Various trainings were given to the executing and implementing agencies in water supply and wastewater treatment operations. Aside from training, emphasis on developing the institutions, such as review of the overall organization structures and terms of reference of management and staff, would be helpful in further strengthening the EA and IAs. The creation of the Tianjin Water Affairs Bureau can be regarded as a first step in overseeing the continued development of water-related IAs to focus efforts in building capacity in operational areas needed for the city’s development. Furthermore, it is also acknowledged that the commercialization of operations, through TCEPC involvement, is also another step in institutional strengthening.
Sewerage construction needs to be fully addressed in the early stage of the project, particularly as it affects the implementation of wastewater treatment operations. Further to this, when the two are implemented by different funding institutions, the need for inter-donor coordination is essential to ensure that project operations and targeted completion are not compromised.
During appraisal, one of the benefits identified from the project was to provide employment opportunities to women through the All-China Women’s Federation. At the project’s completion, it was mentioned that women were employed as laborers during construction, and some were given permanent jobs in the IAs. Moreover, there were training opportunities given for skills enhancement. Given the focus on the growing role of women in development, gender equality is inevitably mentioned in ADB projects. Emphasis on gender depends on the context and locale conditions.
The eventual full participation of Tianjin Capital Environmental Protection Company (TCEPC) in component A was a good demonstration of private sector participation, particularly in bringing about the required expertise in running a wastewater treatment plant. Aside from the Beicang wastewater treatment plant, TCEPC is also responsible for the operations of three other large-scale wastewater treatment plants in Tianjin. Prospects of private sector participation in component B should have been explored with other private groups or entities, particularly in enhancing ecological works around the Yuqiao Reservoir, which is currently financed by municipal funds. This could be a showcase to invite interest from private enterprises, particularly in the growing concern for the environment.
The Yuqiao Reservoir subcomponent involved environment improvements to 68 villages. For such community-based subcomponents, community participation and self-management are effective gateways into sustainable implementation and operation. For similar projects, a community participation and self-management booklet should be prepared by villagers under the guidance of the social specialist at the project preparatory or implementation stage.
Historically, resettlement implemented for the Yuqiao Reservoir occurred in three phases: 1960–1967, 1973, and 1979–1982. It was complex. Delays in the implementation of the resettlement subcomponent of this project could have been mitigated if lessons from the past have been taken into account. This included having closer consultation and ensuring that resettlement impact is better communicated with local officials, village committees and affected peoples, proposing reasonable resettlement or fishpond removal scope and compensation policies. The villagers would then be able to better understand the objectives and importance of projects, and would be more receptive to the resultant land acquisition and resettlement activities.
The project became effective on 7 January 2004, nearly 1 year after the group company was registered with the HMG’s Commercial and Industrial Bureau on 24 January 2003. Close attention should have been given to revising certain project covenants to ensure that the HMG could continue to follow up on some aspects of water pricing.
While price setting in a tightly regulated market is often an act of balancing a large number of concerns, it is important to give due consideration to the long-term sustainability of the water utility, including investment in its modernization and expansion. If tariff income falls short of requirements (assuming normative operational efficiencies), government support is required. However, as ADB may not be in a position to influence water tariff levels and structures, ADB should review the merits of including tariff setting-related covenants in the loan and project agreements, or seeking assurances on this matter.
The government recognizes that water resource problems in the PRC are related to various economic, technical, regulatory, and other developmental issues, and that an integrated and comprehensive approach is required to ensure that adequate volumes of water of requisite quality are available on a sustained basis. Such an integrated approach includes protection of upstream water sources, watersheds, rivers and other water bodies, and includes but is not limited to (i) alleviating risk of pollutant contamination from point and non-point sources of pollution; (ii) treating wastewater before discharge into such water bodies; (iii) monitoring and analyzing water quality; (iv) developing alternative sources of water supply; (v) setting up an institutional framework and strengthening the institutions; and (vi) establishing a regulatory framework that provides the right incentives for implementation of such measures. The success achieved by the project and the progress made so far in improving the Songhua River’s water quality (eventually, the project facilities and the Songhua could jointly supply urban Harbin with good-quality water) attests to the benefits of such a comprehensive approach.
Careful assessment and project design during loan processing, detailed procurement and implementation planning, and timely availability of counterpart funding and decision making ensured smooth implementation and commissioning of the project about 1 year ahead of schedule.
A multisector approach in the urban sector is readily implementable in the Lao PDR, because, for the most part, subsectors are within the mandate of the ministry responsible for urban development and its provincial branches. The approach can be enhanced further with the inclusion of urban transport in urban projects. This would not be difficult, given the mandate of MPWT/DPWT. But a multisector approach may be truly tested only when more stakeholders are added to urban projects or programs, bringing in expertise from outside MPWT/DPWT. Moving forward, stronger links may have to be established between (i) infrastructure and services provision and job creation and economic development; and (ii) investments in wastewater treatment and other initiatives responsive to urban issues (e.g., vehicle emissions) that involve outside agencies. Limited experience in dealing with “outside agencies” suggests that an expanded multisector approach will be difficult to implement without clarifying roles and responsibilities across agencies, horizontally and vertically.
