UNDP’s Strategic Plan (2008 – 2013) defines capacity development as the overarching UNDP contribution, and the principles of national ownership, effective aid management and South-South Cooperation guide UNDP’s interventions. The Strategic Plan and the 2008 regionalization framework articulate the corporate requirement to bring timely and effective substantive and technical services to UNDP country offices through a strengthened practice architecture at global, regional and country levels. The UNDP practice architecture serves as a framework for better organizing UNDP to provide consistent policy advisory services, more relevant and substantive policy knowledge and better linking of policy, programming, and capacity development. The value of the practice architecture lies in its comprehensive structure to solidify UNDP and its staff into global knowledge teams that ensure coherence, consistency, alignment and quality assurance in the way UNDP delivers services to development partners and programme countries, as well as internally.
UNDP’s capacity development approach focuses on working closely with United Nations entities, as well as with global, regional and national partners to support development efforts through: i) design and implementation of capacity development strategies; ii) costing of capacity development strategies; iii) capacity assessments; and iv) monitoring and evaluation of capacity development. The broad objective of this approach is to scale up national and local capacities for more sustainable and integrated development results to address the Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals.
On aid, effective development cooperation & beyond: Both the demand for international cooperation and the supply (of experiences, knowledge etc.) are changing. New forms of cooperation have emerged such as South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation that reflect the dynamic development of some countries, the changing relations between different countries and actors, their specific interests in each other and, based on these interests, new demands for interaction, exchange and cooperation.
UNDP’s Global Project on Capacity Development for aid effectiveness provides, upon demand, support to capacity development for effective development cooperation to over 90 programme countries worldwide. The global project is managed by UNDP’s aid effectiveness team in the Bureau for Development Policy, Capacity Development Group (BDP/CDG) and builds on UNDP’s track record in the area of promoting aid effectiveness. It seeks to scale up support to programme countries’ capacities to receive, manage and use aid as one of the instruments at their disposal to achieve their development objectives. Through its universal presence and facilitation potential UNDP supports developing countries in regional and global dialogues on ODA issues, particularly through the promotion of South-South and peer learning and mutual support.
The project strategy is based on four guiding principles, both underpinned by capacity development and knowledge generation, namely: upholding and supporting country ownership and leadership of the development process and the management of aid for development results; demand driven approach to service provision; sustainability and cost-effectiveness of a results-based approach to capacity development for aid coordination and management; strengthening partnerships and peer learning.
On the importance of strengthening country systems & national implementation capacities: Decades of development experience show that when donors consistently bypass country systems the sustainability of their efforts is undermined, as is the recipient country's ability to manage their own future. The benefits of disbursing aid through country systems include: building capacity to manage development resources and creating more sustainable development programmes. For these reasons, in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, donors have committed to use country systems and procedures to the maximum extent possible. However, monitoring these commitments over the past years has shown that while developing countries have broadly stepped up in their commitments to strengthen national systems, progress by part of development assistance providers is still lagging behind.
In an environment of increasing development budgets, the cost of inefficient implementation wastes funds and hampers the achievement of development objectives. In this regard, strong national implementation capacities, including those to perform operational and administrative functions required to execute programmes and projects, become crucial in successfully delivering results.
The UNDP project “National Implementation Capacities” is an effort to provide UN country teams and development partners with pragmatic capabilities to support the development of national-level capacities in two key implementation areas: project management and procurement. These capabilities will take the form of policies, advisory materials, tools, and techniques that will be applied at the field level, focusing on capacity development strategies for national and sub-national organisations.