It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this important workshop on “Managing for Development Results (MfDR)”, which, aptly, we have embarked upon at a critical time in our economic life. In the wake of the worst recession and the most devastating hurricane to strike Saint Lucia in modern times, it cannot be “business as usual” in the management of our affairs. In particular, the extent to which we are successful will depend in no small measure on our approach to the management of the development process.
How best to manage resources for development is itself a question that has confronted policy makers everywhere for as long as society has existed. Various solutions have been suggested depending upon the particular circumstances. There is, of course, no single, absolute answer that holds true for all countries, at all times.
Nevertheless, it is generally accepted today that management must be result oriented and that its focus from beginning to end must be on outcomes, outputs and the impact on people. However, as acceptable as that view is to theoreticians, experts and specialists, it is far from being an integral part of management practice. Managing for results is not generally part of our business, administrative and governance culture. We are still enmeshed in outmoded paradigms which stifle creativity, waste scarce resources and ultimately fail to deliver desirable outcomes.
A major cultural shift in our thinking, attitudes and behavior at all levels of management in both public and private sectors is required if we are to achieve fundamental reform, and in particular if we are to begin to manage for development results.
Yet, profound change does not generally happen automatically or spontaneously. Deliberate action must be taken to carry out meaningful reform and this workshop is a key event in the process of bringing about the seed change necessary for moving to a system of managing for development results.
I note that in addition to reviewing the “MfDR” and “PRODEV” principles and tools, the participants in this workshop will examine the policy cycle, the establishment of results chains at national and sectoral levels and the development of key performance indicators.
Many years ago, the government of Saint Lucia introduced Programme Budgeting which required an understanding and use of the policy cycle, the setting of objectives, priorities and targets, and the development of appropriate performance indicators. The tools that were introduced seem to have fallen into disuse over the years. The programme budgeting approach was, in a sense, a precursor to the more effective system of budgeting and managing by results, and we ought not to lose sight of the fact that we have in the past had success in implementing some aspects of results oriented management. We can build on that experience. I fully expect your session on Results-based Budgeting scheduled for day two, to equip you with the appropriate tools, concrete skills and a thoroughly modern perspective.
Managing for Development Results is as applicable to our development partners in the private sector and to the private sector as a whole, as it is in the public sector. Throughout the society, results oriented management is ultimately about people, leadership and motivation. In practice, it is also about establishing appropriate systems, structures and strategies for the effective operation of individuals and entities in both the business and social spheres.
The effective implementation of “MfDR” at the country level will, inevitably, require four areas of concrete action: shared goals and strategies, performance based budgets, evidence-based decision making and public accountability. Each of those features has important policy implications, will raise difficult issues, can present overlapping options and alternatives that are not always clear-cut, and will require determined leadership.
As we undertake this reform, it will be necessary to build and maintain awareness and momentum by instituting outreach programmes and educating other branches of the public sector as well as private sector partners and the public, about “MfDR”. The requisite resources must also be identified and allocated accordingly.
The training that you will receive and the experiences you will inevitably share over the next two days must not be lost. Every effort must be made to replicate them throughout the public sector.
Before I close, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Caribbean Development Bank for collaborating with the Government of Saint Lucia in this very important initiative. As a Director of the Bank, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe the institutionalization of the MfDR tool at the CDB, and so the Bank comes with first-hand experience in the implementation of this programme.
Finally, I wish all participants a productive and successful workshop and look forward to the development dividend that can be expected from the ensuing changes, as we improve our capacity to manage for results.
I thank you.