Lesson 30: Local capacity-building III – Coherence and coordination


Building on Lessons 13 and 14 on local capacity-building as well as Lessons 11, 12 and 19 on partnerships, this Lesson Identified involves the coordination efforts among the EU and other participants in conflict prevention and peacebuilding tasks, whether local stakeholders in host countries or other international actors/donors, such as the UN, NATO and the OSCE. This coordination, which should in turn enhance coherence, involves not just a range of various actors inside and outside the host country, but also a range of policy tools, funding sources, individual projects, and other elements that are rarely if ever under the authority of a single actor, whether a government or international organisation like the EU.

Accordingly, DL 6.2 first identifies three aspects of ‘coherence’ that could be enhanced through more effective coordination: horizontal (between sectoral policies), vertical (along the EU-national ‘chain of command’), and inter-institutional (among various actors involved). It further argues that EU Delegations in host countries are often – but not always – uniquely positioned to serve as the lead coordinating actor for local capacity-building programmes. In this regard a key aspect of this lesson is the need for local knowledge about existing capacities, actors/stakeholders, and other resources that will be built upon (or reformed) as part of the overall effort. This knowledge, in turn, often requires a deep understanding of the host country that only a long-term engagement (as through EU Delegations or perhaps EU Special Representatives) can provide. DL 6.2 provides examples to support this Lesson Identified from fieldwork conducted by EU-CIVCAP researchers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, and the Horn of Africa/Ethiopia. Although details and outcomes (i.e., horizontal, vertical, and inter-institutional coherence) varied depending on the specific situation, the key lesson is that the development of coordination mechanisms on the ground in host countries almost always fails to anticipate all of the kinds of information that must be shared regularly to deploy resources, avoid duplication of effort, and create a workable division of labour. These findings also suggest a range of more specific lessons or best practices depending on the host country, some of which are summarised below as recommendations.


1) Designate a responsible coordinator for local capacity-building programmes/projects; 2) Establish a ‘rule of law’ team in the EU Delegations to ensure intra-EU coordination; 3) Avoid weak or ad hoc coordination mechanisms in favour of specific roles/procedures; 4) Ensure that some degree of flexibility is built into the mandates of specific conflict prevention and peacebuilding actions/tasks; 5) Specify a long lead-in time for, and promote transparency in, the project formulation process, and begin coordination at the project design phase; 6) Engage the smaller, less prominent actors while addressing local needs and avoiding duplication; and 7) Create a ‘circle of champions’ among local partners to assist with host country projects and other initiatives within their specific networks.

Related Deliverables

DL 4.2
Partners in conflict prevention and peacebuilding: How the EU, UN and OSCE exchange civilian capabilities in Kosovo, Mali and Armenia

Authors: Dijkstra, H.E. MahrP. PetrovK. ĐokićP.H. Zartsdahl
Lead Institution: Maastricht University

Published: 4 September 2017

[PDF, ~0.6MB; click to access]


DL 6.2
International capacity building in the Western Balkans and the Horn of Africa: Lessons on coherence and coordination

Authors: Algar-Faria, G.A.E. JuncosT. EdmundsS. Stojanovic GajicK. ĐokićE. PlänitzK. Abdi and S. Simons
Lead Institution: University of Bristol

Published: 24 May 2018

[PDF, ~0.5MB; click to access]