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2012-05-15 | Report

Swedish Bilateral Support to Environmental Capacity Development – Overview of Key Results and Lessons Learned

Slunge, Daniel. 2012. “Swedish Bilateral Support to Environmental Capacity Development – Overview of Key Results and Lessons Learned”
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Recent assessment reports emphasise that the impacts of climate change and escalating environmental degradation risk becoming key constraints to economic growth and poverty reduction in many poor countries (e.g. World Bank, 2010; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). While various global, regional and national commitments to
address environmental problems do exist, the institutions and governance structures to address environmental problems and adapt to the impacts of climate change are typically very weak in many developing countries. There is consequently a growing recognition of the need to strengthen the capacity to manage natural capital and critical ecosystem services in order to ensure development results.

The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness reflects a new consensus on capacity development as a fundamentally endogenous process where developing countries need to be in the driving seat. This creates particular challenges for environmental capacity development, which has been particularly project oriented and supply driven. Additional challenges for environmental capacity development include the strong need for cross-sector coordination, that environmental ministries and agencies are young and particularly weak and the low demand for improved environmental management among many developing country governments. The growing attention to climate change has raised attention to the need for national policy coordination led from the highest political and organisational levels. This may provide a window of opportunity for developing stronger environmental management capacity more broadly. 

Against this background, there is a need to take stock of the experiences and lessons learned from environmental capacity development. This study focuses on experiences and lessons learned from Swedish support to environmental capacity development. The study was commissioned by Sida and fed into Sida’s results analysis for 2009, which had a particular focus on environmental and climate change issues. It also served as a background document for the development of a new Swedish policy for the environment and climate change in development cooperation.


Coauthored by Emelie César