In the age of global austerity, governments are increasingly interested in linking spending to results. Interestingly, developing countries are, in some ways, at the forefront of the trend toward results-oriented governance. The governments of Iraq and Sri Lanka are in the processes of setting up sophisticated systems to plan, implement, and monitor public investment projects—development projects funded under the government’s capital budget. The overarching purpose of both initiatives is to promote a culture of informed decision-making, where decisions about capital investment funding are based on performance and results.
In Iraq, Synergy is developing a new, comprehensive Iraq Development Management System (IDMS) to help the Iraqi Government plan, implement, and monitor and evaluate the entirety of the country’s capital budget which, comprising domestic as well as external resources, is estimated at around $200 billion over the next 5 years.
This project builds upon the successful implementation of the Development Assistance Database (DAD) Iraq, which, established in 2005, served as the Government’s online repository of information and analytical and reporting tool on donor contributions to Iraq’s post-conflict reconstruction and development. DAD will now be integrated into the new system.
The Ministry of Planning, which used to manage DAD, is the government agency responsible for IDMS, with the support of UNDP, USAID, and UNOPS. A highly innovative aspect of IDMS is its Business Process Management (BPM) component, which will automate key business processes pertaining to externally-funded and government investment projects. The BPM will allow ministries, provincial authorities, donors and other stakeholders to submit, review, and approve or reject project requests online through IDMS. Thus, it will serve as a standardized and open mechanism for Iraqi public entities involved in capital investment management.
In Sri Lanka, Synergy is developing the government’s Integrated National Development Information System (INDIS), which, similar to the Iraqi system, will be the unified system on development projects funded by donors and the national government. Moreover, the system will contain an advanced performance monitoring capability to track the performance and results of specific projects and activities as well as, at a broader level, of public entities and sectors. INDIS will be housed and managed by the Foreign Aid & Budget Monitoring Department of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, with the support of UNDP.
The Sri Lankan case is instructive for it describes the general situation in many countries and how governments can go about to change it. Prior to the INDIS initiative, the government had set up different systems that managed different aspects of the overall development agenda—a system for managing external assistance projects, another for public investment projects, and yet another for government evaluations of projects. But having separate systems that did not speak with each other resulted in silos of information, making it hard to get a full and clear picture of the country’s development landscape. Thus, the Sri Lankan Government decided to create INDIS in order to have a unifying platform with real-time and reliable data, which could then promote evidence-based and strategic decision-making on national development.
In both countries, Synergy is focusing on capacity development. We are working closely with the lead government agency to train its staff as well as users in other public entities to make sure they can fully use and manage the system.