Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 10 May 2023 – The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Independent Evaluation Department (IEvD) organized a technical session with the Heads of Operations and representatives from the Arab Coordination Group (ACG) member institutions on the sidelines of the 2023 IsDB Group Annual Meetings.
During this event, the speakers stressed the need for the institutionalization of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) systems in their development interventions. Having strong MEL functions in place would provide the evidence needed to support decision-making during the implementation of projects, they argued.
Welcoming the participants, IsDB President and Group Chairman, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, stated: “Development organizations need to account for the use of resources and demonstrate both results and the added value of their work as they are operating in an environment that calls for impartial, valid and credible evidence on the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of their policies, programs, and activities”.
H.E. Dr. Al Jasser then assured that IsDB Group is committed to securing greater cooperation and synergy with its development partners and pooling more resources and smarter solutions to edge closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The opening remarks of this technical meeting were delivered by Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, Director General & CEO of the OPEC Fund for International Development, who said: “Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) are vital for effective development project implementation and resource utilization. Institutionalizing MEL functions into development financiers' DNA is essential for accountability, transparency, and achieving positive impacts. At the OPEC Fund, we're committed to implementing effective MEL practices, as demonstrated by our forthcoming Development Effectiveness Report.”
A keynote presentation was later delivered by Mr. Dugan Fraser, Head of the Global Evaluation Initiative (GEI) of the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group, focusing on how to build M&E systems, the benefits of strong M&E systems at country level, and how the GEI can contribute to bridging the knowledge gaps and building capacity in the MENA region and beyond.
The panel members also included Honorable Abdoul Salam Bello, Executive Director of the Africa Group II at the World Bank Group Board, who shed light on balancing global and regional perspectives on evidence building, and Eng. Mohammad Jamal Alsaati, Special Advisor to the IsDB President, discussing IsDB’s perspective on utilization of evidence as a powerful compass to shape well-targeted public policies, correct course and ultimately deliver better outcomes and development results. Other key discussants included the Heads of Operations and prominent executive level representatives from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGPD), and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED).