WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) urged international development partners to invest in enabling local capacities of developing countries in policy analysis and program management for poverty reduction efforts.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan made this statement during the session of the World Bank Group – International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2014 Spring Meetings on “Ending Poverty: How Should the World Bank Group Measure its Contribution?” on April 11, 2014.

Balisacan underscored the unique ability of international development organizations in mobilizing talents and expertise for the generation of global public goods and services.

“In development organizations such as the World Bank, there is a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise in poverty reduction, particularly on what works and what does not in this area,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

“A ‘one size fits all’ approach to poverty reduction hardly works in practice. But improving the access of developing countries, especially the least developed ones, to this reservoir of expertise is key to understanding the contribution of development partners to poverty reduction,” he emphasized.

Balisacan also emphasized the need for more timely and comprehensive data that are useful for policy makers and program administrators interested in targeting the poor and providing them basic services.

“Data are public goods and I think that if we can do this for the least developed countries and focus on data generation on these countries, we will be able to advance the poverty reduction goals,” he said.

“We need to invest in good data because from my perspective as a policy maker, the rates of return are very high and the cost is not so much. The power of data when used properly in advocacy and for reforms cannot be underestimated,” Balisacan concluded.

The World Bank-IMF session aimed at taking a forward-looking approach to stimulate thinking on what needs to be accomplished in measuring progress against its poverty reduction goals and who are best placed to implement these measures.

Panelists who joined Balisacan during the World Bank session were: Stefan Dercon, Chief Economist from the Department for International Development, United Kingdom; Nora Lustig, Professor of Latin American Economics from Tulane University; and Martin Ravallion, Professor of Economics from Georgetown University.