Governance Capacity
and its Development

 Country Office

 A Workshop for UNDP Country Offices

 Management Development and Governance Division,
United Nations Development Programme, New York
1997. (Revised 1999)


Table of Contents

Overview: Introduction and Objectives


In 1995, The Management Development and Governance Division (MGDG) of UNDP in New York, in cooperation with the Training Section of Personnel and in consultation with the concerned Regional Bureaus, started a training programme in governance, focused mainly on public sector management. This initiative was in response to the Administrator's call for a strengthening of UNDP's substantive capacity in priority areas. The target for this training was national and international country staff, but a number of government counterparts also participated. During 1995, four regional and subregional workshops took place, covering interested countries in Asia and Africa.

The workshops, which were well received, represented a first step in a long-term program to strengthen UNDP's capacity to deal competently with governance issues, capacity development and management of change. The MDGD commissioned the development of a follow-up training module with a view to consolidate at the country level what has been started at the regional level. This training module was piloted in Bangladesh in May 1997 and modified on the basis of the pilot, to make it more effective in meeting UNDP country office needs. The latest version gives effect to the mainstreaming of human rights in UNDP programming.

The workshop on Capacity Development for Governance is offered on basis of a request from countries where major change initiatives are either ongoing or under consideration. It aims at creating a shared understanding of governance and capacity development as key challenges in development cooperation, and at supporting UNDP operations for more effective governance capacity programming.

Objectives of the workshop

The workshop aims to improve UNDP country office effectiveness in capacity development programming for governance. At the end of this workshop, UNDP officers and, where appropriate, relevant representatives from government, NGOs and the academic community will have:

discussed and assessed UNDP's approach to programming in the area of capacity development for governance and human rights

increased their skills in analyzing existing capacity, in developing strategies for change and enhancement using process consultation

assessed the existing (or planned) UNDP country governance programme against characteristics of effective capacity development programming, and identified steps to improve its effectiveness.

Workshop Design

The workshop is divided into six modules that build on each other to reach general workshop objectives. The modules may also be selected and combined to meet UNDP Country Office more specific needs. Specific country content and issues are woven into all of the modules, with increasing precision and a greater operational application as the workshop progresses. The modules deal with the following general topics:

1. Understanding governance.
2. Capacity development—what it is and how to assess capacity needs.
3. Capacity development for the human rights system.
4. Managing UNDP-country governance programmes.
5. Appraising programmes—criteria and tools for appraising UNDP governance capacity development programmes
6. Answering: "Where do we go from here? —Action-planning.

The modules apply several interactive approaches to learning. They include:

Tailoring the Workshop to Country Needs

This modular training design and supporting documentation for facilitators and participants are offered to UNDP Country Offices as a basis for addressing operational challenges in capacity development, governance and the management of change. While some of the governance and capacity development issues faced by national governments are similar throughout the world, Country Offices will likely face quite varied challenges and will also be at different stages in programme design or implementation. A generic training module obviously cannot address all of the specific issues faced in a given country context.

It can however, if properly targeted and well prepared, help to create new, shared understandings about governance, capacity development and strategies for effective change. It can also contribute to assessing UNDP country strategy and programmes, and obtaining some consensus on how to improve its effectiveness. The potential impact of the workshop will largely depend on the relevance of the workshop to the country situation, on appropriate selection of participants and on the quality of the team of facilitators that guide the learning process.

A most significant intended output of the workshop is the participants’ report appraising the present state of government and UNDP programmes for governance capacity development and recommending on steps for their enhancement. For the workshop to have its full impact, it is important that:

  1. there are prior discussions with the Country Office about the matters which are currently of concern and on which attention should be focused;

  2. there is a plan for a Country Office review of the report of the Country Office team on what has been learned at the workshop and its implications for the Country Office;

  3. materials relevant to the understanding of the present situation—especially documentation on current or proposed programmes—are made available and that time is taken to prepare for their use in the workshop.

Because Country Offices will be at different stages of programming, and have needs specific to their country context, this training module has been designed so that facilitators can pick and choose from modules to suit the target audience and objectives in relation to the country situation. Tailoring the workshop to the country has benefits - the workshop will likely be more effective in meeting the specific country office’s operational needs.

Country offices are encouraged to make clear their perception of needs and expectations and the background to these so that facilitators can tailor the workshop to meet them. Three broad categories of country situations catered for with objectives and audiences generally appropriate for each have been foreseen in designing the workshop:

Country Situation



1. A coherent UNDP governance strategy and programme are not yet embarked on.
  1. Professionalize UNDP officers.
  2. Answer the question: "Where do we go from here?" (3 days)
UNDP officers responsible for governance program-ming & those whose pro-grammes have/could have governance implications; UNDP Res. Rep.
2. There is no government commitment to UNDP support in governance.
  1. High level dialogue (1/2 to I day).
  2. Gain commitment to a programme and/or continued dialogue.
Senior government officials, UNDP Res. Mission Rep. & key programme officers (well- respected, thoughtful individuals, academics, etc.) Possibly other donors operating in the country.
  • There is an on-going governance project, portfolio or programme:

    UNDP officers need to strengthen their capacity to manage change.

