Road to Busan

Busan HLF4 thematic session: “Capacity Development: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward”

Several members of the Learning Network collaborated to organise a thematic panel discussion “Capacity Development: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward” at HLF4 in Busan. The session brought together ministers and practitioners from all over the world.  We heard inspiring stories from Cambodia, Rwanda, Korea and Kenya, among others.  All testified to the importance of results-focused capacity development in their successful change processes.  In Africa, progress is being made towards concrete CD actions, with the region having developed the Capacity Development Strategic Framework (CDSF) as a policy guiding tool.

The session highlighted this consensus and put forward three concrete post-Busan actions that we wish to carry forward:

  • Result-focused transformational capacity development should be a key  focus of the country-led plans and actions for development effectiveness—The commitment should pay due attention to the building of effective institutions.
  • The strengthening of country systems and institutions within the context of national capacity development strategies linked to overall development plans. In this regard, the necessity to mainstream/integrate capacity development in all sectors and programs.
  • The need for a more systematic approach to capture and share knowledge on capacity development based on country priorities.  We propose that this becomes the focus of our work going forward, using existing national and regional platforms as well as networks to shape  the global knowledge architecture.

In Busan, we have heard over and over that capacity development is not just an add-on, an afterthought, but requires an engaged political leadership to put capacity development at the center of country-led development priorities. Now let’s take some concrete steps to make this happen.

For more details, please see our report from the session.

Capacity results: Case stories on capacity development and sustainable results

Capacity development is at the core of development; it has to do with political processes and cultural and societal changes. These processes produce long-lasting transformation, but they are also long-term and very complex in nature. While results from these processes manifest themselves at different levels and at different times, development actors in countries and in development organisations face challenges with capturing them. The results frameworks that are widely adopted in development practice are most often founded on ‘hard’ results (i.e. number of schools built, water wells dug, roads constructed). However, such results frameworks have usually proven to be unsuitable to capture results deriving from longer and more complex processes of capacity development, such as nurturing inclusive ownership, accountability and change in organizational performance.

Against the backdrop of this discussion about sustainable results, capacity development and results frameworks, we are pleased to share with you the LenCD publication: CAPACITY → RESULTS: Case stories on capacity development and development results (PDF 2 MB)

The LenCD publication ‘CAPACITY → RESULTS’ is a collection of stories that showcase how endogenous investments in capacity development have led, over time, to produce short, medium and long-term sustainable results. These stories tell how investments in leadership capacity, coalitions for change, knowledge and skills and other capacity assets, have led, over time, to better performing public institutions, communities and civil society organizations; and how these, in turn, have contributed to better health services and outcomes, economic policies and other sustainable development results that have benefited the people. This publication is the results of the collaboration of LenCD partners, representing more than thirty organisations, including government institutions, bilateral and multilateral organizations, and non-governmental and civil society organizations.  

These stories provide evidence in support of the joint statement on results and capacity development, which was developed earlier this year through a consultation process with members of the network. The joint statement stresses that meaningful, sustainable results are premised on proper investments in capacity development and that these results materialize at different levels and at different times, along countries’ development trajectory.

We would like to thank our partners who have contributed with their powerful stories on investments in capacity development; Stella Mugabo, from the Rwandan Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat, for having shared the capacity development experience of Rwanda in the foreword; and IBON Foundation, for having led and shared the cost of the production of this publication.

E-Poster on Leadership, Coalitions for Change and Results

The Knowledge and Innovation Space at Busan is an open area at the heart of the Forum where innovative ideas, tools, and initiatives will be showcased. We have prepared an “e-poster” or electronic slide show which will be displayed on screens throughout the area, highlighting the importance of national leadership and coalitions for change to develop local capacities and achieve sustainable development results.

Building Block proposal post-Busan

The preparation for Busan has put capacity development high on the political agenda, reflecting that many developing countries see capacity development as critical for both aid and development effectiveness.  The central issue is operationalize the principles that have already been broadly agreed.  A proposal is now under development to create a partnership in the form of a Capacity Development Compact to take forward work on putting country-driven, results-focused capacity development into practice through innovative tools and exchanging knowledge on what works.  An initial draft concept document for this initiative has been developed.