Capacity building

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A systematic and integrated approach that includes education and training, human resource development, knowledge management and knowledge networks to develop and continuously improve the governmental, organizational and individual competencies and capabilities necessary for achieving a safe, secure and sustainable nuclear power programme. On organizational level capacity building is often defined as a process of enhacing an organization's ability to achieve its goalsand also implementknowledge management principles and practices.[1]


To maintain safety and security, all nuclear programmes need an appropriate human capacity. The IAEA describes capacity building as an umbrella concept which consists of four elements: Education and training, knowledge management, human resource development and knowledge networks.

Government, organisations and individuals each have a role in capacity building. Government should have a clear policy and strategy for the nuclear programme and for developing and maintaining the required human capacity on the national level. In addition, the government should ensure sufficient resources needed for this. Organisations' role is to communicate their needs to the government and to develop the capacity of their personnel. Individuals naturally have the responsibility of developing their own knowledge and skills.



The IAEA has recognised four important aspects for national capacity building strategies. Firstly, member states need sustainable education and training infrastructure and processes which develop individual competency and provide a basis for life long learning. Secondly, member states need a structured approach to enable them to estimate the human resource needs for its programme, to assess its existing capability, to identify competency gaps, and to plan and implement activities to fill these gaps both on organisational and national level. Thirdly, organisations have knowledge needs both on individual and organisational level. Individuals needs knowledge to fulfill the competency requirements of positions and knowledge to successfully complete the required tasks. In addition, organisations need the understanding of and attention to the concept of organizational knowledge. Finally, member states need to promote the pooling, analysis and sharing of knowledge of nuclear technology, safety and security and experiences at the national, regional and international levels. To address these four requirements, the IAEA has defined education and training, knowledge management, human resource development and knowledge networks as the four key elements of capacity building. [1]

The capacity building concept is consistent with the human aspects of infrastructure development for newcomer countries, but is equally relevant for those Member States that already have a nuclear power programme. For the concept to be implementable and sustainable, it should be integrated into national and organizational management processes and systems, and may need to be underpinned within the national legal framework. [1]

Elements of capacity building



Knowledge management

Human resource development

Knowledge networks

Roles of different organisations in capacity building

The government should take ultimate responsibility for the definition and implementation of the optimal way of using national, regional and international resources to build, maintain and continuously improve the capacity building programme within the country [1].

It is usually at the organizational rather than the governmental level that the detailed knowledge of, and expertise in, a particular process or activity resides. The role of the the various organizations involved in a nuclear power programme is to communicate to the government their overall needs, including the numbers of personnel needed by the various organizations, their background educational and training needs, and their preferred qualification levels. Organizations are aso responsible for developing their own arrangements to ensure that those personnel recruited from the national capacity building programmes are provided with the necessary job specific education, training and qualification to ensure their competency for their individual roles and responsibilities. [1]

Self-evaluation process

The IAEA has developed a methodology for self-assessment of the capacity building on both national and organisational level. In the self-evaluation four questions are asked for each evaluation area:

  • What is needed?
  • What is available?
  • What is the missing?
  • What are the needed actions?

The self-evaluation process consists of two modules. Module I is the self-evaluation on the national level and Module II the self-evaluation on the organisational level.

Capacity-building self-evaluation questionnaire consists of general part, which concerns itself mainly with strategic issues and of four parts which address the main topics of the four main elements of capacity building.

For a detailed description of process, please refer to Ref. [1].


[1] Methodology for Self-assessment of Capacity Building in Member States with Nuclear Power Programmes and Those Planning to Embark on Such a Programme

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