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About Managing for Development Results

Managing for development results (MfDR) is a management strategy that focuses on using performance information to improve decision-making. MfDR involves using practical tools for strategic planning, risk management, progress monitoring, and outcome evaluation.

Today’s results agenda has its roots in the Millennium Development Goals. When the international community agreed to focus on addressing seven specific aspects of poverty, the inevitable question arose: How will we know we have succeeded?


At the International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico (2002), the international community agreed that it would be important to provide more financing for development – but more money alone was not enough. Donors and partner countries alike wanted to know that aid would be used as effectively as possible, and they wanted to be able to see that it was, in fact, making a difference. This threw into sharp relief the need to measure results throughout the development process, as well as the need to demonstrate that results were achieved. (See the statement issued at Monterrey by the Presidents of the multilateral development banks.) Soon afterward, the World Bank convened an International Roundtable on Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing for Results (2002), at which development practitioners grappled with concepts, approaches, and practical issues related to getting development results.

At the Second International Roundtable on Managing for Development Results, in Marrakech, Morocco (2004), more than 60 representatives of partner countries met with representatives of bilateral and multilateral development agencies to discuss the challenges of managing for development results (MfDR). Participants endorsed a set of core principles on how best to support partner countries’ efforts to manage for results, and agreed on a costed and time-bound action plan for improving national and international statistics – without which baselines cannot be established and progress cannot be measured.

At the Paris High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2005), 60 partner countries and 60 donor agencies endorsed the Paris Declaration, committing to specific action to further country ownership, harmonization, alignment, managing for development results, and mutual accountability for the use of aid. Please visit Aid Harmonization for more information.

In 2007, the Third Roundtable on Managing for Development Results in Hanoi, Vietnam, focused on country-to-country learning. Representatives from 45 countries, 32 development agencies, and 30 civil society and private sector partners shared experiences and charted a course for continuing efforts.

In 2008 the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness took place in Accra with the participation of about 1.700 participants, including more than 100 ministries and heads of agencies from developing and donor countries, emerging economies, UN and multilateral institutions, global funds, foundations, and 80 civil society organizations. The high-level engagement at Accra helped bring about the Accra Agenda for Action which expressed the international community's commitment to further increase aid effectiveness.

Areas of Action

In the global community, action on MfDR is taking place in three broad areas:

1. Strengthening Country Capacity to Manage for Results. The quest for development results begins with developing countries, which must manage their development processes to achieve the outcomes they want. They need to define the results they want to attain and—working in partnership with development agencies, civil society, and other stakeholders—design policies and programs to achieve those results. Countries need information on which to base this work, and statistical capacity and monitoring and evaluation systems to generate the information. The role of development agencies is to support developing countries in strengthening their capacity to manage for development results.

2. Improving the Relevance and Effectiveness of Aid. For most development agencies, managing for development results means going beyond their traditional focus on input delivery and output quality to focus on the achievement of outcomes—that is, a more explicit consideration of the contribution that an agency makes to country results. To this end, agencies are introducing results frameworks into their cooperation strategies and programs, shifting their internal incentives to focus on sustainable country results, and developing reporting systems on results.

3. Fostering a Global Partnership. Some of the greatest challenges in managing for development results can be best addressed through a global partnership—for example, a global effort is needed to support countries in generating reliable and timely data to assess progress on the Millennium Development Goals and other country goals; to strengthen international reporting mechanisms; and reduce the burden on countries of multiple, agency-driven reporting requirements and monitoring and evaluation systems. Through partnership, the international community can make it easier for developing countries to manage for results.