One of the key development challenges of the 21 st century is how developing countries can improve governance and build sustainable capacity in their own institutions with effective support from outside. This is not a new problem, but the international community has had a mixed record in supporting capacity development in the poorest countries. What is new is the recognition that emerging democracies and post conflict or post crisis states often need interim help from the outside to exercise core policy functions or deliver key services. The challenge is how to meet this demand while helping to build sustainable capacities over the medium term. Against this background, the OECD organised an Experts Meeting on new approaches to capacity building and service delivery in emerging democracies in April 2007. 1 The meeting examined recent experiences of using international personnel as providers of core government services and policy functions in support of state capacity building. The meeting concluded that the direct contracting of individuals or teams to fill executive positions for a limited time can deliver results in certain circumstances provided the host government directs the contracting process and there is local ownership. 2 It noted that although many examples have already been identified, the exact level of demand from co-operation countries 3 for this kind of service is not fully known and that provision is currently organised on an ad hoc and unsystematic basis
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