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AsDB – Asian-Pacific CoP on MfDR

Organization(s):

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Country (ies):

Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Vanuatu, and Viet Nam as at December 2009 (Open to all ADB's developing member countries)

Overview:

AsCoP-MfDR, created in 2006, was the first regional developing country network on managing for development results (MfDR). ADB is the Secretariat.

AsCoP-MfDR gives members access to good practices, tools, training opportunities on MfDR through peer-to-peer learning activities, including specific South-South collaborations.

The success of AsCoP-MfDR influenced the creation of the Latin American and Caribbean CoP and the African CoP. The OECD-DAC recently reaffirmed regional CoPs as essential hubs for learning and promoting MfDR-based country systems.

Background:

AsCoP-MfDR was created in 2006 with ADB's support to help developing partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region meet the challenge of introducing and institutionalizing MfDR, in particular improving results-based management in the public sector. By 2005, several countries in the region began introducing MfDR approaches in public sector management. As these experiences were still evolving, countries expressed their desire to learn more about good practices and tools for advancing the MfDR process available within and outside the region. AsCoP-MfDR was created to meet this demand. ADB finances and supports the operation of AsCoP-MfDR, and serves as its Secretariat.

The Community of Practice (CoP) is managed by a Coordinating Committee consisting of six members from Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. The CoP has about 480 members, 90 of whom are considered active members. ADB provides technical support as needed. It collaborates with development partners including the World Bank, Department for International Development (DfID) of the United Kingdom, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development-Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC), and the governments of the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

To promote the institutionalization of MfDR approaches in partner countries, the CoP undertakes capacity development activities targeted at

• raising awareness and demand for MfDR approaches in partner countries in the region;

• increasing the knowledge and skills of key players, including decision-makers and MfDR practitioners; and

• increasing the application of MfDR by key players in partners countries.

The CoP's activities promote South-South cooperation (SSC) by enabling on-line discussion among its members; arranging study tours among Asian countries; conducting training workshops; facilitating face-to-face discussions at the CoP's annual meetings; and encouraging participation by developing Asian and Pacific countries in international conferences. Discussions on general MfDR topics are open to all members, while more focused discussions of specific topics of interest to some members are held in separate chat rooms. Experts in the subject under discussion lead the on-line exchange of ideas and facilitate learning for the members.

Among the CoP's innovative features are the following: (i) it is driven by demand from MfDR practitioners in developing partner countries; (ii) it is a vehicle for peer-to-peer learning and SSC among decision-makers and working-level MfDR practitioners; and (iii) it combines face-to-face and virtual on-line activities.

AsCoP-MfDR responds to demand in developing partner countries in the region for a forum where members can learn from one another and from MfDR experts from around the world. Members engage in this SSC activity to improve their knowledge, skills, and capacity to introduce and institutionalize MfDR in their countries or organizations.

Countries looking to introduce and institutionalize MfDR approaches face many practical constraints because they are seeking to change individual mindsets and organizational cultures, while also trying to find the best tools to shift organizational and management focus from process to results. The individuals seeking to bring about these fundamental changes need knowledge, training, and support. AsCoP-MfDR brings these opportunities to key individuals so that they can act as effective change agents for MfDR within their governments.

Implementation:

AsCoP-MfDR has promoted SSC through virtual and face-to-face activities. Based on its work, AsCoP-MfDR published the first regional sourcebook on MfDR in 2009, "Moving from Concept to Action: Asian Experiences on MfDR."

Virtual SSC. ADB provided a virtual forum for on-line discussion on MfDR, and hosted chat rooms for more focused discussions on specific topics (such as results-based monitoring and evaluation, results-based budgeting, and results-based project management). The focused discussions were led by experts in small groups. The CoP web site hosted summaries from the on-line discussions, publications on good practices, and frequently asked questions on MfDR. The CoP has issued 20 newsletters since 2006 to share knowledge with its members. Encouraging members' active participation was a challenge met by selecting topics relevant to most members and finding the right experts to facilitate discussions.

Face-to-face SSC. Key face-to-face SSC activities took place at the CoP's annual meetings and targeted training programs. Participation in these events depended on the relevance of the specific event to each participant's government's position on the issues addressed.

Annual meetings. Since 2006, the CoP has held four annual meetings: in Singapore in 2006, the People's Republic of China in 2007, Sri Lanka in 2008, and Malaysia in 2009. The annual meeting—usually a three-day event—complemented the year-long on-line activities and strengthened trust among CoP members. The meetings gave the participants an opportunity to learn from the host country's MfDR implementation process, including achievements and challenges.

The 2008 meeting—attended by 50 government officials and experts—devoted one day to sharing the experience of Sri Lanka's Ministry of Plan Implementation (MPI) in introducing MfDR. The participants discussed (i) institutionalization of MfDR at the national level, (ii) results management in the health sector, (iii) monitoring results in community development projects, and (iv) developing a results-based information and poverty mapping approach. They discussed government measures to institutionalize MfDR by endorsing MfDR as a policy, introducing result-based budgeting, and declaring MfDR a key administrative reform agenda.

MPI presented its electronic project monitoring and evaluation information systems. The meeting also discussed the experiences of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the People's Republic of China, Indonesia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nepal, Pakistan, and Viet Nam. A representative from the African CoP-MfDR shared lessons from Africa and discussed possible collaboration between the two regional CoPs.

The 2009 meeting—attended by 80 government officials and experts—devoted two days to presenting Malaysia's integrated approach to MfDR, highlighting challenges in linking planning, budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation for the national government and for the local government of Malacca. Malaysia's experience also showed the need for effective linkages between different levels of government to ensure national priorities are respected all the way through from national to state to local government. The participants discussed ways of strengthening the participation of governments in the CoP.

