If you really want to be good at something, you need to understand the issues at hand thoroughly. You need to be able to see the context, connect the dots, and apply your knowledge in practice. That is the idea behind capacity development - enabling individuals to grasp the subject in question in its full complexity. This is vitally important in the world of digital policy, in which the pace of development (of both solutions and issues) is unceasing. Raising capacities in digital policy helps various stakeholders better navigate through developments related to ICTs and the associated policy implications.

Capacity development is much more than training

Capacity development is often defined as the improvement of knowledge, skills, and institutions to make effective use of resources and opportunities. Widespread on the agendas of international development agencies, capacity development programmes range from institutional and societal to the individual level and include a variety of strategies, from fundraising to targeted training.

Capacity development for Internet-related matters comprises both the strengthening of institutional capacities (in particular for technical deployment, policymaking, and implementation) and the development of individual competences (skills and abilities pertaining to the information society, including computer literacy, privacy safeguards, etc.). The effectiveness and legitimacy of Internet governance depends on the capacity of nations, organisations, and individuals to meaningfully participate in policy processes. Sufficient capacity in digital policy issues results in more informed policy decisions.

In the outcome documents of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) (2003/2005), capacity development is underscored as a priority for developing countries. Likewise, the outcome document of the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of WSIS calls for further investments into capacity development. More recently, the importance of capacity development has been raised in the report of the UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation.

Capacity development in the area of ICTs has also featured highly on the agenda of the UNGA. At the 74th session of the UNGA, ICT capacity building was addressed mainly by national delegates from developing countries who stressed the importance of international support and partnerships, investment in human capital, and adequate training.

Our Experts

Dr Tereza Horejsova

Project Development Director, DiploFoundation

Originally from the Czech Republic, Dr Tereza Horejsova is currently based in Washington DC. Joining Diplo in 2012, Tereza has had an international career in academia and the non-governmental sector in the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, and Switzerland. During her stay in Geneva (2012‒2016), she coordinated the activities of the Geneva Internet Platform.