Identifying Capacity-Building and Technical Assistance Needs

About This Opportunity

The Paris Agreement and the first Global Stocktake recognize that capacity-building for developing countries is important for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. Some countries may also require technical assistance at various stages of the NDC process. Identifying needs in this area enables a flow of support towards developing countries, and therefore supports the implementation of NDCs (and ultimately achievement of the goals).

The following strategies could help to implement this Opportunity:

Systematically assessing capacity-building needs across relevant institutions and actors:

Capacity-building needs assessments are most useful when country-driven, inclusive processes in which stakeholder engagement plays a prominent role. A comprehensive toolkit has been developed by the Paris Committee on Capacity-building (PCCB) to serve as a resource for developing country officials and their implementing partners in the assessment of relevant capacity needs, and in the determination of gaps, to implement the Paris Agreement. When assessing needs it is useful to be clear on which gaps are most important/impactful, and where priorities lie (e.g., which sectors and/or topics, and for which actors). To provide clarity on gaps and priorities, data and information can be collected (in line with the planned needs assessment process), including interviews, focus groups, workshops, and other stakeholder engagement opportunities. When assessing capacity at the individual level, it may be helpful to consider methodologies that target this specific level, such as the IUCN’s Capacity Needs Assessment Process (IUCN). Data and information captured can be both qualitative and quantitative. Scoring capacity gaps and needs quantitatively is a useful way to prioritize which are the most important issues to address. Many organizations have developed scorecards or tracking tools to assist this type of scoring; for example, “UNDP’s Capacity Assessment Framework, as part of its Supporting Tool.”

Embedding monitoring, evaluation and learning into capacity-building activities:

Considering monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems to measure effectiveness of capacity-building activities, with clear definition of indicators. Monitoring and evaluation plans can be helpful in monitoring progress of capacity-building actions implemented, and enable progress to be tracked, impacts to be evaluated and adjustments to be made to ensure the intended capacity needs are met. Identifying and measuring success can validate that the resources used, from government and donors were used effectively, which can in turn help gather additional resources. Monitor capacity-building actions through identifying relevant indicators to assess capacity before, during and after capacity-building activities. An assessment using these indicators could be made at multiple points following the inception of capacity-building activities to track how well capacity is maintained. UNDP provides guidance on the development of indicators based on its Capacity Assessment Framework. The “GEF’s Capacity Development Tracking Tools and Indicators” gives further information and suggestions for indicators to track capacity-building activities.

Considering capacity-building and skills outside of government:

Many countries are experiencing a persistent gap between the capacity and skills needed in the labor market in order to deliver on climate objectives, and those offered by the workforce. Skills anticipation is a strategic and systematic process through which labor market actors identify and prepare to meet future skills needs, thus helping to avoid potential gaps between skills demand and supply. A skills anticipation strategy enables training providers, young people, policy-makers, employers and workers to make better educational and training choices, and through institutional mechanisms and information resources leads to improved use of skills and human capital development. Assessments would then need to be complemented by the provision of skills through training. Considering the wider capacity and skills needs beyond government and the technical assistance or systems needed to facilitate this can therefore be useful. For resources exploring the skills needed within the workforce to support implementation of the NDC, see Skills for the future of work (ILO).

Country Examples

The Dominican Republic has used the Capacity Assessment Tool for Climate Action Transparency (CAT4CAT) to assess capacity needs. CAT4CAT was designed as a structured tool to recognize and assess the capacity-building needs of relevant stakeholders for undertaking in-country M&E of climate change adaptation. The key objectives of this tool are to understand the current institutional capacity for undertaking MRV of climate actions, determine existing gaps in organizational capacity, and identify possible strategies and interventions to strengthen relevant capacity. The tool was used across six organizations, to assess capacity relating to goals & strategies, systems & infrastructure, human resources, and organizational assets. For human resources, the categories included staffing levels, technical skills for M&E, knowledge, and expertise on climate change, and access to capacity-building. The assessment found that most of the organizations are facing challenges relating to human resources, followed by systems and infrastructure. Specific actions relating to each of the capacity gaps were identified. (Source: “Capacity Needs Assessment in the Dominican Republic,” UNFCCC).

