On behalf of both UNDP as well as the wider UN Family in Kenya, I am delighted to participate in this important convening because of the pertinent role that monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plays in the implementation of development projects and programmes.
I believe it was Dr. Joan Freeman, a British Psychologist, who coined the expression, “if you can’t measure it, then it doesn’t exist”. This quote builds on an earlier quote by famed business management guru, Mr. Peter Drucker, who said something quite similar, “if you can’t measure it, then you can’t improve it.” I believe that this is precisely why all 200+ of us are here this week, because of our deep conviction on the importance of measurement through better data, monitoring and evaluation as was so aptly captured by both Dr. Freeman and Dr. Drucker.
Let me start by congratulating the National Treasury and Planning, on its convening of the 9th M&E Week. Despite COVID-19 pandemic the NT and Planning has remained agile as demonstrated by the bold move to execute this meeting virtually. As in previous years, UNDP is once again pleased to partner with the National Treasury through the State Department for Planning to successfully convene this conference.
The high-level participation of national and county governments in this 9th M&E Week points to the commitment of the government of Kenya to embrace and entrench a culture of evidence-based planning and implementation to achieve development results. It is also a testament to fidelity to public accountability.
These annual engagements provide a platform for national and international development practitioners and professionals to share M&E experiences and best practices, enhance networking and harness the evidence-based approach in the management of developmental projects and programmes. Over the course of the coming 3 days you will hear from several UN colleagues on the agenda.
It is heartening to see the attention that has been given to M&E as it elevates public service to managing for developmental results. This years’ theme is both timely and relevant – Under the theme of “M&E within the Context of COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives, Practices, and Evidence”, this year’s event is a confirmation that M&E is vital even during turbulent times.
This is why UNDP is very pleased to partner with the National Treasury and Planning in hosting this meeting through the UN Joint Devolution Programme. I would like to acknowledge the Development Partners to this Joint UN programme, namely, the Governments of Finland, Italy and Sweden and our sister UN agencies, UNICEF and UN Women, for their partnership and support in implementing this Joint Programme.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The imperative of monitoring and evaluation as a driver of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be gainsaid. M&E provides critical data, analysis and information on impacts of investments made on natural resources, national and local government operations, public services and demographics which guide tracking, measurement and reporting on progress made in the implementation of the SDGs. These in turn inform global, regional, national and county level priorities and help determine the most effective course of action on development and other relevant issues.
In essence, data generated from M&E exercises is a key resource for:
- fostering inclusive growth and job creation;
- improving efficiency and effectiveness of public services;
- increasing transparency, accountability and citizen participation in national and county government initiatives;
- facilitating better information sharing between governments at both levels; and most importantly;
- for evidence-based policy formulation, planning and budget allocation.
Likewise, for us in the UN system, M&E provides insights for effective programme design and implementation, while bringing to the fore the impact of our interventions on targeted populations, enabling us to enhance the integrity of the UN system’s programming partnerships with the Government of Kenya. Indeed this year both the UN and UNDP are about to embark on our respective processes to independently evaluate the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) as well as the UNDP Country Programme Document (CPD).
The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the need for robust data capture, analysis, dissemination and evidence-based programme implementation. We have witnessed the importance of evidence-based interventions to curb the spread of the pandemic. Timely data generation and M&E has enabled targeted government efforts to enhance resilience, mitigate the effect of the pandemic and help families, organizations and the government to build forward better. These efforts have been informed by information generated from credible sources, with monitoring and evaluation data being one of them.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
The UN Joint Devolution Programme was designed to improve service delivery to citizens through equitable and efficient allocation of resources. In doing so, the project has identified quality data and M&E as key areas of intervention. The programme M&E pillar therefore seeks to:
- Strengthen National and County governments M&E and reporting systems; and
- Improve generation of quality data for evidence-based planning and decision making. Generation of critical data for example on, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, violence against children, child marriages and marginalized populations such as persons with disabilities is enabling focused effort towards mitigating the vulnerability of these demographic groups, to ensure No One is left Behind and that the farthest behind are being reached first.
As delegates share their experiences on M&E approaches, practices, lessons and experiences during and after the COVID-19 pandemic; as they explore emerging M&E best practices in the context of COVID-19 and ways of using M&E to strengthen development outcomes during and after crises, remember to also reflect on the progress of commitments made in the 8th M&E Week. This is a critical element of validating the importance and M&E gains of this important annual convening.
Part of this reflection could include:
- The status of the National M&E Policy and the M&E Bill.
- The extent of adoption of County Integrated Monitoring and Evaluation Systems (CIMES).
- The extent of adoption of ICT to track implementation of national and county programmes and projects including the Big Four Agenda: and
- The level of adoption of Results-Based Management (RBM) by counties.
In conclusion, I hope the deliberations of this important forum will enable the National Treasury and Planning, through Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, to elevate monitoring and evaluation to higher heights. This forum is also key in building dynamic M&E capabilities and competencies as the country seeks to have M&E champions to institutionalize M&E particularly at county level.
I look forward to the resolutions emerging from this week and a clear implementation and follow-up roadmap.
I wish you all a fruitful deliberation.