Managing for Development Results ("MfDR") is a development planning and management approach or strategy which emphasizes outcomes or results to ensure development effectiveness. It is also known as Results Based Management (RBM).
Traditionally, development planning and management focused more on inputs , activities and outputs . There was very little focus on outcomes and results . The MfDR approach uses information regarding performance to make better decisions that contribute to steer development efforts towards clearly identified goals.
Key features of the MfDR (or RBM) approach
It is built on clarity of goals and objectives.
It links results with planning and resource allocation.
It provides key performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on results and outcomes.
It assumes beneficiary participation at all stages of the development process.
It provides systems for measuring and monitoring performance and results.
It promotes a learning culture.
Initiatives taken to institutionalize MfDR
The Ministry of Plan Implementation (MPI) has commenced a number of initiatives to institutionalize "MfDR" within government. These initiatives are supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under its Technical Assistance (TA) programme titled "Strengthening Plan Implementation Capacity". The Asian Development Bank also supports this endeavour through its Regional Technical Assistance Programme.
MPI has established a core group to provide guidance and direction for MfDR initiatives. The core group is headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Plan Implementation.
An MfDR Plan of Action has been developed by the Core group. Each of the five Phase I Ministries (i.e. Ministry of Education, Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, Ministry of Highways and Road Development, Ministry of Agricultural Development & Agrarian Services and the Ministry of Plan Implementation) had, by December 2007, developed an Agency Results Framework (ARF) and a Score Card for the Ministry. MPI will continue to work with these Ministries to assist in introducing MfDR principles to Institutions at its next level, i.e. departments as well as major Development projects.
Phase II of this initiative commenced in 2008 with twelve more Ministries (i.e. Ministries of Foreign Employment Promotions, Water Supply and Drainage, Labour Relations and Manpower, Urban Development and Sacred Area Development, Enterprise Development and Investment Promotions, Posts and Telecommunication, Social Services & Social Welfare, Child Development and Women’s Empowerment, Vocational and Technical Training, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Constitutional Affairs and Environment and Natural Resources). MPI will also work with the Department of Posts to institutionalize MfDR principles, at the request of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication.
The Agency Results Frameworks of the five Phase I Ministries were launched at a workshop on 13th March 2008. The workshop also discussed the experiences of the five Phase I Ministries in developing the ARF’s and the way forward. Mr. Lalith Weeratunge, Secretary to the President addressed the workshop and emphasized the importance of this endeavour and the benefits that will accrue when the MfDR approach is institutionalized in Government.
Managing for Development Results is an important component of the Paris Declaration for Aid Effectiveness which Sri Lanka signed in March 2005. MPI is conducting an evaluation of the implementation of Paris Declaration to ascertain the extent to which its principles are adhered to in Sri Lanka and what gaps need to be filled to secure complete compliance. (Details of the Paris Declaration could be viewed at www.oecd.org).
MPI has also initiated action to develop an Evaluation Information System (EIS) which will contain in electronic format a synthesis of Evaluation Reports on key Development Projects. The envisaged EIS will provide valuable information which will assist in identifying the key issues in project planning and implementation. This information will provide an insight into lessons learnt, strengths and weaknesses and follow up action which is essential to ensure results and sustainability. This information will be a valuable resource which can be availed of in the designing, planning and implementation of future development initiatives.
By a Note to Cabinet dated February 25th, 2008 The Minister of Plan Implementation informed the Cabinet of Ministers about the initiatives taken by MPI to institutionalize MfDR within Government and future plans. The Minister also stated the following – " I have also examined methods used in other countries to increase public sector performance. The public service plays a vital role in the delivery of services and it is important therefore that the performance of the Public service be improved to deliver results. Public Officers must be made accountable for results. The need is for a performance evaluation system. What is desired is a “ Government that works.” Towards achieving this, it is important to do the following –
hold senior Governmental officials accountable for results ;
define objectives and evaluate performance (because “w hat gets measured, gets done” )
The essential ingredients required to take this initiative forward are - Political commitment, champions, fiscal resources and a sound strategy. Moving forward to institutionalize MfDR principles within Government can be a daunting task. It may take time and there will be many challenges. We believe that Sri Lanka is now ready for those challenges.