DESA News Vol. 13, No. 01 January 2009

Technical cooperation

Combating rural poverty

Capacity development workshop in Bangkok from 28 to 30 January will focus on improving agricultural productivity and efficient usage of water for the rural poor

More recently, the world has witnessed unprecedented rise in food prices, leading to social tensions in many countries. Estimates suggest that the total number of malnourished people worldwide could rise to 967 million in 2008, up from 923 million in 2007. In addition, a large number of developing countries are struggling to address the macroeconomic impact of high domestic food prices and inflationary pressure, as well as increased import expenditure. The food security challenges facing Africa particularly threatens the progress on achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Furthermore, Water is a crucial resource in developing the productivity and resilience of the agricultural sector. Many countries are confronted with the challenge of water scarcity. Future sustainability of agriculture largely depends upon how water management in this sector is dealt with. In this regard, introducing technological innovations and implementing demand management measures are critical to enhance agricultural production and to alleviate water poverty in water using sectors other than agriculture.

In addition, reducing rural poverty is an important development challenge, since over one billion people live in rural areas and many of them do not have access to basic social services such as health, education, water, sanitation and modern energy sources. Markets remain underdeveloped, and infrastructure development has not kept pace with population growth. Participation of stakeholders in the development and implementation of rural development programmes will strengthen the sense of ownership at the implementation level.

For this purpose, DESA in collaboration with the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is organizing a workshop on “Improving Agricultural Productivity, Water Use Efficiency and Strengthening Rural Livelihoods” from 28-30 January in Bangkok. The workshop will bring together senior government policy makers, representatives of local authorities, officials from the United Nations system, researchers and experts, as well as practitioners, to share lessons learned and best practices in combating rural poverty.

The workshop will focus on agricultural development and food security, improving agricultural water management and strengthening rural livelihoods. It will also discuss how to improve land use planning and management and regional approaches to sustainable agriculture and rural development. The outcomes of the workshop will serve as important inputs to the deliberations of the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in February 2009.

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Developing indicators for performance monitoring

DESA workshop was held in Nairobi from 15 to 17 December to promote knowledge and awareness of results based monitoring and evaluation

Capacity building in monitoring and evaluation on results basis is a key requirement to achieve national development goals, including the goals of the Millennium Declaration. At national and community levels, agencies and institutions have been set-up to carry out a number of functions and activities which, if efficiently executed, would improve the livelihood of the population, thus reduce e poverty.

In order to ensure that agencies and institutions will perform to the level expected from them, it is essential to have the proper performance monitoring and evaluation tools in place, in addition to a Strategic Results Framework (SRF). Most developing countries, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa, lack both the SRF for their institutions, and even those which have such institutional framework, lack the necessary tools that would enable them to monitor and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the institutions, on the basis of concrete impact and results.

To further promote knowledge and awareness of Results Based Monitoring and Evaluation (RBME) as an effective tool for performance measurement of agencies, institutions and programmes, DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management in collaboration with the UNDP and UNCRD Africa Office and with the support of the Kenyan Government organized a workshop on “Development of Indicators for Performance Monitoring” from 15 to 17 December in Nairobi.

The workshop also provided a platform for participants to enhance their capacities in linking performance indicators and translating to MDG targets at the national level. It addressed various methodological issues in RBME and articulated the importance of linking progress in MDGs implementation with outcome, impact and results of national agencies, institutions, policies and programmes.

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