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Planning & Monitoring

Results-Based Management

As part of the Secretary-General’s drive to focus on results-based management, emphasizing results over output and thereby aiming to enhance transparency and programme delivery, ESCWA has adopted the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.

Plan -  refers to the setting of a strategic vision and operational frameworks

Do - represents the implementation of the annual strategy through work plans, which include ongoing performance monitoring

Check - refers to the assessment of results and recommended performance improvements

Act - represents the subsequent refinement of plans and the inclusion of findings into the planning cycle.


Planning gives an organization more control over the future. Planning is  deciding in advance what to do, why to do it, how to do it, when to do it, and who should do it. It is a management function that is necessary to ensure efficient and effective use of resources and the achievement of results within a specified time span. Planning and goal setting are important traits of an organization and bridges the gap from where the organization is to where it wants to be. Well-planned organizations achieve goals faster, adjust easier to change and grow more smoothly and faster than those that do not plan before implementation.

As the central process of thinking about the activities that are required to achieve a desired goal, planning is the first and most important step to achieve desired results and involves the creation and maintenance of strategies and tactics in the form of plans that help organizations achieve efficiency and effectiveness.

The organs of the United Nations Secretariat operate on annual plans and the vision of their activities is set out in the annual plan and budget. The Commissions plan reflects regional priorities and the needs of member countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. A broad array of stakeholders contribute to drafting the plan for the seven subprogrammes, which sets out strategy, objectives, results achieved and results planned for as well as the resources needed to achieve its objectives. After extensive consultation with member countries, the annual plan and budget is submitted to the United Nations General Assembly for approval.

Implementation and Monitoring

Monitoring is the regular collection and analysis of information to assist timely decision-making, ensure accountability and provide the basis for evaluation and learning. It is a continuing function that uses methodological data collection to assists managers of a project/programme in assessing the progress (implementation) and achievement of objectives (results).

In the context of the programme plan, monitoring is a management tool in support of timely and results-driven delivery of the commitments set out in the annual plan as approved by the General Assembly. To this end, indicators help to gauge whether or not progress has been made towards the planned results whereas the variance analysis of planned versus implemented deliverables increases transparency and accountability towards Member States.
ESCWA monitors the implementation of the Regular Programme of Work through an internal performance management system to compare and assess the level of programme performance in relation to the resources provided.

Continuous Learning and Improvement

Committed to building its reputation on its successes, ESCWA seeks tirelessly to identify areas for improvement. Programme performance information is used for accountability, knowledge-sharing and decision-making. In order to incorporate lessons learned from past experience into future working practices, ESCWA adopts formal management responses to evaluations, while the substantive programmes review recommendations and monitor agreed actions on a regular basis in collaboration with the Programme Planning Section.