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Asia Pacific Procurement Forum

1st CONSULTATIVE MEETING


Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines
August 24 to 25, 2009

Summary Findings from Questionnaire

A total of 53 completed questionnaires were received and processed; 43 from DMC participants (5 of
which were anonymous) out of a total 50 DMC attendees (or an 86% response rate), and 10 from donor
organizations, international financial institutions (IFIs), and civil society/non-government organizations
(CSOs/NGOs) translating to a 48% response rate.

Some DMCs with more than one participant submitted only one completed questionnaire. No
completed questionnaire was received from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Thailand, and Papua New
Guinea on record (i.e. DMC country was not identified, although the 5 anonymous questionnaires could
have come from any one of these DMCs).

There was an overwhelming concensus among DMCs favoring an Asia Pacific Procurement Forum. The
single non-committing position (but still not an outright “no”) came from a donor organization
representative who remained unconvinced at this stage as to the benefit of such a Forum.

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Topping the expected deliverables of the Asia Pacific Procurement Forum is “information exchange”,
accounting for a quarter share, and an area widely discussed across topics during the 2-day
consultations. Equally ranked of second importance are “inter-country dialogue” (which could be
argued as closely correlated to information exchange), “continuous training”, and “international support
in procurement reform”, although when the DMCs’ responses are taken separately, “continuous
training” came out the more important among these three. Lagging not so far behind are the responses
“topical reports” and “issues identification”.

Four DMCs provided additional comments, two of which could be grouped together with “information
exchange”, namely:

(i) common discussion (Sri Lanka), and


(ii) dealing experience (Georgia).

The Philippines suggested “performance appraisal” as a Forum deliverable. “Technical support” came
out of one anonymous (presumably a DMC) participant.

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In the overall analysis of responses to this question and as visually evident by the almost identical
portions of the top five pie chart segments, participants considered all suggested types of impact as of
comparative importance, with only slight variations among types. A quarter of total responses did point
to “successful procurement reform” as of primary importance.

Four additional suggestions were received under the “others” category, two from DMCs and another
two from donors/CSOs, namely:

1. Code of integrity in public service (Philippines)


2. Capacity development (Mongolia)
3. Increased access to information (Procurement Watch)
4. Procurement reform in decentralized models (Procurement Watch)

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More than a quarter of respondents identified “efficient funds utilization” as the most important type of
impact desired from ADB/foreign-aided projects in their respective jurisdiction. “Harmonization”,
“improved transparency”, and “better coordination” followed in slightly declining degrees of
importance, and reflecting exactly the collective perspective of DMCs.

The collective responses from donors/CSOs interestingly ranked “efficient funds utilization” and
“improved transparency” as of equal primary importance.

There was only one suggestion under the “others” category, from a DMC --- “no corruption”.

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Participants were generally agreed on what they thought the focus of the Forum should be. Two-thirds
of total responses were shared equally by the following two suggested answers: “country-specific issues
& challenges”, and “common goals & strategies”. This ranking was consistent between the DMCs
collectively, and the donors/CSOs collectively.

A total of five additional comments were provided under “others”, as follows:

1. Country presentations would be helpful (DMC)


2. Forum should have a clear vision and objectives (DMC)
3. Good people are more important than systems; how do we find and retain the best people?
(donor/CSO)
4. more stakeholders' participation; more dynamic & creative way of presenting; more workgroup
exercise; chance to share experiences (donor/CSO)
5. coordinated effort amongst other organizations doing similar initiative

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Question 4B – If we proceed with the Forum, what in your opinion should be avoided?

Despite being an open-ended question with no multiple choices provided, it was encouraging to receive
a total of 21 responses; 15 from DMCs and 6 from donors/IFIs/NGOs/CSOs. While the actual raw
responses are enumerated below, these can be summarized into a few highlights to be avoided, as
follows:
1. politics/politicization
2. a talk shop; long lectures/presentations, and duplication of activities of other similar fora
3. lack of focus; too much theoreticals --- less reality/relevance
4. partiality towards/against specific regions/countries
5. “cure-all” solutions; “push policy” not necessarily applicable to specific country’s situation
6. Frequent “changing of the guard” for the Forum/secretariat
7. Getting “hijacked” by NGOs/CSOs
8. Lack of continuity in training DMC procurement professionals
9. Doing away with traditional procurement methods
10. Not achieving targets/deliverables

Raw Responses/Comments from DMCs:


1. inclination towards any country or group
2. efforts on unspecified issues
3. doing away with traditional procurement methods
4. Politics
5. listening to the lecturers; more time should be allocated to share the issues of each country
6. political interest
7. lack of continuity in training of participants (different participants in succeeding training programs)
8. "push policy" that does not fit a particular member country; each is unique; sometimes, we can't generalize certain
policies to all member countries
9. missing out on targets/deliverables
10. too many undigested reports
11. Nothing
12. Avoid "one solution for all approaches". Countries should be given space to harmonize their laws according to the
realities without compromising transparency
13. Equal opportunity should be rendered to Pacific Island countries as issues affecting Asia may also apply to the Pacific
Islands.
14. frequent changing of person in charge of Forum
15. politicization of the procurement system

Raw Responses/Comments from Donor organizations/CSOs/NGOs:


1. a talking shop
2. to build up another group with extra admin and cost without any new outcome
3. (i) being hijacked by the NGOs; (ii) overseeing a follow-up mechanism; (iii) not having simple, measurable, achievable
and realistic indicators to measure its achievements
4. long presentations
5. duplication of activities already initiated by other organizations
6. less focus on theory but put more focus on actual implementation challenges

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Again, almost two-thirds of responses were shared almost equally by two suggested modes of Forum
management, namely: through a “steering committee” and through “regional & sub-regional groups”.
Although with a very slight variance, DMCs collectively favored “regional/sub-regional groups” over a
“steering committee”, while donors/CSOs favored it the other way around, and actually ranked
“advisory board” as second priority. “Tapping into existing forums” was clearly least favored by
everyone.

This last question elicited the most number of additional suggestions under the “others” category, as
follows:

From DMCs
1. executive body
2. strong secretariat
3. none (? --- presumably no specific management format is envisioned)
4. no (? --- presumably, management is not seen as necessary)
5. the way it is (i.e. as it is being observed during the consultative meeting)
6. any --- most important is effectivity
7. most effective delivery of issues

From Donor/CSOs
1. regional/sub-regional groups provide identification; steering committee handles planning;
advisory board provides overall direction to improve Forum
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