Capacity building encompasses a country's human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities. Given the close correlation between capacity in this sense and economic competitiveness and prosperity, capacity building can be considered a goal that all countries share, irrespective of their level of development, even though it is of particular relevance to countries in transition. The wider implementation of Agenda 21 and the development of new tools to further environmental policy require capacity building in all countries. They also require the active involvement of all major groups, including local authorities, environmental NGOs, women, youth, trade unions, farmers, business, industry and finance, in environmental management, policy-making and awareness raising.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends that UNEP should concentrate on providing technical, legal and institutional advice to governments, upon request in establishing and enhancing their national legal and institutional frameworks, in particular, in cooperation with UNDP capacity-building efforts.