CARICOM: Manage by Results! (To cure “implementation deficit disorder”)
Montserrat Reporter, Montserrat – CARICOM and its fifteen member states (including Montserrat) have long struggled with “implementation deficit disorder.” Such a region-wide problem has to be tackled on a regional basis, and CARICOM has set out to do just that.
Accordingly, the fifteen member Caribbean regional body has undertaken a CDB-funded US$ 600,000 project with Baastel, a sustainable development oriented consultancy firm, in order to improve delivery of strategic results. Mr Evan Green (Baastel’s vice-president of Results Based Management [RBM] and disaster risk management), is therefore helping the region to create a “CARICOM Gender Sensitive Results-Based Management System.”
This is why a four-member high level CARICOM delegation recently visited Montserrat as part of a regional series  of meetings and seminars on RBM. The delegation was led by Ambassador Dr Manorma Soeknandan, CARICOM’s Deputy Secretary General. The delegation was hosted through the Office of the Premier and held consultations with Government, Legislators, the Senior Civil Service and also with representatives of Civil Society on Monday, November 26th 2018. TMR was invited, and we now share our observations.
In his remarks, His Excellency Governor Pearce emphasised the need to drastically simplify delay-prone bureaucratic procedures and to break the cycle of chained consultancies on consultancies on consultancies. For example, “if you want to go on leave you fill in a form and then it has to go round about 10 people. By the time it eventually comes back to you to confirm you can go on leave you’re near retirement.” Likewise, “there are consultancy reports analyzing previous consultancies going back decades; and there’s a consultancy on every conceivable thing you can think of.” (The Governor’s remarks were picked up in news reports and have sparked a wider public discussion, as TMR has reported.)
Premier Romeo then emphasised the ongoing, much needed shift to a more results-based expedited implementation of priority projects and programmes that consults with and is accountable to stakeholders. Including, voters.
Ambassador Dr Soeknandan gave introductory remarks on the behalf of CARICOM. She pointed to the “implementation deficit disorder” and noted that CARICOM is not a third party in the region, we are Caricom. In July 2014 CARICOM adopted a five-year strategic plan aimed at economic growth, reducing environmental vulnerability, integration, better communication and equity for all. Resource Based Management (RBM) seeks to shift focus and assessments from activities (such as training) towards achieving strategic results. RBM is based on accountability for results, including to our taxpayers.
Mr. Craig Beresford, Director of CARICOM’s Strategic Management Unit, summarised the CARICOM Strategic Plan 2015 – 19. He noted that many stakeholders across the region do not feel the presence and benefits of CARICOM, pointing to communication/ awareness and effectiveness issues. Effects of the 2008 – 9 global economic crisis linger across the region. Environmental vulnerability can be seen from how the 2017 hurricane wiped out a year’s GDP for Dominica. Regional decision-making is weak and slow, e.g. a regional rights agreement took fourteen years to complete. The region is not short on plans, implementation is a key gap. Going forward a logical framework approach and a scorecard system will increase accountability.
Consultant Mr. Evan Green then made a slide presentation on Results Based Management. RBM moves beyond the pattern of twenty years ago where the focus was on what was done rather than what was achieved. At that time, the number one progress indicator for many projects was “number of people trained,” and the number two indicator was “number of workshops held.” Instead, RBM emphasises accountability over delivering strategic results and benefits to stakeholders.
RBM has thus become the preferred approach of International Development Partners (aka donor agencies), many states and Non-Government Organisations.
Considered from a life cycle point of view, in RBM there is an outer loop of planning, monitoring and evaluation. (This loop is common to all management.) Stakeholder participation is at the pivot. The RMB cycle has five phases:
2] Defining the results map and RBM framework
3] Planning for monitoring and evaluation
4] Implementation with monitoring
5] Managing that uses evaluation
Results-based Management (RBM) also incorporates Project Cycle Management  and Management of Programmes of Action as components. It also makes use of logical framework  (“log frame”) tools and scorecards that track achievement of results. CARICOM is emphasising gender concerns in all of this process.
The “log frame” project and programme planning approaches focus on inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and long-term impacts on the economy, our society and our natural environment. There is also an emphasis on using open source information technology tools and on common standards.
CARICOM’s top-level priorities are:
1] Economic: sustainable, resilient growth
2] Social: improved quality of life for all
3] Environmental: reduced vulnerability
4] Technology: innovative, ICT-enabled economies and society
5] CARICOM Identity/Community: an integrated community with equity for all
6] Governance: strengthening community governance
7] Co-ordinated International Relations: CARICOM is favourably positioned in the global community.
In order to successfully implement RBM and achieve these results, capacity has to be built both in CARICOM and in member countries. Including, here in Montserrat.
After the presentations, the session was opened up for a question and discussion period, as part of the needed stakeholder participation. Much of that discussion highlighted a communication deficit, so that people do not “feel” CARICOM’s presence and impacts. Indeed, some people who work with or use services of CARICOM agencies do not recognise that these bodies are CARICOM at work – “CARICOM” lacks brand recognition. Another concern was the tendency of international development partners to specifically exclude Overseas Territories such as Montserrat from funding on grounds that they should look to the UK or the like; though there are notable exceptions such as a recent fisheries project. Montserratian Officials pointed out that it is then a considerable challenge to negotiate line by line for replacement funding.
Clearly, Results Based Management is a major CARICOM thrust. One, that calls us to work together to address our region’s implementation deficit disorder.
 See TMR, Dec 14 2018, p. 1: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/development-stifled-and-public-service/
 See https://idscs.org.mk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/WEB-Handbook-for-EU-Project-Design-and-Project-Cycle-Management-1.pdf, also: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/methodology-aid-delivery-methods-project-cycle-management-200403_en_2.pdf