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National Node of the BCH
Capacity Building Activities, Projects and Opportunities
Record information and status
Record ID
Date of creation
2003-09-23 15:07 UTC (yyoshimura@worldbank.org)
Date of last update
2010-01-25 10:51 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)
Date of publication
2010-01-25 10:51 UTC (intern.ross.carroll@cbd.int)

General information
Title of the initiative
GEF's Capacity Development Initiative (CDI)
Contact person
Mr Avani Vaish
Capacity Development Manager
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
1818 H Street N.W.Washington DC 20433USA
Beneficiary country(ies)
  • Global
Type of initiative
Main target group(s) / beneficiaries
  • Target group: Government agencies
Start Date
Ending date
Donor(s) information
Agency(ies) or Organization(s) implementing or sponsoring the initiative (Additional Information)
  • Organization: GEF Secretariat and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Type of Organization: UN Agency
Budget information
Global Environment Facility
Availability of funds for participants
Activity details
Description of the initiative
In May, 1999, the GEF Council approved the Capacity Development Initiative (CDI) as a strategic partnership between the GEF Secretariat and UNDP, for the preparation of a comprehensive approach for developing the capacities needed at the country level to meet the challenges of global environmental action.

The CDI was launched in January 2000, as an 18 month consultative, planning process and implemented in two phases:

1) assessment of capacity building needs at a broad level and activities of the GEF and other multilateral/bilateral institutions in the field of capacity building

2) the formulation of elements of strategic collaboration and a framework for GEF action to meet capacity building needs in a comprehensive manner.

The assessment phase of the CDI produced nine reports, outline above. These reports form the foundation on which a strategy for collaboration and a framework for GEF action are built.

The assessment phase was made as widely consultative and participatory as possible. Apart from the inputs invited from individuals, experts and institutions for purposes of regional assessments, consultations with Governments on the findings of the regional assessments were organized at Cairo, Beijing, Prague, and Rio de Janeiro, at the kind invitation of each host Government. A separate consultation with SIDS representatives was held in Samoa. Opportunities offered by CBD, UNFCCC and CCD meetings were used to present findings and obtain inputs from the Parties to the Conventions. NGO inputs were invited at the planning stage of the assessment phase, during the regional assessments, and during the regional consultations.

In the "Strategic Collaboration and Framework for GEF Action" phase, a joint team of the GEF Secretariat and UNDP, in active consultation with the Steering Committee, developed elements of strategic collaboration to support action on global environmental issues (referred to as "Strategic Elements") and a framework for GEF action (hereinafter referred to as the "Framework"). Inputs on the Strategic Elements and the Framework were obtained through consultations with policy level Government officials at regional meetings held at Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, Buenos Aires and Nicosia (for SIDS) at the kind invitation of the host Governments concerned. The Strategic Elements and the Framework were shared with the Parties to the CBD during a subsidiary body meeting in Montreal in March 2001, and the OECD task force on global environment conventions, also in March 2001. As before, NGO inputs have been sought during various stages of the effort.

The extensive consultative process during the second phase of the CDI was made possible by the generous financial support of the Government of Finland. The Strategic Elements and the Framework were submitted to the Council for Council's consideration and approval. Once approved, they will be presented to the Parties to the Conventions for their information and feedback.

National level activities
Human-resources development
Institutional strengthening
Scientific, technical and institutional collaboration

Regional level activities
Regional collaborative initiatives

International level activities
Objective and main expected outcomes or lesson learned
To compile and assess capacity development needs
To develop a strategy to meet identified needs and action plans for the GEF

Preparation of a comprehensive approach of countries' capacity building needs to meet the challenges of global environmental action.

Main outcomes
The CDI produced nine reports (available on the GEF website: http://www.gefweb.org), including:

* Four reports on regional assessments for Africa, Asia/Pacific, East Europe and Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean
* An assessment of the special needs of SIDS
* An assessment of scientific and technical capacity building needs
* An analysis of capacity building through acitivities regular GEF projects
* A study of the capacity building efforts of other multilateral and bilateral institutions, and
* A compilation of decisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) concerning capacity development).

Lessons learned
Lessons learned from the international development cooperation community as to the conditions necessary for effective capacity development interventions (see: http://www.gefweb.org/Documents/Enabling_Activity_Projects/CDI/CD_Efforts.pdf):

1) A high degree of political commitment and leadership in support of capacity development, consistently sustained over time is critical.

2) A well-structured assessment of capacity needs and priorities by local experts is necessary.  It is useful for both donors and recipient countries.

3) Facilitating ownership right from the start is critical for achieving effective and sustainable results.

4) Capacity-building initiatives are often more successful when they recognize and build on existing strengths, knowledge and experience within countries.
5) Capacity-building is more effective if the partners constraints and limitations are well understood and appreciated.

6) It is important to have capacity-building initiatives that are realistic and down to earth rather than theoretical or idealistic ones.

7) A clear definition and division of roles and responsibilities is important.

8) Accountability of all parties and transparency in the planning and decision-making processes can contribute significant to the success.

9) An iterative approach, which relies on effective monitoring, continuous feedback and adjustment to new evolving realities, enhances chances of success.
General thematic area(s)
  • Institutional capacity
  • Human resources capacity development and training
  • Scientific, technical and institutional collaboration at subregional, regional and international levels
Additional Information
Other relevant website address or attached documents