    Need for dialogue & shared understanding of change strategies with national counter-parts and other key stakeholders.
  1. Strengthen capacity of UNDP staff to manage the change process.

Answer: "How to increase UNDP effectiveness?" & "Where do we go from here?"

Develop a common under-standing of issues & change strategies between UNDP officers and their national counterparts.

Answer: "where do we go from here"?

UNDP country officers responsible for governance programmes and others whose programmes (envir-onment, gender, livelihood, etc) have governance implications:

  • UNDP Res. Rep; relevant resource persons.

  • UNDP country officers and their national counterparts - UNDP Res. Rep.; other relevant stake-holders: government officers, NGOs, academics.

The suggested duration of the workshop is three days, except for the high level seminar which could be of one half to one day’s duration. Given the amount of ground to be covered, Country Offices are encouraged to clearly identify whether their main objective is:

Experience has shown that trying to achieve both is difficult, given the time available. Having said this, it is possible to envisage a workshop with two parts: a first part bringing together UNDP officers and national counterparts to explore issues of governance capacity development and strategies for change, reserving a second part for UNDP officers (last full day) to review UNDP's strategy for improving the effectiveness of its operations.

For greater impact, the number of participants should not exceed twenty-four. Ideally, the group would be of twenty persons or less, to allow for participation and dialogue. Where the country office wishes to broaden participation beyond UNDP officers, priority for participation should go to key current or potential partners in UNDP-supported projects, and to thoughtful individuals who may make a contribution either to the understanding of governance issues in the country or to the development of effective strategies for dealing with them. Experience has shown that it is highly desirable that the Resident Representative participates in the workshop, especially in the final review sessions.

Please take time to reflect on the above when completing the Application for Support from MDGD (to be found at the end of this Guide).








Getting started:

  • expectations
  • workshop programme
  • objectives for the day

Getting started:

  • review of Day 1
  • objectives for the day

Getting started:

  • review of Day 2
  • objectives for the day

Module 1:

Understanding governance

  • exploring concepts: meaning of governance & nature of governance systems
  • key challenges for governance capacity development

Module 3:

Capacity development for the human rights system

  • human rights tasks
  • obligations
  • institutions
  • capacities

Module 5:

Programme appraisal

  • appraising existing or proposed programme & change process management







Module 2:

Governance capacity and its development

  • what it is
  • how to assess needs
  • identifying capacity gaps & capacity development objectives of the country

Module 4:

Managing capacity development

  • managing change
  • building change management capacity
  • the sequence of change steps
  • strategies for change
  • process consultation vs. expert-led change

Module 6:

Where do we go from here?

  • putting it all together: review & consensus on issues to be addressed
  • implications for action

Documenting the process and results of the workshop

It is assumed that provision will be made for writing a workshop report and a debriefing in the country office, as well as for follow-up as is called for. A workshop report may serve to capture workshop consensus on key issues and/or to guide action after the workshop. The workshop may point out a need for a review of the country office strategy, workplans, procedures or activities. It will be important that the country office be prepared to undertake such a review.

Country offices are at liberty to decide the fonnat and manner in which their final report will be developed. Some may want to follow the common practice of selecting one or two individuals who will be responsible for documenting workshop activities and their outputs, asking the facilitators to summafize objectives, process and outcomes of each activities. Others may consider a more collaborative effort in which key participant report infonnafion is combined with the facilitator's process observations in a workshop report approved by participants at the end of the workshop. Evaluation results (an evaluation questionnaire is provided in the workshop materials) offer a valuable source of insights and suggestions that should be fully tapped. Whatever the form, it is important that the purpose of the report be thought through before the workshop and that it is written with its ultimate use in mind.

Administration and Logistics

Roles and Responsibilities

Tailoring the workshop requires that a UNDP Country Office senior manager and/or programme officer take responsibility for:

  1. Planning the workshop, including :

  2. Participating in debriefing meetings:

3. Disseminating and ensuring follow-up to the workshop report with the UNDP Resident Mission Representative, UNDP officers, and other relevant persons as deemed appropriate.

