Climate Smart Cities

Capacity Development

GIZ is a federal enterprise mandated to perform international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work. On the basis of this broad corporate purpose we are now widening our range of services, both in emerging economies and developing countries, and in Germany itself. As we do so, we are building on the structures, networks, and service offerings of our three predecessor organisations.  

Capacity Development support is a core competence within GIZ’s range of services. Our specific approach to Capacity Development support is rooted in our concept of sustainable development.  

We understands sustainable development as a holistic process that strikes a balance between social responsibility, ecological soundness, political participation, and economic performance. To achieve this, all stakeholders need to engage in a permanent process of searching, negotiating, and learning that produces workable compromises. This process cannot be planned in detail in advance. The principles underlying GIZ’s Capacity Development support therefore result in a holistic approach that is both process- and value-based.  

Capacity Development support is always provided with precise reference to the existing Capacity Development potential or deficits, taking existing challenges into account. Certain types of problems and challenges can be solved more easily and rapidly than others; more problematic are those of a long-term nature whose effects will only be felt in the future and whose causes are complex. Climate change, for instance, requires us to make a break with deeply rooted values and behavioural paradigms. Processes of transition to democracy and a social market economy are complex, long-term change processes. In fragile states, the challenge is to promote  

and restore ownership and statehood in a difficult environment.  

Capacity Development must always be a stakeholder- owned process. Stakeholders must have a vested interest in the process, assume responsibility for it, and be actively engaged in achieving the change objective. This presupposes that the people and organisations involved see a benefit for themselves in the desired changes, and are willing to achieve them.  

In the international debate the term democratic ownership is used. This term emphasises the fact 
that government ownership alone is not sufficient. If sustainable processes are to be initiated and successfully implemented then parliaments, local governments, and civil society must also be involved. Clearly, democratic ownership is therefore crucially dependent on cooperation and processes of constructive negotiation by various actors.  

GIZ shares this understanding. We believe it is important to seek close exchange with the various partners from the outset, and to achieve a maximum degree of ownership among all stakeholders.