When Carlos Acosta, Coordination Officer, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator - Panama, joined the country task force to monitor the current Panama UNDAF 2007-20111, he quickly realized that the task set before him was nearly impossible.
“The Results-Based Management (RBM) movement has made us all recognize the importance of better programme monitoring. For the team in Panama, it has been very difficult to monitor the current UNDAF, because some of its indicators are not measurable at all,” lamented Acosta.
“In fact, an independent evaluation of the current UNDAF demonstrated that most of the indicators are vague and unclear,” he continued. “And there are many indicators that we wish we had information on, but for which the data simply do not exist.”
At the suggestion of a colleague, Acosta agreed to attend a global training workshop in Turin, Italy held in September 2011 that focused on the use of DevInfo technology for UNDAF monitoring. There, he learned for the first time aboutdi Monitoring, a web-based data management tool designed to facilitate the tracking of development plans.
“The training came at exactly the right time!” explained Acosta, who during one of the morning workshop sessions was able to create by himself a customized online Panama UNDAF 2012-2015 framework within di Monitoring. Within a couple of hours, he had also finished entering details for the 28 new Panama UNDAF indicators which had recently been endorsed at the country level.
Acosta left Turin tremendously excited about the take-away value of what he had learned. “Until now, there was no system in place to monitor our UNDAF commitments, and we had thought of creating such a system from scratch. But now, with the customized Panama UNDAF 2012-2015 framework already entered into di Monitoring, we don’t need to look for any other solution.”
Upon his return home, Acosta put together a country protocol on how to monitor the next UNDAF cycle, beginning in 2012. Focal points from different agencies will be assigned responsibility for updating the various UNDAF indicators twice a year, using di Monitoring as the common online platform for entering, tracking and reporting data.
“I’ve already spoken to seven UN agencies in Panama about di Monitoring,” he added. “Once they start using it, they will realize how easy it is to use, and how it can help them accomplish many things.”
Data making a difference.
For more information, please contact Carlos Acosta, Coordination Officer, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator - Panama, at email@example.com.
1 The United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is a joint programme document between a government and the United Nations Country Team that describes the collective actions and strategies of the United Nations to achieve national development.