NOREF Report

Triangular co-operation for government capacity development in South Sudan

Published: 20 Jan 2014

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) initiative provides 199 civil service support officers (CSSOs) to South Sudan, where they are twinned with counterparts across many ministries and sectors to rapidly develop core government capacity in a coaching and mentoring scheme. These CSSOs come from the civil services of Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, and are seconded for two-year terms. The initiative resonates well with the UN Civilian Capacity reform process and the calls for more use of regional capacity, and more flexible and bottom-up approaches when supporting countries emerging from conflict. The initiative is a promising and potentially innovative model of triangular co-operation for capacity development for four reasons. Firstly, it provides a model of large-scale support to rapid capacity development in core government functions. Secondly, the use of regional capacity to a certain degree mitigates the potential resentment that capacity support can generate when external experts are brought into capacity-poor environments. Thirdly, the programme already shows evidence of impact on core practices such as establishing strategic plans, drafting policies and supporting their development. Finally, there seems to be a strong ownership of the programme by the government of South Sudan and many of the twins.