The issues in question are the consultation strategy and plans and the exercise of monitoring and evaluation with its information dissemination and incorporation into the planning process.
The issue of consultation
As mentioned above the consultation process around the preparation of the final draft of PARPA though new as a procedure in the auscultation of the wider public opinion was considered satisfactory but it was deemed as having still scope to increase the legitimacy of the document as some actors had not been either included or present (Annex 2, Gov.of MoР·ambique : xxx).
Private sector contribution prevailed over civil society said to be due to their better organization and preparedness in scheduling meetings with the Ministry of Planning and Finance. Civil society participation was further undermined as late meeting' contributions (view the HIPC deadlines) could not be included. It precluded absorption of issues put across by academics involved in gender and land tenure matters.
Discussion with some partners were found difficult by the Ministry officers either because their information basis on internal and external factors constraining the state in fulfilling its role was considered not sufficient or because often their interventions reflected a partial, focused on specific interest (corporation) rather than a more global and systematic view.
It was further compounded by the call for the institutionalization of the consultation process. Others voiced negotiation rather consultation and joint decision making in allocation of resources. Furthermore, judicial reform, concrete plan for fighting corruption, better access to credit to rising entrepreneurs and micro credit in rural areas were issues in discussion.
A matrix plotting demands by subject and institutional actor was elaborated on the basis of the information gathered. This matrix was referred by official sources as fulfilling a subsidiary role for planners by exposing an array of structural and circumstantial issues identified by non-government partners to be addressed by the State within public policy and daily management of the economy and social life to improve interaction with other economic agents and social agents (Anexo 2, Gov. de MoР·ambique:5).
Issues in methodology to render meetings more effective were recorded to be included in future procedures and have contributed with other knowledge on partners and the issues in question to the design of a strategy for consultation within the PARPA framework.
There was not much consultation after completion of the final draft in early 2001. Different readings cropped up in the understanding of limited consultation taking place in the process of re-drafting the interim PRSP into its final form.
Time constraints due to HIPC deadlines were already alluded to but sources close to the government also mentioned 'planning fatigue' in lower levels and concerns with raising expectations not met and dissatisfaction on the part of the population (Falck and Landfald, 2000).
This view contrasts with civil society perspective (McCarthy Eugene, 2001) where concerns are focused on constraints due to dispersion of the population settlements, difficult communications due to weak road infrastructure, and documents presented in the official language - Portuguese -that most rural population cannot understand. Civil society organizations are considered weak with loose networking. Apprehension of government in areas with political dominance of the opposition party could have deterred further consultations.
So, a deficit in consultation intended to the appropriation of PARPA mostly attributed to debt relief deadlines is yet to be addressed within the model of consultations. A policy paper and mechanisms for cooperation with civil society organizations was developed to add to existing sector mechanisms and an expansion of the participatory integrated district planning experience in Nampula (GoM, 2001: 33).
The issue of monitoring and evaluation
The strategy and institutional framework
Monitoring strategy described in PARPA comprises of input monitoring, process and outcomes monitoring and impact monitoring.
Input and process monitoring refer to budgeting and resource allocation and the degree of implementation of actions. Bottlenecks in the process and efficiency would be assessed through intermediate and outcome indicators using institutional channels, assuming all actions to fall under government sectors (permanent co-ordination).
Changes in population's welfare and poverty status concern impact monitoring. A quantitative methodology format (QUIBB - Welfare quality indicators) will be implemented on annual basis by INE (National Institute of Statistics - former statistics unit in National Planning Commission and not long ago the sole legal national data collector).
Studies using qualitative methodology are to be conducted in partnership between study and research groups in the government, academic institutions and other organizations in civil society. Co-ordination of these institutions would be periodical during scheduled activities.
Evaluation is proposed at mid and the endpoint concerning public policies, the efficacy of the government engagement with other institutions in poverty reduction and the relevancy of adopted strategies.
The roles in evaluation are assigned with INE in data collection and analysis; University Eduardo Mondlane (public) in the analysis and report writing; study and research groups at the Ministry of Planning and Finance in editing and dissemination; government sectors to deepen the discussions and revise priorities; and civil society organizations to facilitate the debate, criticisms, and dissemination of results through their networks.
A matrix details process, product, responsible institutions and authority to submission for each activity. Common authorities for submission are the Observatory of Poverty and PARPA for consultation and Economic Council, Council of Ministers and the Parliament for decision-making.
The Observatory has representatives from civil society and donor community. Details on its operation and the Economic Council have still to be worked out. They both are at central level.
The strategy for dissemination of information is defined as decentralized in production, semi-decentralized in distribution, building up in a network of professionals linked to it with efficient use of information technology; and contracting out services and use of media.
In 2002 the agenda includes a state-owned and managed web page; appointment of a Mozambican observatory for public policies for a social and economic development for technical co-ordination; and printed information packages for teachers, health workers, agriculture extensionists, parliamentarians and general public, and materials for media programs.
A critique of the institutional framework
Participation of the private sector and civil society in monitoring and evaluation is greatly limited by the sector-wide approach of PARPA. The framework may easily lead to interpret their role as mere implementers.
Monitoring focus on efficiency of the process (internal) would allow evaluation to look into the efficacy (external) of the strategy in producing anticipated changes. The role of participants in monitoring and evaluation would be thus clarified.
The concentration on INE overburden with government demand for information narrows the scope for participation of academic institutions and organizations in civil society. Non-reliance on academic institutions in provincial capitals is more controversial. It reinforces central planning strategy and aggregated data analyses and interpretation.
This position runs counter to the vision within government of pro-poor services delivery that acknowledging the importance of steps in decentralization and community organization suggest the need of data for management at the point of delivery and evaluation of systems provision that the lack of flexibility of PARPA strategy do not cater for (Country Paper, AGF V, 2002).
The spelling of the methodology for incorporation of information from consultations can be of paramount importance in the engagement of civil society organizations and a complement to the government efforts in public sector reform in rendering local administration dutifully responsive and effective as reiterated at a recent UN sponsor meeting in Maputo (Country Paper, AGF V, 2002).
The civil society organizations called for the debate and dissemination of results in consultations could then contribute more fully in the design of interventions and participate in their implementation and hence build up social organization for development.
Furthermore, PARPA monitoring and evaluation strategy do not allow properly for regional differences. Poverty as a complex issue would be better served by a diversified web of relationships between researchers, activists and organizations of civil society with their local specification acting in conjunction with the government as a major actor.
Diverse methodologies sensitive to local specificities can be as much important as common ones in delivering interventions uplifting population living conditions, in promoting development and reducing poverty and regional asymmetries that was officially stated as a goal of the government in the above mentioned meeting (Country Paper, AGF V, 2002).
The dissemination strategy does neglect in consonance with the information production the conditions in the periphery. No specifications included consider local language, the low literacy rate and social marginalization associated with poverty.
The experience of 'Campanha Terra' seems here appropriate to mention for its success in mobilizing and organizing civil society, and for dealing with land tenure issues in a country where 70% of the population is rural and 80% depends on agriculture. It has turned into a Forum Terra organization valuing highly local ownership and respect for diversity.
A partnership to extend coverage of actions could be mutually beneficial. The deepening of state administration that is anticipated would be strengthened while enabling participants to fulfil their role as acting citizens and promoting civic organization.