Correspondent: Gilberto Algar-Faria
Host: University of Bristol
Location: Bristol, UK
Date: 14 May 2018
The workshop on the EU and local capacity building took place on 14 May 2018 in Bristol, UK. The event was attended by participants from the academic community, civil society, international organisations and representatives from the private sector.
The workshop opened with an introduction to the University of Bristol’s Global Insecurities Centre from Prof Timothy Edmunds, followed by an overview of the EU-CIVCAP project delivered by Ana E. Juncos. These welcome talks were followed by two panels, at which the final or preliminary findings of three deliverables (DLs 6.1, 6.2 and 6.3), focusing on different aspects of capacity building under Work Package 6, were presented and discussed.
The workshop on the EU and local capacity building took place on 14 May 2018 in Bristol, UK. The event was attended by participants from the academic community, civil society, international organisations and representatives from the private sector. The workshop opened with an introduction to the University of Bristol’s Global Insecurities Centre from Prof Timothy Edmunds, followed by an overview of the EU-CIVCAP project delivered by Ana E. Juncos. These welcome talks were followed by two panels, at which the final or preliminary findings of three deliverables studying different aspects of capacity building under Work Package 6 were presented and discussed.
The first panel, entitled ‘Assessing capacity building in the Western Balkans and the Horn of Africa’, was chaired by Timothy Edmunds of the University of Bristol. During this panel, Ana E. Juncos (also of the University of Bristol) presented the final version of DL 6.1 ‘Evaluating international efforts on local capacity building’, which was published in May 2017. Based on fieldwork in the Western Balkans and the Horn of Africa, this Deliverable found that:
- An understanding of the local context is vital to successful capacity building;
- As such, a top-down or ‘cookie cutter’ approach to capacity building will be ineffective;
- Donor funding commitments must match the ambition of projects and strategies;
- Spending on ‘hard’ capacity building (i.e. equipment and infrastructure that has longevity) will be most valued by local actors; and
- International actors should avoid referring to ‘political will’ and instead consider the real political problems that must be faced in any capacity building situation.
The Deliverable received comments from the audience and particularly from the Discussants Stephen Pritchard (International Alert), Gunnar Eichholz (EULEX Kosovo), and Matthew Jackson (EU-CIVCAP Advisory Board). The panel also provided an opportunity for the discussion of the final draft version of DL 6.2 ‘Evaluating international efforts on local capacity building’. Gilberto Algar-Faria presented the Deliverable’s premise, findings and lessons identified and took comments from the Discussants and audience members for consideration prior to the final submission of the report.
The second panel, ‘Local ownership in capacity building’, considered a single Deliverable currently in draft form and due for submission in late 2018: DL 6.3 ‘Report on best practices in local capacity building’. This panel was chaired by Ana E. Juncos. The paper was delivered by Ryerson Christie (University of Bristol), who introduced each case study covered by the Deliverable in turn, highlighting challenges, lessons and best practices identified from each. This was the first presentation of DL 6.3. Best practices identified in the report included the promotion of inter-ethnic dialogue and the use of focus group discussions to facilitate learning about local needs in capacity building. The draft Deliverable’s main findings were that:
- Context matters, in that there are differences in local capacity, societal divisions and timescales which are specific to each local context;
- NGOs are a pathway to local ownership but not the only mechanism through which it can be achieved, and as such, more focus should be placed on community-based organisations and other civil society actors;
- Funding mechanisms need to be more permissive allowing for project evolution;
- Community engagement is required from the outset, and through entirety of any given programme; and
- Long-term sustainable funding is required.
Ryerson Christie and Gilberto Algar-Faria collected suggestions for further refinement of the report from the discussants: Mary Martin (LSE), Rabia Nusrat (International Alert) and Felix Colchester (Conciliation Resources).
Evaluating international efforts on local capacity building
Authors: Juncos, A.E., G. Algar-Faria, T. Edmunds, K. Đokić, E. Plänitz, K. Abdi and S. Simons
Lead Institution: University of Bristol
Published: 25 May 2017
[PDF, ~0.9MB; click to access]
Ana E. Juncos
Ana E. Juncos is the EU-CIVCAP Consortium Co-ordinator and team leader at the University of Bristol. She is a Reader in European Politics at the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies.
Felix Colchester is Policy, Accord and Learning Officer at Conciliation Resources, with responsibilities for UK policy engagement, comparative learning and publications.
Gilberto Algar-Faria is the Project Officer for EU-CIVCAP and a Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol’s School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies.
Matthew Jackson is an independent consultant, specialising in failed and fragile states responses and was most recently team leader for a UK FCO security sector capacity-building programme in Mogadishu.
Nabila Habbida joined EPLO in June 2013 to support EPLO’s analysis and advocacy towards EU Member States on EU policy and thematic issues related to peacebuilding and conflict prevention.
Ryerson Christie is a Senior Lecturer in East Asian Studies. His research focuses on the interaction between local communities, NGOs and the state.
Timothy Edmunds is Professor of International Security and Director of the Global Insecurities Centre at the University of Bristol.