MDGD in New York can assist by:

Terms of Reference for the Workshop Facilitator

The role of facilitators is to assist participants' learning and to ensure they achieve

Workshop objectives. They are expected to:

  1. Undertake workshop preparation, more specifically:
  1. Manage the learning process during the workshop, that is:
  1. Monitor the learning process and ensure it moves participants toward expected outcomes, through formal and informal assessment techniques and instruments.

  2. Participate in debriefing meetings with the UNDP Country Office throughout the workshop and make adjustments to the program on the basis of their feedback.

  3. Participate in and/or facilitate writing and discussion of the workshop report.

Detailed guidelines for each of the modules follow. Each module specifies objectives, time allocation, recommended approach, questions and materials. Review them carefully, rehearsing the flow in your mind. Whatever adjustments you decide to make, ensure that the process is progressive and exciting. Learning is a journey, not a series of discrete activities to be rearranged at will. Ensure that the design will take participants from where they are to where they may not have imagined they could go. Strive to finish the workshop with energized participants who have gained new ideas and a determination to act accordingly. Good luck!

Terms of Reference for a Resource Person

The workshop may be supported by a content expert, generally someone from the country or from the region who can speak knowledgeably about governance and capacity development issues and how they have been addressed in the country and elsewhere. The main responsibilities of this person will be to:

Location and Floor Plan

It is highly desirable that the workshop be residential if at all possible, or reasonably distant from office distractions. It will also be important to select a location that has rooms with the following characteristics:

The floor plan for the room(s) should be as close as possible to the following:

Equipment and Materials

Arrange where possible to have available, on site, the following:

Administrative support during the workshop

Where possible, it will be useful to plan to have administrative support available on location for the following tasks:

Timeline for Planning

Eight weeks before the workshop

Country Office holds discussions to identify needs and expectations for the workshop—objectives, target groups, and possible duration. Then:

Six weeks before the workshop:

Four weeks before the workshop:

2-4 Weeks before the workshop:

Three to four working days before the workshop

· MDGD and Country Office agree modalities of the workshop, including budget, location, administrative arrangements.

· MDGD and Country Office search for appropriate national and international resource persons and contract them

· MGDG sends all materials to Country Office

Timeline for Planning

Participants will be provided with a Participant’s Workbook, which includes essential workshop materials—copies of slides, reference notes and tools. The slides and accompanying notes cannot be designed to suit all country specific contexts. It is up to the facilitators to use and modify them as is most appropriate to the situation presented. Given the short time devoted to this workshop and the complexity of the issues, participants will be requested to read background materials in preparation for the workshop and will be given access to additional reference documents for further reading if they are interested in learning more. Participants will gain more from the workshop to the extent that they are prepared to put in some time and energy to do some background and supplementary readings.

The package provided by MDGD includes one copy of each of the documents identified below. Participants should receive, in addition to their Participant’s Workbook, a copy of the documents identified below with a (*), as well as any relevant case materials they may require (see list at the end of this section). It is the responsibility of the Country Office to reproduce and/or make the other documents available to participants on a request basis. All materials provided in support of this workshop should be displayed on a table at the workshop so that participants may consult them.

On Governance:

Governance for sustainable human development – A UNDP policy document January 1997 (*)

Reconceptualizing Governance – Discussion paper 2, Management Development and Governance Division, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP January 1997 (*)

Public Sector Management, Governance and Sustainable Human Development – A discussion Paper. UNDP (MDGD), January 1995

Participatory Development and Good Governance, Development Cooperation Guidelines Series, Development assistance Committee of the OECD, 1995

Governance – The World Bank’s Experience, World Bank 1994

Supplementary Readings:

Workshop on Governance for Sustainable Human Development, UNDP (MDGD) Workshop report, New York 24-26 April 1996

Good Government Assessment Methodology. Note by the Delegation of the United Kingdom – ad Hoc Working Group on Participatory Development and Good Governance. December 1995

On Capacity Development and Participatory Development

Capacity Assessment and Development, UNDP 1998

Capacity Development, UNDP 1997

Institutionalizing Participatory Approaches to Development: Experiences with UNDP, Paper presented to the Inter-Agency Learning Group on Participation, New York September 17-18, 1996

UNDP and Organizations of Civil Society – Building Sustainable Partnerships. Strategy Paper presented to and endorsed by the Strategy and Management Committee of the UNDP, Nov 1993

Donor Organizations and Participatory Development, UNDP, January 1995 (*)

The View from the Field and an Analysis and Mid-Term Evaluation, UNDP, June 1994 (*)

Supplementary readings:

Civil Service Reforms: learning from Commonwealth experiences, Mohan Kaul, 1996.

