Guidance Note: Reconstruction and Long-term Capacity Development in Haiti

About the publication

  • Published: January 2011
  • Series: Norad reports: discussion
  • Type: Norad reports
  • Carried out by: Scanteam
  • Commissioned by: Norad for the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Country: Haiti
  • Theme:
  • Pages: 28
  • Serial number: 23/2010
  • ISBN: 978-82-7548-533-3
  • ISSN: --
NB! The publication is ONLY available online and can not be ordered on paper.


The following are ten principles that can be applied to capacity development efforts in Haiti, led by Haitian authorities, and supported by their international Development Partners. The principles draw on international experience in fragile states and post-crisis situations over the past decade.

Principle One: Capacity development is a long-term effort that is knowledge, management, skills and funding intensive. Strengthening the core organisations and institutions of state is central to achieving national recovery and development goals. Strategy should also balance efforts to build core capacities in civil society and the private sector. In the Haitian context, as with other crisis situations, change will be measured over decades; beyond the timeframe of typical development interventions. Progress requires predictable and sustained commitments on the part of all stakeholders.

Principle Two: Capacity development efforts must be based on analysis of the existing and potential capacities, within the framework of national priorities. Capacity development must be based on robust assessments that identify: a) the national capacity that already exists; b) the gaps between existing capacity and priority needs; and c) where the international community can best contribute. Assessments must be closely coordinated between national and international stakeholders. The effectiveness of coordination is strengthened when capacity development efforts have their own results framework and monitoring system.

Principle Three: National political commitment and leadership is essential for capacity development to be relevant and sustainable. Sustained national leadership is the single most important determinant of capacity development results. Efforts are most effective when they are demand-driven and respond to Government requests and priorities, preferably set out in a coherent strategic framework. In the absence of national ownership, sustainability cannot be achieved.

Principle Four: Capacity Development requires a concerted and closely coordinated approach between key stakeholders. Post-crisis situations are characterised by an increase of international resources and a large number and variety of stakeholders. The need to build coherence between the stakeholders is essential to long-term effectiveness. The financial and transaction cost involved in coordination efforts, therefore, are a necessary investment. To the extent possible, consultations should include national and international organisations (NGOS and CSO), as these currently deliver a significant portion of public goods in Haiti.

Principle Five: Post-crisis capacity development efforts must build on existing capacities. All societies have forms of capacity and social organisation, if not in the structures of state then in communities, social organisations or the coping mechanisms that exist precisely because the state is weak or absent. Capacity development efforts are most effective when they build on existing capacities, and do not undermine or compete with them. Context knowledge is critical. Efforts in Haiti must also consider the existing constitutional, state architecture and past internationally-supported efforts for state reform.

Published 12.01.2011
Last updated 16.02.2015