Capacity Development


The Capacity Development Office (CDO) of UNU-MERIT develops and delivers Capacity Development programmes for relevant stakeholders. Capacity Development is a mechanism that accelerates our impact in the process of promoting and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As an institution included in both the academic and policy worlds, we are well equipped to train others in our areas of expertise with academic rigour and a policy focus. Our duty as a university and UN think tank is to educate beyond formal education: by training policymakers and practitioners, we help influence and impact how they design and implement their policies on the ground.

The CDO services focus on organisations and professionals in government, civil society organizations, academic institutions, NGOs, UN bodies, and international organizations. Our programme offering includes in-person activities in Maastricht or at external locations, blended programmes combining in-person teaching with online components and online programmes. Our programme leaders are experienced in designing programmes that serve our partners’ needs and accommodate programme specificities needed to enable working professionals to participate successfully.

The CDO cooperates with UNU-MERIT’s Research Units to identify fields of focus in which programmes are needed, and our staff’s expertise is used to translate academic knowledge in programmes tailored for professionals. The CDO also works with external partners to design and deliver Capacity Development programmes that answer to a specific societal issue, in particular as they relate to the SDGs. Depending on the needs of the recipients of our programmes, the CDO can co-design programmes with partner institutions.

By developing capacity within professionals and organisations, to obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and resources, we facilitate them to address contemporary and future sustainable development challenges and achieve sustainable results.


Programme Offering and Participant Profiles

The CDO delivers professional training and capacity development programmes on the various thematic areas of expertise offered by all Research Units of UNU-MERIT.

The CDO offers the following types of programmes:

1) Key Certificate Programmes

2) Tailor-made Programmes

3) Online Courses

4) Train-the-Trainer Programmes

Our participants come from all over the world, with a balanced distribution from the lower, middle, and high-income countries. The profile of participants ranges from senior civil servants representing their governments to the junior staff at international organizations seeking to expand their knowledge in their respective fields. All programmes are tailored to working professionals and are designed not only to allow for work activities and educational programmes to be undertaken jointly but also to create value for work from the programme and benefit from the participants’ work experience in their educational programme.


Who have we worked with?

UNU-MERIT has offered Capacity Development programmes for the past 15 years, and has trained professionals from, and partnered with numerous international organizations, government ministries, and academic institutions around the world to design and deliver Capacity Development programmes in various thematic areas. Some of our previous partners include

  • United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
  • World Food Programme (WFP)
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • Government of Kenya
  • Government of Rwanda
  • Government of India
  • Government of Panama
  • Government of the Netherlands German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)
  • Mercy Hands for Humanitarian Aid
  • International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)

More Information

For more details on our programmes or to discuss options for designing and delivering Capacity Development programmes with UNU-MERIT, please contact cdo@merit.unu.edu


UNU-MERIT