Supporting Democratic Local Governance: Lessons from International Donor Experience – Initial Concepts and some Preliminary Findings, Harry Blair, 19996 (draft)

On Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

Integrating Human Rights with Sustainable Human Development. A UNDP Policy Document, 1998

The Right to an Adequate Standard of Living: Including Adequate Food and Housing. Clarence J. Dias, 1998

UNDP Programming Support Documents

Process Consultation-Systemic Improvement of Public Sector Management, UNDP MDGD (*)

How to Implement the Programme Approach, A User’s Guide (*)

Options for UNDP Execution Arrangements (*)

Country-Level Programming (TRAC Lines 1.1.1 and 1.1.2) (*)

UNDP Capacity Development Assessment Guidelines (*)

International Case Studies and Documents

Some case study materials and documents produced from country experiences in various countries may be made available as useful supplementary documentation of change strategies presented in policy and other references materials in this package. Such materials may include:

UNDP’s Support to Democratic Decentralization in Nepal (a ten years study of evolution of UNDP programming strategy in support of governance).

UNDP LIFE Programme in Thailand (an example of linkages between governance innovations and sustainable human devlopment, and of UNDP working with NGOs and local authorities).

Good Governance – Chapter 1 of the 1st National Long Term Perspective (NLTPS) Workshop in Malawi (an example of a Vision 2020 exercise bringing together individuals from government, academia, NGOs on the kind of governance system they would like to have in their country).

Capacity Development – Parliament of Georgia. A Technical Assistance Program – Draft for Discussion. (example of a programme document for UNDP support developed by a working group of the Parliament of Georgia)

Beng-Huat Chua. "Towards a non-liberal communitarian ideology" in Communitarian ideology and democracy in Singapore. Routledge, 1995

Leonard Joy and Tord Palmlund. "Managing the change process in a complex world" in Governance Innovations – Lessons from Experience. Published by the Canada-ASEAN Governance Innovations Network, 1997 (examples of UNDP interventions in China, Georgia, Mongolia and Thailand).

Case Materials from the Country Office

The workshop is expected to rely heavily on programme documents from the country office as the main UNDP documents to work with. Other useful materials may include government plans and documents re: reform strategies, priorities and programmes. Such material will be listed in the course of the workshop.

Submission of this form serves to signify interest on the part of a UNDP Country Office to hold a Workshop on Governance Capacity and its Development with the support of the Management Development and Governance Division of UNDP in New York. It is understood that MDGD can support country offices by providing training materials and support documentation, and help to identify an international facilitator where necessary.

Working with the designated resource persons, it is the responsibility of the UNDP Country Office to ensure that the workshop is tailored to meet its needs. (This implies communicating and meeting with facilitators in preparation for the workshop.) The Country Office is responsible for all logistical and administrative arrangements and expenses, as well as fees of local consultants.

Please answer the questions below and send them to MDGD eight weeks before the Workshop. This will help MDGD provide you with the most appropriate support, and in a timely fashion.

1. UNDP Country Office in ---------- - --------

Please elaborate:

5. What tentative dates would you propose to hold this workshop?

6.What is the preferred language for the workshop and workshop materials? (circle one)

a Spanish

o Arabic

0 Provide administrative and secretarial support during the workshop

8.What assistance do you require from MDGD? (circle most appropriate)

Please specify.




Telephone number.

Fax number.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this form. Someone from MDGD will contact you as soon as yout request has been received.

- Workshop -

Governance Capacity and its Development

Country Office Application for Support from MDGD

Submission of this form serves to signify interest on the part of a UNDP Country Office to hold a Workshop on Governance Capacity and its Development with the support of the Management Development and Governance Division of UNDP in New York. It is understood that MDGD can support country offices by providing training materials and support documentation, and help to identify an international facilitator where necessary.

Working with the designated resource persons, it is the responsibility of the UNDP Country Office to ensure that the workshop is tailored to meet its needs. (This implies communicating and meeting with facilitators in preparation for the workshop.) The Country Office is responsible for all logistical and administrative arrangements and expenses, as well as fees of local consultants.

Please answer the questions below and send them to MDGD eight weeks before the Workshop. This will help MDGD provide you with the most appropriate support, and in a timely fashion.


1. UNDP Country Office in (country)………………………………………

2.Does your Country Office currently have a programme or projects in governance? Please identify these and state their stage of programming.

3.What important needs might this workshop address in order to help the Country Office be more effective (check needs)?

Please elaborate:

4. What tentative dates would you propose for this workshop?

5.What is the preferred language for the workshop and workshop materials? (check one)

6.What can your office do for itself? (check where appropriate and ensure you have a budget)

7.What assistance do you require from MDGD? (check as needed)

Please specify.

8.Who will be the person from the Country Office responsible for this workshop in collaboration with the facilitator?




Telephone number:

Fax number:

Thank you for taking the time to complete this form. Someone from MDGD will contact you as soon as your request has been received.