As part of the effort to evaluate and monitor the implementation of its current programme on poverty reduction popularly known as PARPA, the Government decided to set up the Poverty Observatory (PO). The PO is seen as a tool for both Government and its partners to follow-up the implementation of the PARPA, monitoring, evaluation and consultation processes envisaged within all actions intended for poverty reduction.
In this respect the PO is a consultative forum for monitoring the objectives, targets and action that have been specifically assigned to public and private sector within the context of PARPA. As a consultative body, PO is expected to support the Government and its partners in the supervision and coordination, and draw on the combined energies of all stakeholders.
On the 28 April 2003 the Government of Mozambique formally launched the forum of the Poverty Observatory and opened its first meeting. The meeting was opened by President Joachim Chissano. In his opening statement he spoke of the objectives of the PO as a forum for consultation between Government and development partners, internal and external. He spoke of the permanent status of the PO as a mechanism for interaction to address the problem of poverty. His address stressed the need to reduce poverty through socio-economic development as indicated in the programme of the government, PARPA.
The first session of PO chaired by the Minister of Planning and Finance, was attended by most Ministers as well as representatives from all ministries. The Governor of the Central Bank, Provincial Governors, the private sector and representatives of the civil society were also present. The meeting also hosted 20 donors including 17 bilaterals, the World Bank, the IMF and UNDP.
Most delegates recognized the government’s continued commitment to poverty eradication, to the implementation of economic reforms and the PARPA. Delegates agreed that the key challenge confronting Mozambique was that of poverty and need for the poor to benefit from the growth and expansion in the economy. Thus, the implementation of PARPA was seen as a key strategy for sustaining poverty reducing growth.
At the meeting, the Government presented the structure of the PO and its role as well as that of the required technical support from DNPO.
Objectives of the Poverty Observatory:
Broadly speaking, the PO is intended to provide guidance to Government and to ensure transparent interaction between Government and partners involved in the fight against poverty.
It is intended to have a permanent feature and to ensure that adequate data and information pertaining to the fight against poverty is effectively disseminated.
The main objective is to monitor and evaluate the performance in the implementation of PARPA by collection of data on progress achieved and analyzing the data to better orient required action, conducting studies, research, meetings, seminars and establishing data banks, documenting experiences of best practices as well as publications. The PO will be expected to make suggestions to Government in order to promote the greatest impact of the implementation of the PARPA.
Composition of the Poverty Observatory
The PO is made up of two grouping from an ad hoc advisory group to be known as the Opinion Council and a permanent body known as the Technical Secretariat.
The Opinion Council is made up of 60 members representing the central bodies of the State, civil society organizations, and from international development partners. More specifically, the breakdown is as follows, out of the 60 members, 24 are from selected government bodies and ministries, such as Planning and Finance, Health, Education, Agriculture, State Administration, Justice, the Central Bank, and the National Institute of Statistics, and the DNPO with its special position in the Technical Secretariat of the Poverty Observatory.
The remaining 36 members are from civil society organizations, academic community, as well as religious organizations, trade unions, private business community, and international development partners.
As part of the institutional responsibilities of the Ministry of Planning and Finance under the coordination of the preparation of the PARPA and other economic and inter-sectoral instruments, MPF will support the workings of the PO through a Technical Secretariat which is to established within the DNPO.
The Secretariat activities will be carried out by the DNPO which will ensure that it caters for all logistical needs of the PO. Other assignments include:
Coordination of the work undertaken by relevant ministries in the implementation of the medium and short term planning instruments and support data and information collection and their analysis to ensure the smooth functioning of the PO;
Collaborate with Government and non-governmental members in their support for PARPA.
Propose research and studies on poverty and social development relevant to the work of the PO.
Collect and disseminate examples of good practices in the fight against poverty.
UNDP, through a project titled “Support to PARPA’s Monitoring and Evaluation System” will assist the Secretariat of the PO in the following activities:
Capacity building of technical secretariat of the Poverty Observatory (OP) for poverty monitoring and MDGs performance tracking.
establishment/strengthening of poverty monitoring information systems at provincial level;
poverty related strategic and impact evaluation studies.
nationwide sensitization and dissemination of PARPA and MDGs.
revision and updating of PARPA with a focus on mainstreaming of cross-cutting issues (HIV/AIDS, Gender, ICT, demining and disaster prevention and management) in the PARPA and integration of the MDGs.