Monitoring and evaluation is key to reach the millennium development goals and in reducing poverty. Without adequate and accurate information on relevant benchmarks, targeting resources, improving services and social programs and identifying inefficiencies and ineffective expenditures is not possible.
It has moved from understanding the issues of monitoring and evaluation to a process where we can exchange those ideas within a particular country project or program. At the Shanghai Global Learning Conference, one of the key features identified in achieving poverty reduction was inclusion of monitoring evaluation in program or project management and extension of the traditional monitoring and evaluation to the budget cycle.
What the LAC region is doing in this area?
Many governments in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region have gained an increased understanding of the value of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to help both governments and donors alike better understand what public investments and interventions work well, which do not, and the reasons why. Monitoring and evaluating the performance of public programs and institutions can help increase their effectiveness, providing more accountability and transparency in how public monies are used, informing the budgetary process and the allocation of public resources, and assessing their effectiveness in attaining their desired objectives such as improving welfare, reducing poverty or enhancing the equality of opportunities.
Some countries stress a system of performance indicators, while others focus on carrying out evaluations (program reviews or rigorous impact evaluations). And while some countries have created a whole-of-government approach driven by finance or planning ministries, others are more focused on sector M&E systems. One key characteristic of most of the systems that are now at different stages of implementation in LAC, is that they reflect country-led ? rather than donor-driven ? efforts to institutionalize M&E.
What the World Bank is doing in this area?
The World Bank is engaging in both aspects of M&E, evaluation of own projects and programs, as well as assisting its clients in developing and implementing M&E methodologies in all government areas. The Bank makes a great effort to include M&E in all operational areas and to conduct self-evaluations of their work.
The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) evaluates these self-evaluations and sets standards for quality control. Their role within the Bank, and as the largest evaluation unit in the donor community, allows it to ident14pxify regional and global trends in the emphasis given to the strengthening of government monitoring and evaluation systems. On the IEG’s initiative, support for country efforts to strengthen their monitoring and evaluation systems was included in the core activities of the Bank. The Bank is currently working with over 30 governments, including seven in Latin America and the Caribbean, to help in strengthening their M&E systems through loans and grants, often with significant input from Public Sector Management units and IEG itself.
The World Bank is also directly engaging with clients in LAC to strengthen their M&E systems at both the national, regional and sector level. A number of new loans supporting M&E at the national level will start implementation between 2008-2009, including projects in Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia. In addition to these instruments the World Bank is increasingly using innovative instruments such as the Fees For Services to deliver technical assistance on priority areas according the government demand.Finally the World Bank to further promote the institutionalization of M&E systems supports a number of learning and capacity building activities both for staff and professionals in the region.
For the past three years the World Bank, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), has organized three regional conferences to take stock of the lessons learned. Participants have included high level government officials, as well as experts from academia, bilateral donor agencies, consulting firms, and various sectors of the host institutions. The conferences serve as a forum for a regional network of policymakers and M&E practitioners to share national experiences on a more systematic basis.
In February 2007 the Poverty and Gender Unit received Knowledge and Learning Small Grant for the purpose of organizing a series of Knowledge Exchanges entitled,
Working for Results: Case Studies of M&E in Latin America today
The rationale for this initiative was to respond to the increasing need among practitioners here at the World Bank to garner and exchange knowledge of regional M&E experiences in the context of the recent surge of M&E initiatives throughout the Latin American region in recent years. Five Knowledge Exchanges were organized which included presentations by senior governmental officials, Bank Staff and representatives from regionally active aid agencies. The topics presented and discussed at the Knowledge Exchanges have covered a wide gambit: institutional coordination, civic participation, indicators, congressional oversight and data systems have been some of the issues addressed.