DESA Presents Updated Capacity Building Approach
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DESA representatives presented the new capacity development delivery model at an event with the UNGA Second Committee.

With an annual budget of US$50 million, DESA is streamlining the way it delivers capacity development support, including by using well-tested tools and applying them in pilot countries, in collaboration with strategic partners.

29 November 2017: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has updated its approach to capacity building for UN Member States to support the realization of the SDGs. DESA describes its “new vision” as enabling Member States to “adopt an integrated, transformative, people-centered approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the AAAA that leaves no one behind.”

Representatives presented the “capacity development delivery model” at an event with the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee (Economic and Financial), on 29 November 2017. The model is also described in a three-page document. According to the document, three key goals will guide DESA’s efforts to build Member States’ capacities: advance coherent, evidence-based policy and planning frameworks for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda; build effective and accountable national institutions for inclusive and participatory decision-making processes to support sustainable development; and strengthen national technical capacities to mobilize the means of implementation (MOI) for the 2030 Agenda.

DESA plans to support national efforts in five areas: policy coherence, including by training government officials in tools to analyze trade-offs and synergies across policy areas; social integration and inclusion of vulnerable groups, including by assisting national stakeholders in collecting data; competent institutions and integrated, inclusive approaches, including by assisting national stakeholders to use ICT and e-government solutions for public service delivery; evidence-based policy, including by building capacities in data and modernizing national statistical systems; and MOI, including by strengthening domestic resource mobilization systems such as taxation, and multilateral financing mechanisms for sustainable forest management.

DESA notes that its annual budget is about US$50 million, and it is streamlining the way it delivers capacity development support, including by using well-tested tools and applying them in pilot countries, in collaboration with strategic partners. Such partners can also help to disseminate and scale up successes in other countries. DESA notes that its partnerships are established in line with the UN Development Group (UNDG) principles of system-wide coherence and delivering as one.

The new approach draws on “a more realistic view” of DESA’s expertise and resources.

The side event to the Second Committee’s session took place on 27 November 2017, in New York, US, organized by DESA’s Capacity Development Office. In background information for the event, DESA notes that it has “adopted a new approach” to make its capacity development work more coherent, and to ensure this work feeds back into the Department’s analytical and normative work. The new approach also draws on “a more realistic view” of DESA’s expertise, resources and comparative advantage.

Addressing participants at the side event, Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the approach aims to ensure that DESA’s three functions (normative, analytical and capacity development) are mutually reinforcing. He also stressed that “open and transparent communication is essential to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and collaboration.” Thomas Gass, DESA, said that without capacity development, the SDGs cannot be realized. [Side Event Concept Note] [Event Page] [DESA News] [Capacity Development Delivery Model Overview] [Map of current projects]

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