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NARBO’s Performance Benchmarking and Peer Review Service for RBOs


by Dennis Von C.Custodio
IWRM Specialist and RETA 6470 Coordinator (Consultant)
Asian Development Bank



  NARBO, in partnership with the Center for River Basin Organization and Management(CRBOM), invited member river basin organizations to join the NARBO performance benchmarking and peer review program for 2013-14. The benchmarking program recognizes that RBOs play a critical facilitating role in promotion of IWRM in river basins. As for any organization, continuous improvement of management systems and service levels is essential to remain at the forefront of management in the basin.

  The NARBO RBO performance benchmarking service was launched at the 2nd Southeast Asia Water Forum in Bali, Indonesia in September 2005 after 12 months of participatory design, followed by initial implementations in selected basins: (i) Jasa Tirta 2 in Indonesia (October 2006), (ii) Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka (December 2006), (iii) Laguna Lake Development Authority in the Philippines (January 2007), and (iv) Red River Basin Organization in Viet Nam (May 2007).

  Following successful pilot testing and initial implementation, Indonesia established a national RBO benchmarking program with applications in (i) Citarum Balai Besar in Indonesia (February 2008); (ii) Balai Besar Wilayah Sungai (BBWS) Mesuji-Sekampung, (iii) Balai PSDA Way Sekampung-Way Seputih, (iv) BBWS Cidanau-Ciujung-Cidurian, (iv) Balai PSDA Cidanau-Ciujung, (v) BBWS Brantas (East Java), and (vi) Jasa Tirta 1 (PJT1-Brantas). The program is on-going, with support by CRBOM, the Asia Pacific Water Forum knowledge hub for river basin management

  River basin organization performance benchmarking supported by NARBO and CRBOM uses a balanced score card to assess the organization, including self-assessment of performance moderated by peer reviewers. The benchmarking system includes 14 performance indicators that reflect common processes in core business areas considered essential for effective basin management within the IWRM framework. Benchmarking is implemented in 4 stages: (i) self-assessment of RBO's present performance; (ii) setting targets for future performance in each business area; (iii) formulation of plans to reach the targets; and (iv) peer review and assessment of plans for organizational improvement. Stages (i) to (iii) are designed as an internal evaluation and learning process managed by a senior member of the RBO; however NARBO may provide an independent facilitator to assist and initiate the process.

  Stage (iv), the peer review meetings and discussions, is the key to effective use of the benchmarking program. NARBO peer reviewers are experienced managers of river basin organizations with a culture of performance improvement. They bring their experience to the benchmarked RBO to assess how representative the self-assessment is; how realistic the improvement target and plans are; and they work with the RBO management to establish an agreed performance goals and change management proposals. The peer review process is designed to facilitate the RBO planning and implementation of improvements.

  The NARBO Management Team meeting, held in Sri Lanka in November 2012, reviewed the benchmarking activities and encouraged the NARBO secretariat to support more member organizations to join the benchmarking program. If your organization would like to join the benchmarking program, please contact the following before 26 July 2013:

(i)       CRBOM Director, Mr. Isnugroho, <bageurisnu@ymail.com>
(ii)      NARBO Secretariat, Mr. Tomotaka Higuchi, <Tomotaka_Higuchi@water.go.jp>
(iii)     ADB IWRM Specialist and RETA 6470 Coordinator, Mr. Dennis Von C. Custodio,