CLEAR Week: Zhao Min on Introducing CLEAR Week and Performance Management Systems – A Growth Area for the International Evaluation Community

I’m Zhao Min, Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center (AFDC) in Shanghai, China. AFDC is a member of the CLEAR Initiative and hosts the East Asia CLEAR Center. If you follow what is happening in international evaluation capacity building (ECB), you might have heard about CLEAR – the Regional Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results. Through a network of regional centers, CLEAR provides regionally relevant ECB, p promoting practical knowledge-sharing and peer-to-peer learning. Our center provides many types of ECB activities to people in Asia and internationally – on topics such as the basics of M&E, impact evaluation, and performance based budgeting. In addition to CLEAR, we also receive support from the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank, the Independent Evaluation Department and also the Strategy and Policy Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Ministry of Finance of China. Today I’m writing about performance management systems (PMSs), their uses and how they intersect with the budgeting process in the government sector. This is an area of my own research and my agency’s knowledge sharing efforts within Asia, especially in China.

Lessons learned: Worldwide, budgets are tight and citizens expect high performance on public sector projects and programs – be they in health, education, transportation and, really, any sector. I first became introduced to how PMSs, or results-based management systems, through my work with international financial institutions such as the ADB. Increasingly, I’m seeing the use of electronic PMSs in countries, states and municipalities – across the globe.

Some of the many uses of the systems are below.

  • They provide a systematic approach to management and monitoring of the performance of projects and programs. Instead of ad-hoc management, information can be systematically collected and monitored.
  • Access to information increases.
  • They provide structure in the early, design stage of projects, programs or policies. They typically set out important indicators and targets to enable meaningful monitoring.
  • Robust PMSs can be a source of key data for evaluations – and make evaluations stronger.
  • Evidence-based decision-making is more likely, resulting in greater efficiencies and effectiveness.
  • Decisions about budgeting and tying budgeting to performance are made possible by PMSs.

PMSs are likely to become more commonly used. It is an exciting time to learn and share with one another across regions in our experiences with PMSs. We can continue to refine such things as which indicators are most useful to track, experiences in collecting data, and how to communicate information to the public.

Rad Resources:

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Centers for Learning on Evaluation and Results (CLEAR) week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of CLEAR. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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