This study analyzes how and under what conditions technical cooperation may generate larger effects on endogenous and long-term capacity development in developing countries. To this end, we use the case of national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory in Indonesia, where the task for producing GHG inventories was first outsourced to external experts through a dedicated project, but is now managed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK). While investigating the long-term process through which the country developed its capacity on this issue, we evaluated how and the extent to which the five-year technical cooperation supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency contributed to this by generating catalytic effects.
This paper contributes to and complements the existing literature by applying a model of strategic issue diagnosis, by which we traced the evolving issue interpretations at the ministry and their consequent actions. This study finds that the technical cooperation interacted with changes in the institutional environment, raising the issue urgency, feasibility, and interdependence as perceived at KLHK, creating momentum to change their situation, and igniting endogenous capacity development. The study highlights that, as the substantial uncertainty in their reported GHG inventories was identified through the technical cooperation, the issue came to be defined by the ministry as the problem to be solved.
This paper identifies the country’s specific context as an important factor to explain a project’s catalytic effect, or the absence thereof. It emphasizes that contexts must be factored in when evaluating projects, as they are often embedded in longer timeframes and in the wider scope that goes beyond the direct beneficiaries.
Keywords: Capacity development, climate change, issue interpretations, carbon emissions, Indonesia