The challenges faced by the developing world shape a complex reality that the countries themselves with the support of international organizations seek to address. Under the auspices of aid for development as formulated and applied by global institutions, capacity building can take several forms.

In essence the objectives pursued converge towards the creation of possibilities of decent living for the populations of the world. The United Nations Development Programme as made Capacity development the core of its frameworks of intervention, with the understanding that

“While financial resources, including official development assistance, are vital to success, they are not sufficient to promote human development in a sustainable manner. Without supportive strategies, policies, laws and procedures, well-functioning organizations and educated and skilled people, countries lack the foundation needed to plan, implement and review their national and local development strategies.”
UNDP Practice Note: Capacity Development October 2008, http://www.undp.org/capacity/our_approach.shtml

In this respect, capacity building targets governments, civil society and other stakeholders to enable them to respond to the challenges of their environment.
In the Caribbean, countries with comparable backgrounds be it small island developing states or larger continental states with the majority of their urban population settled in costal areas, are facing the issues competitiveness of their cities.  All suffer from uncontrolled urbanization, a large informal urban sector, poor functioning services and land degradation but the local urban planning and management systems are of unequal quality.

And the stakes are high, since improving the conditions of the Caribbean urban sector will translate in  an increase in the cities ability to both support and foster economic growth and to address the needs of the population for social, economic and environmental equity and justice.

Specific assessments of the national systems are yet to be conducted but there is a need to update the capacity, knowledge and techniques of the human resources available to the urban sector and improve the applicability of regulations and plans and contribute to the implementation’s efficiency towards sustainable human settlements in the Caribbean.