The Department of Technical Cooperation (TC) has been working with Member States for over fifty years to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the TC programme. In 2002, the Board of Governors took note of a new approach to programme development. This approach would increase Member State focus on the results that are achieved through the TC programme. In 2005, there was a renewed international effort to promote results based approaches in line with the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and Millennium Development Goals.
At this year’s General Conference, Member States were invited to a briefing on state-of-the-art results based management by Mr. Jean Serge Quesnel*. The presentation outlined how TC is working to strengthen the application of RBM to make it more effective at the country level and is focussing on building capacity in-country for better planning and programming. This will support the tracking of programme and project progress and will enable countries to conduct self-assessments. RBM aims to create a learning process by using the lessons learned from self-assessment and applying them to the next planning cycle.
“More and more, international development requires demonstrated results and value for money,” Mr Quesnel said, adding that technical cooperation needs to go beyond projects and move toward country programmes that define strategic results, and position the IAEA better to respond to national development needs. Country programmes should further be linked to a country’s national development plan and the national United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), leveraging their impact through partnerships and ensuring alignment with major development areas.
Because results happen in the country, there has been a paradigm shift toward country owned and led programmes. The updated RBM approach, which was presented at the General Conference, focuses on country ownership of projects and the establishment of strong partnerships in order to implement efficient and effective development programmes.
Mr Quesnel presented a number of key ideas on how to apply RBM across the TC programme. The approach has five main features:
- Projects and activities need to be country-driven and should respond to real country needs of high development priority.
- Member State counterparts should learn by doing to improve their use of best practices, monitoring and evaluation.
- A comprehensive management framework involving five levels of management is needed to link policies to strategies, programmes, projects and activities.
- SMART results should be generated with the support of the IAEA. SMART results are to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
- A comprehensive approach to management requires working in partnership. All partners should be involved to achieve strategic results based on the plans and priorities of Member States.
The primary challenges of RBM are not only that results must be articulated clearly before a project is designed or a programme is developed, but that stakeholders, governments and partners must agree to clear commitments in order to make results achievable
RBM training for Agency and counterpart staff is being introduced now to support future programme management cycles.
* Mr Jean Serge Quesnel currently teaches at the United Nations System Staff College, Carleton University and Quebec University. Mr Quesnel was Director of the Evaluation Office at UNICEF, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency. He was also the Chair of the United Nations Task Group on Evaluation Norms and Procedures for the UN System.