(Originally published 4 May 2010)
The World Bank has launched a major new initiative to establish systematic in-depth training in performance budgeting, together with associated technical assistance and other services. The “CLEAR” initiative of the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) is in the process of establishing four regional centers around the world which will offer both generalist and specialist courses in performance budgeting. The courses are expected to be between one and three weeks in duration. This will fill a major gap, given that the training available today in performance budgeting essentially takes the form of ad hoc short seminars and workshops.
The CLEAR initiative is being supported by African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, as well as the World Bank. Its core focus is the improvement of public sector evaluation skills, and the regional centers will also offer courses in evaluation and other aspects of performance information and management.
I am grateful to have been asked by the World Bank to develop the performance budgeting courses, which are expected to get under way either late this year or next.
The four regional centers will be located in China, Africa, South Asia and Latin America. They will be based on existing universities or training institutions, one of which will be the reputed Asia-Pacific Finance and Development Center in Shanghai. The services of the centers are expected to be available to government agencies, development institutions, donor and civil society organizations, among other clients.
In the words of its initiators, the CLEAR initiative “responds to increasing government demands for applied monitoring and evaluation and performance management capacity-building support and to the current limited availability of relevant services in Latin America, Africa, East Asia, and South Asia”, as well as to the problem that “good quality programs and the pool of local experts are scarce” in these areas.