Monitoring, evaluation and reporting

Monitoring, evaluation and reporting for Basin Development Strategy

An integrated monitoring, evaluation and reporting system (MRC’s state of basin monitoring system) has been established to track the implementation of the BDS 2021-2030. The system will have a practical dashboard to provide planners, decision makers, funders and other stakeholders with: (a) information about the overall health of the Mekong River Basin in five dimensions (environment, social, economic, climate and cooperation); (b) status and trends on key indicators that the BDS Outcomes and Outputs are trying to address, such as water flow and quality, food security, value of water sectors, climate resilience, and cooperation value and benefits; and (c) the contributions that are being made to the relevant SDG targets.

Sample representation of the MRC’s dashboard for monitoring the status and trends in conditions across the basin

Monitoring, evaluation and reporting for Strategic Plan

MRC’s results-based monitoring and evaluation framework is summarized. It combines the basin monitoring system and the organizational M&E system. The latter also tracks the contribution of national agencies (through monitoring of NIP implementation) and other regional cooperation mechanisms to the achievement of BDS Outputs and Outcomes, based on the regularly updated BDS. MRC’s basin monitoring system comprises of a dashboard traffic light and trend display of the BDS Outcomes and their contributions to relevant SDG targets. The Outcomes and SDG contributions will be assessed in the State of Basin Report (SOBR), which is updated every 5 years. The SOBR records and evaluates the development impacts, positive and negative, within the Mekong River Basin as a measure of the effectiveness of the implementation of the BDS. The SOBR quantifies the strategic and assessment indicators of the Mekong River Basin Indicator Framework (MRB-IF) and, as described in Section 6.5. The next update, which also evaluates the contributions to SDG targets, is in 2023. MRC’s organizational M&E system monitors and evaluates the implementation of this Strategic Plan in terms of inputs, activities, key deliverables, expenditures and Output indicators. The system monitors implementation progress against milestones and flags issues and concerns to the regular senior management meetings. Mid-year and annual reports are the main communication channels for monitoring, which is conducted internally by the lead divisions under the coordination of the MRCS OCEO’s M&E team. A team of independent external experts will be engaged for the assessment of the Output indicators and deliverables and the overall MRC SP implementation, including cost effectiveness at mid-term of the 5-year MRC SP cycles. The evaluation feeds into the next Strategic Plan that will be prepared in 2024 to contribute to the remaining BDS for 2026-2030.

MRC's reporting system

Mid-Year Report: (total amount to be issued: 5) Once the first rolling multi-year work plan is approved by the Council, activity implementation will begin. Progress in implementing tasks (to implement the activities and delivering the planned deliverables and expenditures will be reported every mid-year. The status of tasks will be assessed (on track or delayed) and issues and challenges will be reported to the Budget Committee and actions recommended to adapt the Multi-Year Work Plan. Annual Report: (total amount to be issued: 5) Midway and at the end of each two-year work plan cycle, an Annual Report will be issued to report progress in terms of delivery of key deliverables and achievement of Output indicators, based on completion of tasks. The Annual Report will also include a section on financial status. The annual reports may include a section on the contribution of other regional cooperation mechanisms and partners to BDS Outputs. The final Annual Report (2025) will double as the MRC SP 2021-2025 Completion Report.

Mid-Term Review Report 2023 (total amount to be issued: 1): Half-way through the Strategic Plan implementation cycle (2.5 years), a Mid-Term Review will be undertaken by a team of independent experts to assess the achievement of the Plan so far, the synergy and challenges among the implementation units, the overall MRCS with Member Countries, and partners, as well as the resources spent and benefits received. Recommendations will be made to re-orient the SP to avoid possible risks for the remaining years and to achieve its most relevant deliverables, activities and indicators. Recommendations on indicator improvement can also be made at this review session. The review will also assess the contribution of other regional cooperation mechanisms to BDS Outputs and Outcomes. Strategic Plan Completion Report 2025 (total amount to be issued: 1): The final AR 2025 will be expanded and double as the Completion Report for the MRC SP cycle, assessing the overall achievements under this MRC SP. To complete the report, the MRCS will work with Member Countries, partners and stakeholders to document successes and difficulties, through Outcome reflection workshops and interviews. The cost-effectiveness of the implementation will also be determined. The overall implementation process, the most significant changes and story-based practices that bring results (both positive and negative) can also be documented to serve as the MRC knowledge base.

Monitoring and evaluation framework for BDS and MRC SP

Issues of interest




Contribution to implementation of SDGs

Methodology: Five-yearly updating of the State of Basin Report (next 2023)

Parameters: The SDG targets that are relevant to Mekong river basin management

Function: SDG monitoring

BDS Outcomes & Outputs (Basin status and trends)

Methodology: Dashboard which tracks progress towards Outcomes and Outputs based on the 5-yearly updated State of Basin Report

Parameters: Strategic and assessment indicators of the Mekong River Basin Indicator Framework (MRB-IF)

Function: Mekong River Basin monitoring

MRC contributions to BDS Outputs and Outcomes (Results, Interim Outcomes)


Assessment of the quality of the Output produced Level of benefits and change through MRC interventions Value for money/C&B analysis MRC Annual Report, Mid Term Review Report


Output indicators in MRC SP MRC deliverables

Function: Organizational Monitoring & Evaluation (internal & external)

MRC tasks implementation (for activities and deliverables)


Dashboard that tracks progress against deliverables and flags issues to management MRC Annual Report, MRC Mid-Year Report


MRC tasks Rolling multi-year work plan with deliverables, budgets, etc.

Function: Organizational Monitoring

MRC Budgets and Expenditures


Integrated with task implementation above Mid-Year Report, Annual Report, External Audit Report


Rolling multi-year workplan with budgets, cash flow planning Accrual accounting

Function: Organizational Monitoring

Gender aspects


Verification of gender aspects reflected in relevant Outputs and activities implementation MRC Annual Report, Mid Term Review Report


Collected gender-disaggregated data Gender Output indicators for MRC


Organizational Monitoring & Evaluation (internal & external)

Contribution by others to BDS Outcomes and Outputs


Expert Group on Strategy and Partnership meeting MRC Annual Report, Mid Term Review Report, MRC SP Completion Report

Parameters: Activities, projects and programmes listed

Function: Organizational Monitoring & Evaluation (internal & external)

Output Indicators for MRC. The BDS Outcomes seek to describe the resulting end state that basin countries would like to see by 2030. Their achievement will be evaluated using the strategic and assessment Indicators of the MRB-IF. The Outputs, which would be implemented by all relevant actors including MRC, are the immediate results necessary for producing one of the Outcomes through an identified impact pathway. This takes a more subjective survey-based approach to periodically assess the extent that Outputs have been taken-up and utilized and are influential in attaining BDS Outcomes. For MRC, the Output indicators and their scheduled emergence are defined in Table 9.3 below. The indicators generally comprise two aspects: 1) A measure to signify that the Output has been delivered to the end user, for example the agreement or approval of a regional strategy or guideline by MRC governance bodies, through which relevant national line or implementing agency is consulted, which is relatively easy to assess. 2) A more subjective assessment of the quality of the Output that is contributed by MRC and the extent it has been taken up in the national governance and planning system, which is inherently more difficult to assess as they relate behavioural, policy and institutional change that typically occurs over a longer time frame.