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Lessons Learned from the Latin American Experience: The MECOVI Program Haeduck Lee and Jose Antonio Mejia June 5, 2003 ________________________________________.

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Presentation on theme: "Lessons Learned from the Latin American Experience: The MECOVI Program Haeduck Lee and Jose Antonio Mejia June 5, 2003 ________________________________________."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lessons Learned from the Latin American Experience: The MECOVI Program Haeduck Lee and Jose Antonio Mejia June 5, 2003 ________________________________________ Presented at the International Conference “Improving Statistics for Measuring Development Outcomes” that took place June 4-5, 2003 in Washington, D.C. MECOVI is short for “Programa para el Mejoramiento de las Encuestas y la Medición de Condiciones de Vida”, the Spanish translation for the Program for Improvement of the Surveys of Living Conditions (ISLC). IBRDIDB UN-ECLAC

2 A Road Map for Improvements Diagnostics of pre-MECOVI conditions A shared vision for change Program description Results by program component Better data for better measurement Lessons in program design and implementation Lessons and challenges for the future to improve statistics for measuring development outcomes

3 Diagnostics of Country Capacity Anatomy of perpetuation of weak capacity –A vicious circle of low-quality data, low data utilization, lack of credibility and low prestige, chronic shortage of funds, low investment and maintenance of statistical capacity, low-quality data, etc. Key indicators of weak capacity and low quality –Incomplete coverage – substance and geography –High non-sampling errors during survey execution –Excessive time lag between data collection and publication of results –Lack of open data access policy at the unit-record level –Low utilization of the data for research and policy work

4 State of the Play Donor community not part of the solution, but part of the problem –More interested in pushing for short-term agenda by financing quick-fix data gathering activities, sometimes by-passing the NSOs –Less interested in coordinating with wider group of development partners to help build the lasting capacity Marginalization of National Statistical Offices (NSOs)

5 A Shared Vision for Change A multi-year program instead of a one-shot project with a view to building sustainable capacity Breaking the vicious circle with intervention at various entry points Program design builds on the profile of existing country capacity and statistical system Program sponsors offer resources according to respective strengths and comparative advantages Allocation of generous amount of resources for coordination and supervision of program activities All to ensure significant improvement of statistical capacity for household survey and poverty data

6 What is the MECOVI Program? Regional program of technical assistance for capacity building to improve the household surveys to measure living conditions and poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean Jointly launched in 1996 by IDB, World Bank and UN-ECLAC –Subsequently supported by other donors: UNDP, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, US, Japan, Soros Foundation, etc.

7 Program Objectives Improve quality, relevance and timeliness of household survey and poverty data Promote wide use of the improved data for research and policy analysis Promote open accessibility to the household survey and poverty data Improve survey methodologies and poverty analysis

8 Program Governance and Coordination Clear mechanism for governance, counsel, and inter-institutional coordination –Steering Committee (made up of IDB VP, World Bank LAC VP, UN-ECLAC Executive Secretary) decides and guides on key matters of policy, planning and resource mobilization. –Advisory Board provides input to technical issues –Program Coordinators handle day-to-day operational matters, including program coordination, project development, preparation and implementation, and fielding joint missions to supervise on-going operations

9 Results by Program Component A joint national MECOVI program of technical assistance operation in 10 countries: 10 regional seminars/workshops on survey methodologies & poverty measurement 9 regional training courses –270 participants from 20 countries ArgentinaBolivia Dominican Rep.Ecuador El SalvadorGuatemala HondurasNicaragua ParaguayPeru

10 Better Data for Better Measuring Development Outcomes Promotion of good practices in definitions, measurement, data collection and analysis (consultancies, workshops, training, etc.) LAC regional data bank made up of micro-data sets from 200+ household surveys – key input to country and regional reports: –World Bank -- Poverty Assessments and ESWs –IDB -- IPES –UN-ECLAC -- Social Panorama Comparability and standardization still elusive

11 Lessons in Program Design and Implementation: Country-Specific TA Programs NSOs in the driver’s seat and extensive consultation with key stakeholders at program preparation stage help create country buy-in and ownership More emphasis on building capacity to plan and implement surveys than on perfecting survey instruments Building on the existing capacity – start from the weakest link and move on to others Interaction of producers (supplier) and users (clients) of survey data increases long-term viability of the program – contribution of inter-institutional committee Promote “Culture of Statistics” and democratization of data access (open data access policy – pre-conditions for participation in MECOVI program)

12 Lessons in Program Design and Implementation: Regional training, workshops and data bank Regional workshops/seminars (UN-ECLAC-led) –learn the latest techniques from world experts –share and disseminate best practices –An excellent venue for peer learning, networking and organizing horizontal cooperation Regional training program courses (IDB, World Bank-led) –A structured knowledge building on survey strategies and methodologies, and poverty measurement Regional data bank (UN-ECLAC-led) –UN-ECLAC created the value added for data users by introducing standardized data labeling for household survey data sets –Data access and dissemination made easy

13 Further Lessons Fundamental changes in the concept of key deliverables by the NSO: –Relevant and high-quality data –Available on a timely basis to a wide group of users –Useful for measuring development outcomes Institutional commitment of the NSO to producing high-quality data creates a virtuous circle of: –Better data  Better publicity  Increased demand  Increased allocation of resources  Better data

14 Lessons and challenges for the future to improve statistics for measuring development outcomes MECOVI owes its success to country-ownership, exercise of leadership by MECOVI governing body, fulfillment of financial and institutional commitments by co-sponsor agencies, close program coordination (proximity of IDB and World Bank helped as well) MECOVI-like framework could serve as an international technical cooperation platform for mobilizing resources to improve other sector statistics or scaling up the statistical capacity building for the entire gamut of activities in the strategic statistical development plan Sustainability remains a challenge –No clear exit strategy at the program design stage (MECOVI) –Lack of administrative and financial autonomy compromises long-term viability of improved measurement of development outcomes

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