The broad range of structures, mandates and shareholders of IFIs working with the private sector means that there are many different systems used to track development results. The shared clients of these IFIs therefore often endure an unintended burden deriving from the IFIs’ different reporting requirements, including similar indicators (with different definitions) meant to capture the same data.
Efforts to mitigate this burden began in 2008, and progress accelerated 4 years later when over 20 IFIs formed a Working Group on Indicator Harmonization that agreed to benchmark indicators for private sector investment operations and seek examples of best practice for shared adoption. Over 400 indicators used by the IFIs involved in the effort were reviewed while the Working Group grew to include 25 IFIs.
A first set of 27 indicators was agreed in the form of an MoU, signed in October 2013. It mandates that (I) if an IFI tracks development results, it will use the harmonized definitions and units of measurement; and (ii) if it has a results tracking system in place that already features indicators that are the same as the harmonized ones, it will replace them accordingly. There is no obligation, however, to start tracking and using the harmonized indicators if an IFI does not wish to track the development outcomes they capture.
Many IFIs share the same clients or invest in the same industries, yet require clients to report their activities based on different sets of criteria.
The Harmonized Indicators for Private Sector Operations standardize these criteria and reduce the administrative burden of shared clients, allowing them to focus on what matters most: delivering results on the ground.