What is Remote Management, Monitoring and Verification?
Remotely controlled and managed projects are more and more becoming common practice for development cooperation in conflict areas, natural disasters and especially the COVID 19 pandemic. Especially for partner countries the use of Remote Management, Monitoring and Verification (RMMV) methods is increasingly crucial. RMMV is a approach to evidence-based management of development projects from anywhere in the world.
- Remote Management: Development and remote control of projects from a distance including the management of regional offices on site (Remote Office Management).
- Remote Monitoring: Monitoring of project activities, results and impacts by alternative actors (e.g. local rather than international personnel) and technical means (e.g. satellites, drones, sensors and smartphones, etc.). Usually, remote monitoring is assigned to the project executing agency or consultants.
- Remote Site Supervision:Especially relevant to FC; supervision of construction sites at project locations (usually carried out by consultants).
- Remote Verification: Verification of information from remote a core task of the implementing organisations of development cooperation.
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Relevance for development cooperation
DC has been using this approach for some time in decentralisation, small irrigation or forest protection projects and increasingly in fragile contexts. KfW has already developed a comprehensive manual for the use of RMMV in FC. RMMV offers numerous opportunities to create transparency and improve political decision-making. The steering mechanism is thus highly relevant to central issues of the BMZ.
RMMV approaches fall into two main categories:
Stakeholders with access to the target area, such as local staff of the project-executing agency, local consultants, independent third parties (third-party monitoring) and the target group itself, collect and supply information, thus replacing international staff.
Digital technologies (satellite data, smartphones, crowdsourcing, management information systems, etc.) enable the collection, transmission, aggregation, structuring, analysis, verification, visualization and interpretation of information.
Usually both approaches are combined and tailored for every project. In the project cycle, RMMV activities must be planned and agreed as early as possible. Remote-controlled projects are more complex in terms of project management and communication. The information collected in the project must be checked and compared with data from additional sources (triangulation). Training and involvement of local staff requires additional time and resources.
Collaboration and communication tools as well as processes and rules are needed for the cooperation of decentralized teams. Remote management information systems with dashboards can be used for decision-making and project control. A selection of digital tools (including platforms, software and hardware) is already available for DC projects. Many issues of DC have a spatial reference, which can be answered by geodata. Freely available satellite data (e.g. from Copernicus or NASA), growing data archives, cloud computing and free software have enormously increased the potential of remote sensing in DC.