A study tour was arranged to the Implementation and Coordination Unit under the Prime Minister's Office to examine its project monitoring system. The participants—mostly senior officials responsible for planning or budgeting—related their own countries' experiences during the question and answer sessions. Representatives from the African CoP and the Latin American and Caribbean CoP shared their knowledge.

The meeting endorsed a framework for mainstreaming MfDR to promote common understanding and consistency of approach on MfDR. The meeting adopted key generic attributes of results-based budgeting and agreed to develop attributes for other MfDR components such as planning and implementation. These attributes, when expanded to incorporate country specific needs, can form a checklist to identify capacity development initiatives for incorporating MfDR approaches.

Training programs. The CoP conducted 10 training programs based on priorities established by its members. Training programs were held in cooperation with the CoP's development partners, such as Singapore's Civil Service College supported by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore, and the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center in Shanghai supported by the Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China and cosponsored by the World Bank. Among the topics covered were results-based budgeting, MfDR in the education sector, and results-based monitoring and evaluation. The CoP also held seminars on results-based monitoring and evaluation in the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Outcomes:

The South-South collaboration fostered by AsCoP-MfDR has increased the knowledge and MfDR skills of key decision-makers and administrators in government and nongovernment sectors in several countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In other cases, the knowledge disseminated through the CoP has increased the demand for MfDR and led to greater application of MfDR approaches. The demand was often met by specific technical assistance projects supported by ADB and other development partners. Countries such as Bhutan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Maldives were increasingly interested in applying MfDR approaches and requested specific support from the CoP for this purpose.

In the most successful instances, CoP members played a critical role in integrating MfDR approaches in public management in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam. The CoP's activities helped empower these "MfDR champions" to guide a change management process by helping them learn from other countries about challenges, lessons, tools, approaches, and methodologies. Networks among CoP members, particularly those with interest in similar areas of MfDR, consolidated over time. This enabled the members to better articulate their capacity development needs, propose possible topics for the CoP to focus on, and apply what they had learned to their own country situation.

The increased visibility of CoP activities has also led to unplanned but successful SSC beyond the Asia-Pacific region. For example, following one AsCoP annual meeting, Canada's International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) organized a visit to Sri Lanka in which many countries, including Uganda, participated. Based on its cumulative knowledge and experiences across a wide range of countries, AsCoP-MfDR published in 2009 the first regional sourcebook on MfDR, "Moving from Concept to Action: Asian Experiences on MfDR." The book features good practices in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the People's Republic of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

The success of AsCoP-MfDR influenced the creation of a Latin American and Caribbean CoP and an African CoP. The three regional CoPs have begun to exchange information actively by sharing knowledge products and through face-to-face discussion during their annual meetings. The OECD-DAC recently reaffirmed regional CoPs (like AsCoP-MfDR) as essential hubs for learning and promoting MfDR-based country systems.

Aid Effectiveness:

Ownership. AsCoP-MfDR activities are driven by demand from developing partner countries in the Asia-Pacific region and as such are well aligned with national priorities. Its operation is guided by a Coordinating Committee consisting of six government officials from five Asian nations to ensure that its activities meet member countries' needs. In line with the Accra Agenda for Action, CoP activities focus on using country systems to incorporate MfDR as normal practice in these systems, and promotes demand-driven capacity development and greater accountability. CoP activities nurture strong country ownership by targeting key decision-makers, increasing their knowledge about MfDR, strengthening their ability to design a country-driven capacity development plan, and providing them with methodologies and tools to implement the program through knowledge sharing among CoP members and experts.

Donor harmonization. The CoP participates actively in the OECD-DAC global partnerships on MfDR to provide inputs to the DAC's agenda to ensure a consistent and country-driven approach among donors to supporting MfDR efforts in partner countries. In supporting the global agenda on MfDR, AsCoP-MfDR (supported by ADB) collaborates closely with two other regional CoPs on MfDR: the African CoP supported by the World Bank, and the Latin America and Caribbean CoP supported by the Inter-American Development Bank.

Managing results. CoP activities are devoted to fostering managing for results in developing partner countries. The MfDR approaches aim not only to increase aid effectiveness but also to strengthen the effectiveness of the way countries manage their entire development programs. The CoP itself is run on this principle and includes a design framework used for monitoring and evaluation.

Mutual accountability. The CoP helps increase mutual accountability as a participating country's development objectives are clarified in a results framework with monitorable indicators and targets for intended results (impact, outcomes, and outputs). The budgeting process is linked to the intended results and performance. This enables more objective monitoring and evaluation of development initiatives. Donors support development initiative according to the country's own results framework which serves as a mutual progress review mechanism.

Capacity Development:

The activity has strengthened the knowledge and skills of individuals, and through them, of governments to implement results-focused public management. Specific benefits include:

1. better understanding of MfDR principles, approaches, and tools that have proven effective in other countries;

2. increased understanding of good practices on change management on MfDR, typical challenges, and possible solutions to sustain MfDR;

3. increased ability to identify capacity gaps and design countries' own plans to integrate MfDR into public management using country systems; and

4. greater voice of partner countries in regional and global forums on MfDR to ensure country-driven approach to capacity.

Duration:

2006 – 2010 (1st Phase, 54 months) 2010 – 2012 (2nd Phase – planned for 36 months).

Budget (Optional):

Asian Development Bank: US$900,000 (1st Phase) In-kind contribution from the partner organizations (Singapore's Civil Service College supported by Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore, and the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center in Shanghai supported by the Ministry of Finance of the People's Republic of China).

Name of Primary Contact Person:

Farzana Ahmed

Title of Primary Contact Person:

Principal Coordinator, Asia Pacific Community of Practice on MfDR, Asian Development Bank

City:

Manila, Philippines