NATIONAL MECHANISMS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FOR CAPACITY-BUILDING
NOTE: This is a final, advanced version of a chapter of Agenda 21, as adopted by the Plenary in Rio de Janeiro, on June 14, 1992. This document will be further edited, translated into the official languages, and published by the United Nations for the General Assembly.
37.1 The ability of a country to follow sustainable development paths is determined to a large extent by the capacity of its people and its institutions as well as by its ecological and geographical conditions. Specifically, capacity-building encompasses the country's human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities. A fundamental goal of capacity-building is to enhance the ability to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among development options, based on an understanding of environmental potentials and limits and of needs as perceived by the people of the country concerned. As a result, the need to strengthen national capacities is shared by all countries.
37.2 Building endogenous capacity to implement Agenda 21 will require the efforts of the countries themselves in partnership with relevant United Nations organizations, as well as with developed countries. The international community at the national, subregional and regional levels, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, universities and research centres, and business and other private institutions and organizations could also assist in these efforts. It is essential for individual countries to identify priorities and determine the means for building capacity and capability to implement Agenda 21, taking into account their environmental and economic needs. Skills, knowledge and technical know-how at the individual and institutional levels are necessary for institution-building, policy analysis and development management, including the assessment of alternative courses of action with a view to enhancing access to and transfer of technology and promoting economic development. Technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how, encompasses the whole range of activities to develop or strengthen individual and group capacities and capabilities. It should serve the purpose of long-term capacity-building and needs to be managed and coordinated by the countries themselves. Technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how, is effective only when it is derived from and related to a country's own strategies and priorities on environment and development and when development agencies and Governments define improved and consistent policies and procedures to support this process.
37.3 The overall objectives of endogenous capacity-building in this programme area are to develop and improve national and related subregional and regional capacities and capabilities for sustainable development, with the involvement of the non-governmental sectors. The programme should assist by:
Build a national consensus and formulate capacity-building strategies for implementing Agenda 21
37.5 As an important aspect of overall planning, each country should seek internal consensus at all levels of society on policies and programmes needed for short- and long-term capacity-building to implement its Agenda 21 programme. This consensus should result from a participatory dialogue of relevant interest groups and lead to an identification of skill gaps, institutional capacities and capabilities, technological and scientific requirements and resource needs to enhance environmental knowledge and administration to integrate environment and development. The United Nations Development Programme in partnership with relevant specialized agencies and other international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations could assist, upon request of Governments, in the identification of the requirements for technical cooperation including those related to technology transfer and know-how and development assistance for the implementation of Agenda 21. The national planning process together, where appropriate, with national sustainable development action plans or strategies should provide the framework for such cooperation and assistance. The United Nations Development Programme should use and further improve its network of field offices and its broad mandate to assist, using its experience in the field of technical cooperation for facilitating capacity-building at the country and regional levels and making full use of the expertise of other bodies, in particular the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Bank and regional commissions and development banks, as well as relevant international intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
Identify national sources and present requests for technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how in the framework of sector strategies
37.6 Countries desiring arrangements for technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how, with international organizations and donor institutions should formulate requests in the framework of long-term sector or subsector capacity-building strategies. Strategies should, as appropriate, address policy adjustments to be implemented, budgetary issues, cooperation and coordination among institutions, human resource requirements, and technology and scientific equipment requirements. They should cover public and private sector needs and consider strengthening scientific training and educational and research programmes, including such training in the developed countries and the strengthening of centres of excellence in developing countries. Countries could designate and strengthen a central unit to organize and coordinate technical cooperation, linking it with the priority-setting and resource allocation process.
Establish a review mechanism of technical cooperation in and related to technology transfer and know-how
37.7 Donors and recipients, the organizations and institutions of the United Nations system, and international public and private organizations should review the development of the cooperation process as it relates to technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how activities linked to sustainable development. To facilitate this process, the Secretary-General could undertake, taking into account work carried out by the United Nations Development Programme and other organizations in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, consultations with developing countries, regional organizations, organizations and institutions of the United Nations system, including regional commissions, and multilateral and bilateral aid and environment agencies, with a view to further strengthening the endogenous capacities of countries and improving technical cooperation, including that related to the technology transfer and know-how process. The following aspects should be reviewed:
Enhance the expertise and collective contribution of the United Nations system for capacity- and capability-building initiatives
37.8 Organizations, organs, bodies and institutions of the United Nations system, together with other international and regional organizations and the public and private sectors, could, as appropriate, strengthen their joint activities in technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how, in order to address linked environment and development issues and to promote coherence and consistency of action. Organizations could assist and reinforce countries, particularly least developed countries, upon request, on matters relating to national environmental and developmental policies, human resource development and fielding of experts, legislation, natural resources and environmental data.
37.9 The United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and regional multilateral development banks, as part of their participation in national and regional coordination mechanisms, should assist in facilitating capacity- and capability-building at the country level, drawing upon the special expertise and operational capacity of the United Nations Environment Programme in the environmental field as well as of the specialized agencies, organizations of the United Nations system and regional and subregional organizations in their respective areas of competence. For this purpose the United Nations Development Programme should mobilize funding for capacity and capability-building, utilizing its network of field offices and its broad mandate and experience in the field of technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how. The United Nations Development Programme, together with these international organizations, should at the same time continue to develop consultative processes to enhance mobilization and coordination of funds from the international community for capacity and capability-building, including the establishment of an appropriate database. These responsibilities may need to be accompanied by strengthening of the United Nations Development Programme's own capacities.
37.10 The national entity in charge of technical cooperation, with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme resident representatives and the United Nations Environment Programme representatives, should establish a small group of key actors to steer the process, giving priority to the country's own strategies and priorities. The experience gained through existing planning exercises such as the national reports for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, national conservation strategies and environment action plans should be fully used and incorporated into a country-driven, participatory and sustainable development strategy. This should be complemented with information networks and consultations with donor organizations in order to improve coordination, as well as access to the existing body of scientific and technical knowledge and information available in institutions elsewhere.
Harmonize the delivery of assistance at the regional level
37.11 At the regional level, existing organizations should consider the desirability of improved regional and subregional consultative processes and round-table meetings to facilitate the exchange of data, information and experience in the implementation of Agenda 21. The United Nations Development Programme, building on the results of the regional surveys on capacity-building that those regional organizations carried out on the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development initiative, and in collaboration with existing regional, subregional or national organizations with potential for regional coordination, should provide a significant input for this purpose. The relevant national unit should establish a steering mechanism. A periodic review mechanism should be established among the countries of the region with the assistance of the appropriate relevant regional organizations and the participation of development banks, bilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organizations. Other possibilities are to develop national and regional research and training facilities building on existing regional and subregional institutions.
Means of implementation
(a) Financing and costs
37.12 The cost of bilateral expenditures to developing countries for technical cooperation, including that related to technology transfer and know-how, is about $15 billion, or about 25 per cent of total official development assistance. The implementation of Agenda 21 will require a more effective use of these funds and additional funding in key areas.
37.13 The Conference Secretariat has estimated the average total anual cost (1993-2000) of implementing the activities of this chapter to be between $300 million and $1 billion from the international community on grant or concessional terms. These are indicative and order of magnitude estimates only and have not been reviewed by governments. Actual costs and financial terms, including any that are non-concessional, will depend upon, inter alia, the specific strategies and programmes governments decide upon for implementation.
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