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Managing for results
IFAD works continuously to improve its effectiveness in order to deliver the strongest results for the millions of poor rural men and women in developing countries we aim to reach. We judge ourselves by whether our development results are inclusive and provide benefits that are sustainable and cost-effective.
We have developed effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and knowledge management systems and tools to measure, assess and document our achievements and pinpoint areas where improvement is needed. This enables IFAD to constantly improve the way in which it designs development projects, monitors progress, and measures results and impact.
IFAD’s renewed agenda for results management is embodied in the Development Effectiveness Framework (DEF), a package of actions that comprehensively shift the culture and underlying infrastructure in this area. The DEF will enhance IFAD’s and country-level capacities to manage for results, and help us and our project partners make better informed decisions based on timely and reliable data and evidence.
Designing for results
Top-quality project design is a fundamental building block for impact in the countries where IFAD works. Bringing about effective development requires backing projects that are likely to be successful in achieving development objectives (doing the right things) and designing individual projects that are geared towards meeting intended objectives (doing things right).
Doing the right things requires a country strategy (a result-based country strategic opportunities programme or a country strategy note) that carefully assesses the rural development situation and outlines the scope for interventions that match government and IFAD priorities in promoting rural development. Doing things right requires ensuring that individual projects are designed and implemented to have the highest likelihood of effectively bringing about development.
To be effective, interventions need to be designed to address a development problem. Failure to do so means that investments are not targeting a fundamental reason for underdevelopment. Adequately addressing a development problem requires analysing the underlying causes of that problem, and proposing a solution that provides evidence and a clear logic – a theory of change – of what has been shown to be successful in overcoming the identified constraints.
IFAD constantly monitors the progress of its investment projects against established objectives and indicators. Development effectiveness requires that data collection systems are sufficiently planned at design and implemented along with the project to ensure that information on the success and limitations of projects is adequately collected. A set of Core Indicators (CIs) have been adopted to help us more accurately assess project results.
Status and supervision reports provide data for measuring and monitoring project performance during implementation, with results at output and outcome level being regularly measured and reported. Project completion reports self-assess performance and results at the end of a project. These are complemented by project evaluations that the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) at IFAD conducts on a sample basis. IFAD's Operational Results Management System (ORMS) supports reporting on projects' outputs and outcomes. The ORMS is a key part of the effort to streamline project cycle processes and enhance data analytics.
Upgrading country M&E capacities and systems is critical to our agenda for improved results management. IFAD has developed a three-pronged, innovative approach that addresses these local capacity challenges at different levels. The Programme in Rural Monitoring & Evaluation, known as “PRiME”, helps governments strengthen their M&E capabilities to develop M&E training in rural development that will be delivered to project staff. "AVANTI – Advancing Knowledge for Agricultural Impact" is another initiative that will enable our partners to assess in-country M&E systems in the rural sector in up to 20 countries with the aim of detecting shortfalls and elaborating concrete action plans to address them. The DELIVER Initiative, being piloted in 5 countries, works at the highest political level to improve results achievement in agriculture, by establishing high quality Delivery Units that will deliver results-based management in the National Ministries of Agriculture, President’s or Prime Minister’s offices.
IFAD's impact assessments foster the generation of high-quality evidence, ensuring objective impact assessments and reporting of the attributable impact of its operations, along with documenting lessons learned from IFAD-supported projects. IFAD employs rigorous approaches to directly assess impact, allowing for proper attribution of impact to IFAD's investments.
By aggregating the impact estimates from a critical mass of project-level impact assessments representing 15 per cent of IFAD's portfolio in every three-year replenishment cycle, and projecting them to all projects implemented within the same period, IFAD is able to measure its overall impact at corporate level. This is a unique approach among international organizations which allows IFAD to effectively communicate its results and contributions to achieving the SDGs.
Linking operations to corporate results reporting
The Report on IFAD’s Development Effectiveness (RIDE) is the Fund’s main corporate document reporting on institutional and development effectiveness. While it reports on progress against the indicators and targets in the Fund’s Results Management Framework (RMF), including impact indicators through the Impact Assessment Agenda, the main objective of the RIDE is to strengthen accountability and learning as well as identifying systemic issues that need attention for improving organizational performance and results.
The Annual Report on the Independent Evaluation (ARIE) is issued by IFAD’s Independent Office of Evaluation and examines IFAD's overall programme performance each year. It is IFAD's principal external accountability tool and allows us to monitor the effectiveness of our work. Until 2021 this report was called the Annual Report on Results and Impact of IFAD Operations (ARRI).