• Introduction

    Capacity has historically been viewed as a human resource term, such as an individual’s capacity to do, to achieve, to develop, and is most often referred to in terms of competencies and capabilities. More recently capacity also refers to capability at different levels, e.g., an organisation, system or society, to function or to perform. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) defines capacity as "The ability of individuals, institutions and societies to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives in a sustainable manner". The terms "capacity building" or "capacity development" describe the task of establishing human and institutional capacity.

    There are many approaches to providing capacity building services, including: providing access to repositories of information and resources (databases, libraries and websites), publications, training (public, customised, online), consultation (coaching/mentoring, facilitating, expert advice and conducting research), and coordinating alliances/networks. At an individual level, professional development can support leadership, advocacy, and technical skills, serving to build motivation and increase effectiveness. At an institutional level, it can include strengthening of governance, finance and administration structures, and access to funding. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and a range of long-term approaches need to be tailored to each situation.

  • How does capacity building help ape conservation?

  • Are there also negative aspects of capacity building?

  • How is it implemented / applied in practice?

Compiled and edited 2011 by Kay H. Farmer
Reviewed by Hjalmar Kuehl, Josephine Head and Neba Funwi-Gabga

  • References