May 2013

Invitations to participate

LenCD General Assembly: learning about institutional reform

LenCD’s General Assembly will take place in Brussels on 20 and 21 June.  The first day will be a learning day on the theme of institutional reform.  Planned presentations and workshops include:

  • Pathways to institutional reform: key initiatives in change management and evidence of successes and failures
  • Tool kits for change management and capacity development
  • Civil society leading reform through capacity development
  • Institutional reform lessons and research findings from various countries
  • Joint Learning Journey presentation

Additional sessions are still to be confirmed and a fully detailed programme will be announced shortly.

The second day will focus on LenCD "business" such as assessing progress, planning for the future, and discussing collaboration with the Effective Institutions Platform and other partners.

Attendance has been confirmed from UNDP, WBI, ACBF, GIZ, DFID, OECD, FAO, NEPAD, and other organisations.

All members of the LenCD network and others interested in capacity development and institutional reform are very welcome to participate.  Please visit for more information or contact Lawrencia Adams ( to join the meeting.

How can aid be best used to address governance constraints in public service delivery?

The Effective Institutions Platform brings together development actors to explore ways  to support governance and institutional development in developing countries.  The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) recently carried out research examining how aid programmes can most effectively support government efforts to address governance constraints in public service delivery.  A public meeting will take place at ODI in June to discuss the findings so far:

ODI is now planning to take this work forward and carry out a joint learning process with members of the Effective Institutions Platform. This will include examining a wider range of aid programmes in more detail; discussing and validating findings with participating organizations and developing recommendations on how external support can best be used for promoting institutional change; and feeding these recommendations back into the Effective Institutions Platform.  If you are interested in participating in this joint learning process please contact Heidi Tavakoli ( and Helen Tilley (

Network news

African Community of Practice on Managing for Development Results meeting report

In December 2012, a hundred delegates from across Africa and beyond met in Tunis to set up an African Platform for Results and launch a new framework for action to mainstream Managing for Development Results (MfDR).  One major outcome was the Tunis Declaration on the African Platform for Results, which commits networks and capacity building centers to partner together in exchanging knowledge products and conducting joint work, and to embrace and implement the Africa Knowledge for Results (AfriK4R) initiative. The complete report of the meeting was issued on 30 April.

CD insights: selected case stories, research, and shared experience

New thinking on technical assistance to resolve knowledge and capacity gaps

There is a wide and diverse literature on technical assistance, much of which refers to addressing knowledge and capacity gaps in lower- and middle-income countries. This report identifies some novel or emerging approaches which appear to move away from traditional approaches that commonly centre on short-term filling of capacity gaps and being primarily donor-driven.

Emerging approaches tend to emphasise empowerment and leadership by the beneficiary country, use of their country systems, and exchange of experiences as peers. There is a greater focus on longer term impacts and sustainability, and greater involvement of Southern countries as providers of skills. As these newer approaches have only been implemented quite recently there is generally a lack of rigorous evaluation material that assesses their impact. Beyond enhancing knowledge and skills, as traditional approaches have done, these newer approaches have also improved implementation know-how, raised awareness, enhanced networks and strengthened coalitions.

Triangular co-operation for government capacity development in South Sudan

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Regional Capacity Enhancement initiative provides about 200 civil servant support officers (CSSOs) from neighbouring countries to South Sudan where they are twinned with counterparts across a range of ministries and sectors to rapidly develop core government capacity in a coaching and mentoring scheme. The initiative is promising as a new and potentially innovative model of triangular cooperation for capacity development for four reasons. Firstly, it provides a model of large-scale support to rapid capacity development in core government functions. Secondly, the use of regional capacity to a certain degree mitigates the potential for resentment when external experts are brought into capacity-poor environments. Thirdly, the programme already shows some evidence of impact on core practices. Finally, there seems to be strong ownership of the programme at central levels of the South Sudanese government and among many of the twins.

Toothless but Forceful: Slovenia's Anti-Corruption Watchdog Exposes Systemic Graft

When Slovenia became independent from Yugoslavia in 1991, the Central European country rapidly transitioned to free-market democracy, with strong institutions and low levels of graft. In 2004, the government established the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption to demonstrate its commitment to good governance during the application process for European Union membership. However, the new watchdog body, which had no official enforcement powers, soon faced deeper challenges than it was equipped to handle. It found that political and business leaders had colluded to profit from Slovenia’s prolonged and underregulated privatization process, undermining the economy and diminishing public trust. Leveraging its moral authority and limited powers, the commission undertook investigations and released advisory opinions that spotlighted public corruption and the systemic flaws that enabled it. By outfoxing political opposition and developing innovative uses for its investigative powers, the commission and its partner institutions helped spark a nationwide anti-corruption movement. (Report and summary from Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies programme.)

Cleaning House: Croatia Mops Up High-Level Corruption

Conflict, cronyism, and a flawed privatization process damaged Croatia’s international image during its first decade of independence from Yugoslavia. After a change in government in 2000, a parliamentary consensus formed around the pursuit of European integration, but the European Union demanded real progress in tackling corruption, echoing citizen concerns. In response, the Croatian government created a specialized prosecution service called USKOK, the Bureau for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime, to work in concert with other anti-corruption institutions. At first under-resourced and ineffective, USKOK grew in authority and stature after 2005, aided by new legal powers and new leadership. By building capacity and institutional partnerships at home and abroad, USKOK rose to be one of Croatia’s most-trusted government institutions. This case study describes how USKOK’s leadership built capacity, public trust, and sustainability under pressure. (Report and summary from Princeton University’s Innovations for Successful Societies programme.)