Promoting Best Practices

Promoting Best Practices - Sharing Innovative Experiences




Toxicology lab


Soil research
Soil research


International Workshop in Trieste, Italy, 10-13 October 2006

Capacity Building for Sustainable Development


In 2000, world leaders agreed a set of targets, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), designed to meet the needs of the world's poorest people. To obtain these goals, developing countries must build their human resource and infrastructural capacity – with assistance from richer countries and the international community – in science, in healthcare, in engineering and industrial production, in energy production and distribution and many other fields.

However, it is becoming clear that many countries will not meet the targets for sustainable development set out in the MDGs. In 2004, for example, the UN reported that, to meet the goal for reducing by half the number of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015 – an estimated 1.1 billion people – would need 270,000 new connections to be made each day. In this instance, part of the problem is that there are just not enough trained scientists, technicians and managers working in the sector. In other words, a critical mass of capacity has yet to be created in the water industry in many developing countries and, unit this capacity is in place, countries will struggle to provide their people with safe drinking water and will fail to meet this particular MDG.

There are, however, many examples where capacity has been built with the result that sustainable development has been enhanced and steps have been taken toward achieving the MDG targets.

At this point in time, there is an urgent need to document these successful "Capacity Building for Sustainable Development" initiatives and to share them with others in the South so that their methodologies and the lessons learned from them can be replicated elsewhere. TWNSO, therefore, has entered into collaboration with TWAS, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, the United Nations Development Programme's special unit for South-South Cooperation (UNDP-SSC) and the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) to undertake such an exercise.

The project consists of three parts:

(1) Institutions and organizations interested in participating should submit a proposal abstract (word document Document A) outlining their case study. Based on these submissions, an advisory board will select those case studies considered most appropriate. Case studies that (i) provide insights into the process of capacity development, (ii) detail indicators of success, or (iii) highlight how building capacity has benefited different levels of society (individuals, networks, government institutions etc.) will be given preference.

(2) Selected participants will then be invited to prepare a full-length case study report (based on word document Document B) that will serve as the basis for discussions at an international workshop on "Capacity Building for Sustainable Development" that will take place in Trieste, Italy, on 10-13 October.

(3) Following the workshop, the case studies will be published in the "Sharing Innovative Experiences" series of books produced by TWAS, TWNSO and UNDP-SSC, which are distributed free of charge throughout the South. The book, which will contain examples of projects that have successfully built capacity and that can demonstrate the effects of improved capacity on sustainable development, will be distributed throughout the developing world. The book will thus provide a series of "best practices", presented in non-technical language, which can be referred to by decision makers interested in replicating successful experiences.



Completed proposals (word document Document A) should be sent to (Fax: +39 040 2240 689) by 15 July 2006 31 July 2006.

These submissions will then be screened and approximately 20 candidates will be asked to prepare full-length reports detailing their successful experience (based on word document Document B). Drafts of these reports will be due by 15 September 2006.

Project sponsors will cover the costs of transportation and lodging for one representative from each institution selected to attend the workshop in Trieste, scheduled for 10-13 October 2006.