Our approach to capacity development
The Division’s capacity development activities advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SAMOA Pathway and other internationally agreed development goals, guided by the outcomes of United Nations intergovernmental bodies on the three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental.
Capacity building activities are also aimed at strengthening and maintaining the capabilities of states and societies to design and implement strategies that minimize the negative impacts of current social, economic and environmental crises and emerging challenges. As a cross-cutting entry point, capacity building activities promote the integration of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs into national sustainable development planning frameworks, sharing lessons learned and good practices through workshops and related events.
The Division’s activities also connect the 2030 Agenda and other internationally agreed development goals with selected sectoral areas, among them, sustainable energy, water and sanitation, oceans and blue economy, regions and cities, disaster risk reduction, science and technology, and promotion of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Activities seek to promote cross-cutting approaches and value of stakeholder engagement in planning and decision-making.
Demand-driven capacity development activities are delivered in conjunction with partners, including our two project offices away from the Headquarters (UNOSD and UNCRD ) as well as UN regional commissions, other UN entities, and UN resident coordinators’ offices. Target countries include those interested in follow-up to their Voluntary National Reviews, as well as countries in special situations, especially LDCs and SIDS. Activities are funded from the Regular Programme for Technical Cooperation (RPTC), Development Account, and various extra-budgetary sources, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub-Fund of the United Nations Peace and Development Trust Fund.
The 2030 Agenda and capacity-building
The 2030 Agenda recognizes that capacity-building forms part of the means of implementation for the SDGs (paragraph 41). Each SDG contains targets relating to means of implementation, including capacity- building. Moreover, SDG 17, which covers means of implementation and the global partnership for sustainable development, contains target 17.9which aims to: "Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries to support national plans to implement all the sustainable development goals, including through North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation”.
Capacity building for 2030 Agenda implementing – what we do
Support governments and stakeholders to strengthen the contribution of micro-, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, etc.
Strengthen the capacity of countries to integrate the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs into national development plans and sustainable development strategies. Use is made of practical tools and peer learning to facilitate implementation.
- Promote multi-stakeholder and participatory approaches through the provision of both workshops and online training courses.
- Support governments and stakeholders to monitor and develop effective partnerships for the SDGs.
Countries interested in capacity development support are invited to visit our contact form and select "Capacity development support" under the category of your message.
Capacity-building: Historical context
Capacity-building has long been recognized as one of the means of implementation for the achievement of sustainable development. This is reflected in the outcome documents and action plans adopted by major international conferences on sustainable development. Agenda 21, adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, addresses capacity-building in its Chapter 37. Decisions relating to capacity-building were taken by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development at its fourth (1996), fifth (1997) and sixth (1998) sessions and by the United Nations General Assembly at its Special Session to review the implementation of Agenda 21 (1997). The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI), adopted at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development also recognized the importance of capacity-building for the achievement of sustainable development. Similarly, the outcome document of the Rio +20 Conference, the Future We Want, emphasized the need for enhanced capacity-building for sustainable-development and for the strengthening of technical and scientific cooperation. In the context of small island developing states, capacity- building is also recognized as a key issue in the 2014 SAMOA Pathway for a wide range of areas, such as climate change, sustainable energy, ocean sustainability, management of chemicals and waste as well as financing.