and strategies as a matter of priority.

Capacity development strategies and objectives should be an integral part of partner country national, sector and thematic policies and strategies, rather than treated as stand-alone or as an add-on. An increasing number of developing countries and donors have adopted sector wide approaches that integrate capacity development within country policies and strategies in specific sectors. One of the major challenges currently being faced relates to the definition of clear and measurable capacity development objectives to be included in supported country strategies, so as to make capacity development an explicit policy priority.

The sector level provides a particularly suitable context for embedding capacity development:

  • Theory meets practice. The sector level provides an appropriate level to bring together conceptual ideas from the top with operational realities and dilemmas that emerge from the bottom.
  • Encouraging a country-owned agenda. The sector level offers the opportunity for CD strategies to become an integral part of a sector development strategy. It can help country partners take ownership of capacity development, no longer treated as something separate that donors do to help, but something that is an integral part of the sector development process for which local stakeholders need to take charge.
  • Helping to harmonise and align external support.  It provides a potential framework around which the role of development partners in supporting a country-led CD strategy can be discussed in more concrete terms both in relation to “what” and “how” questions, and especially in relation to the possible contribution of TC.
  • Promoting Dialogue and Learning. The process of preparing a CD strategy is as important as the product that emerges. This is because it encourages stakeholders to engage in discussion about capacity issues and in the process to confront sometimes divergent notions and views on what is important. It can help generate a common language that makes the shift away from sometimes symbolic reference to CD.
  • Multi-actor engagement. It is at the sector and thematic level that different actors and stakeholders including government both central and local, private sector actors, civil society can meet to address concrete policy questions and implementation challenges.
  • Leadership and resources.  It is at the sector level where most development resources are budgeted, planned and delivered, and where CD champions can play an important role in influencing the allocation of adequate resources.

This series of Perspective Notes was prepared by a professional drafting team assembled by the OECD/DAC and LenCD. The team included James Hradsky, Nils Boesen, Anthony Land, Heather Baser, Silvia Guizzardi and Mia Sorgenfrei. Anthony Land led in drafting this Perspectives Note on Sector Capacity Development, which subsequently benefitted from comments from the rest of the team, from peer review by Abby Riddell, and a wider electronic vetting process through the LenCD global network. All comments from those involved that have helped contribute to a sound paper are acknowledged with thanks.

These Perspectives Notes do not reflect an official position of either the OECD/DAC or LenCD. The many contributors may not endorse every viewpoint in the note and they bear no responsibility for any remaining errors or omissions.

The Key Resources section was compiled by Anthony Land in 2009.