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 ZHAO Min: Thinkings for Overcoming Deficiencies in Evaluation Capacity in China 

In recent years, driven by the strong domestic need of improving the performance of government, the public demands for political transparency, and the pressure of strengthening the institutional and personnel capacity building, China has seen a marked upsurge in demand for design and implementation of result-based evaluation and put great efforts to establish a complete result-based system among the government sectors to notice the input-output efficiency, comprehend outcome, and long-term effects based on management for development results since 1978.

As an important emerging country in the world, China has already been on its way of spreading monitoring and evaluation culture with the cooperation of the WB and ADB. A lot of experts from universities and institutes are studying on setting up appropriate evaluation theories, methods, techniques, as well as indicator systems to promote the practice of development management. However during the way of building their own results-based development management system, China like other developing countries is facing great challenges like lacking internal political demand, necessary budget arrangement for system construction, incomplete law system, opacity of auditing and budgeting process, short-term policy planning, difficulties in inter-ministerial cooperation, and insufficient evaluation capacity.

1. Challenges from Different Sides

(1) Challenges from institutional capacity. China has less developed financial, budgetary, and accounting systems, which bring vague knowledge of the allocation of resources. Because different government departments have different benefits and goals, as well as their weak capacity of development evaluation, it is hard to plan the resource allocation as a whole. The capacity for a results-based system includes the ability to measure inputs, activities, and outputs.

(2) Challenges from technique and capacities. Sound technical skills in data collection and analysis, as well as the matched managerial skills in strategic goal setting and organizational development are necessary for M&E system’s sustainability. Prevalently short of basic data base, statistics system, and e-financial budgeting system, as well as well-trained human resources of data collecting, monitoring and analyzing are the strong baffles of improving evaluation capacity. In order to better management, information and data should be valid and available while most developing countries prefer not to collect, analyze, disclose and share data base. However, some projects only have temporary offices and employees, and when the projects are shut down it is hard to call these people and information back. Sometimes, many officials like to make false data to blandish their superiors.

2. Recommendations and Suggestions

In view of these situations and challenges, some measures or approaches could be taken to enhancing capacity in the future.

(1) Winning more support from senior officials. To achieve real benefits, the M&E system constructing needs the political and financial support from seniors. To provide performance information and results to senior management and program managers is fundamental for them to gauge the success of their efforts and adjust policies and programs when needed.

(2) Introducing more technical assistance. As important knowledge tanks, the WB and ADB have very abundant information, experience, and experts of evaluation which could be shared with the developing countries. Furthermore, some OECD countries have best practice in strengthening accountability for results at projects, stimulating improved managerial performance and introducing the disciplines of relevant benchmarking at all management levels.

(3) Enhancing t

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