Indonesia established a robust assessment process to determine its needs and gaps related to climate change. Indonesia’s capacity gaps and needs assessment framework process has five steps (1) Mobilization and capacity assessment design: covers the mobilization of resources, such as funding, expertise, and the work plan that covers objectives, framework, methodology, and the scope of work. (2) Capacity gap assessment: identifies the gaps from the existing and expected capacity analysis, and also the conditions and priorities of national development and related capacity issues. (3) Needs and feasibility of capacity-building assessment: this assessment will result in capacity-building needs including technology based on the results of gaps assessment and feasibility study. Consider feasibility to ensure recommendations can be realistically implemented. (4) Capacity-building policy and strategy formulation: this stage ensures coherence by ensuring relevant findings feed into the development of policies and strategies on mitigation and adaptation at the national level. (5) Setting capacity-building and technology action plan: national capacity-building and technology action plans are developed to deliver on national capacity-building priorities. (Source: Indonesia’s capacity gaps and needs assessment framework, UNFCCC).

Further Resources

The following resources can provide further support for identification of capacity-building needs in NDCs.

Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB) Toolkit (UNFCCC, 2022)
This toolkit from the Paris Committee on Capacity Building supports the efforts of countries to identify and address their capacity needs and gaps. The toolkit provides an overview of a capacity assessment cycle as well as complementary resources including case studies, tools, best practice, and lessons learned to guide the assessment process that enables countries to identify appropriate steps to strengthen their national capacities to address climate change.

Capacity Assessment Tool for Climate Action Transparency (CAT4CAT), (UNFCCC, 2019)
The Capacity Assessment Tool for Climate Action Transparency (CAT4CAT) has been designed as a structured tool that can be used to recognize and assess the capacity-building needs of relevant stakeholders for undertaking in-country MRV of climate change adaptation.

IUCN’s Capacity Needs Assessment Process (IUCN, 2009)
This document provides a staged approach to developing and undertaking a capacity needs assessment process, which is both structured and logical, but also flexible to country needs.

UNDP’s Capacity Assessment Framework and Supporting Tool (UNDP, 2015)
This document provides UNDP and other development practitioners with an overview of UNDP’s approach to Capacity Development and Capacity Assessment and a systematic guide to conducting a capacity assessment using UNDP’s “default” capacity assessment framework and Supporting Tool.

The GEF’s Capacity Development Tracking Tool and Capacity Development Indicators (GEF, 2015)
This document proposes an approach to monitoring and evaluation in such a way that supports the integration of capacity development into program and project design, as well as provides a framework for the use of capacity development indicators to establish baselines and monitor progress made. These indicators are intended to be flexible enough so that they can be tailored to specific programs and projects.

Skills for the future of work (ILO)
This page includes links to resources on Skills for Trade and Economic Diversification (STED); Skills anticipation and matching; Skills mismatches; Skills for a greener future; Skills for digital transformation; Big Data for skills anticipation and matching; Skills and COVID-19 pandemic.

How This Links to Other Routes

This Opportunity links to several other routes. Navigate to these to read more:

Route: Aligned to the Paris Agreement Temperature Goal

Effective capacity-building and technical assistance can support the successful implementation of mitigation action, by ensuring countries possess the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to drive transformational change.

Route: Aligned to Paris Agreement Global Goal on Adaptation

Effective capacity-building and technical assistance can support the successful implementation of adaptation action, by ensuring countries possess the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to drive transformational change.

Route: Mobilizes All-Of-Government and All-Of-Society

Sector stakeholders are particularly useful to engage in the needs identification process, as they have a good understanding of capacity-building and technical assistance needs, limitations, and challenges in their sectors.

Route: Delivers a Just and Equitable Transition

Capacity-building and technical assistance activities can support improved knowledge and skills for a range of stakeholders, ensuring that “no one is left behind” in the economic transition process.

Additional Opportunities

The following Opportunities are a non-exhaustive set of options for enhancing identification and support needs for NDC and wider climate change processes in countries.

Identification of financial needs is also highly relevant to this Route, but is discussed in greater detail under Route: Unlocks Finance.

Support Opportunities

Support is available to countries to apply the learning from the navigator and develop ambitious NDCs 3.0.

Share Additional Resources

Contribute new guidance, tools and strategies to be reflected in the NDC 3.0.