The village area improvement experience highlights the importance of proactive communities during the design, implementation, and maintenance of projects. The use of similar principles may be replicated or expanded for a larger set of beneficiaries. An important lesson from the village area improvement program is its use of a demand-driven approach to development instead of the top-down, supply-driven activities of the past. The main advantages of the village area improvement approach are community inputs and an applied gender-balance concept. These include (i) the participation of many parties, (ii) consultations, (iii) action at the grassroots level, and (iv) the solidarity of the village committee members.
A “bottom-up” approach to urban land use could help avoid a potential overload of infrastructure and service networks due to overcrowding, pollution, increased poverty, and environmental degradation. Building on the success of the village area improvement initiative, in particular (but also community participation initiatives in earlier ADB-supported urban projects), support for community planning could complement and support higher level urban and regional plans. This would facilitate the involvement of underserved communities in determining their priorities. Such community planning may be acknowledged within the development planning and management system.
Careful attention must be paid to the following aspects of urban institutional reform: (i) its acceptance by all key stakeholders through a participatory process; (ii) a thorough understanding of local politics; (iii) realistic phasing, sequencing, and timing of its institutional and policy reform; and (iv) an appropriate balance between allocated resources and expectations of the stakeholders involved. A more open-ended policy dialogue may yet prove more helpful than the application of loan covenants. If substantial policy change is involved, it would also be prudent to consider this as either (i) separate and parallel policy work in support of the investment components; or (ii) a two-phase process, with policy development preceding the investments.
Financial viability and cost recovery in the sector are important considerations for private sector investments in power generation in the absence of opportunities to sell electricity outside the state. Before India’s Electricity Act of 2003 was enacted, it was difficult to attract private sector investments to power generation in Madhya Pradesh, for investors were concerned about MPSEB’s ability to set aside adequate cash flows to meet power purchase obligations (escrow cover). After the provisions of the Electricity Act related to the setting up of a competitive power market and open access to a transmission network were implemented, private investors have shown increased willingness to invest in power generation in Madhya Pradesh as demonstrated by the recent success in initiating several private sector investments with likely capacity additions of more than 1,500 MW from private sector projects in next 2–3 years.
The Madhya Pradesh power sector has been suffering from structural problems such as persistently high level of ATC losses, increasing cost of generation and power purchase, and limited scope of tariff increase as industrial tariffs have already reached the cost of captive power generation. Improving the operational efficiency of utilities and tariff adjustments aimed at reducing the cross-subsidies to residential and agricultural consumers can help, but the underlying problem in the power sector remains the high ATC losses. The reduction of ATC losses requires technical measures (reducing the overloading of distribution feeders and measures such as HVDS and bundled conductors to prevent electricity pilferage), institutional measures (improved metering, billing and bill collection) as well as governance-related actions (discouraging electricity theft by taking legal action against the pilferers). However, the underlying political economy such as affordability and competitiveness of Madhya Pradesh’s agriculture sector in the event of full cost recovery of supply of electricity to agriculture needs to be addressed.
The SDP was based on the premise that regulatory and institutional reforms will improve the performance of sector entities. Although the regulatory and institutional reforms were implemented as intended, the sector entities except for MPTransco showed no significant improvement in performance. Although there are several reasons for this such as the underlying political economy issues constraining the measures that can be taken to reduce the ATC losses, the lack of financial autonomy, financial incentives, and managerial accountability could have contributed to underachievement of this important development outcome. The management of a utility is not responsible for financial performance and MPG has regularly stepped in to finance the cash deficit. The regulatory interventions were limited to annual tariff settings based on progressively improving performance norms. The reform program should have gone beyond the institutional reforms and encouraged MPG and the regulator to set performance targets and ensure compliance with those targets through an incentive and/or penalty mechanism. It is encouraging to note that the MP State Government and MPSERC have set targets for loss reduction , revenue realization etc in last 3–4 years and the reporting requirements to periodically monitor the performance of DISCOMs with respect to these targets have been initiated.
The project had no clear strategy on how the Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) should be supported beyond the life of the project. The SBEC was left with a huge loan guarantee portfolio at the end of the project and no long-term means to sustain its operations.
While technical assistance in the form of logistical support, advisory assistance (through consultant inputs), study tours, and training help to improve project capabilities, they do not necessarily address long-term sustainability of institutions. Efforts towards promoting sustainability, such as for the SBEC, should include developing appropriate and effective financial systems, installing an effective management information system, institutionalizing good governance and management structure, and strengthening risk assessment, loan appraisal, and monitoring skills.
The capacity constraints of implementing agencies were not clearly defined early on in implementation, especially the credit components. No clear strategies were developed to address constraints in the social and cultural environment and in market conditions that affect the policy component. As a result, the project suffered delays and the delivery of outputs and outcomes was significantly affected. Findings from project supervision should be used consistently to adjust project in light of experience.
In the context of Samoa—where the financial market is relatively underdeveloped, the collateral framework is weak, and institutions have limited capacity—a more simple and focused project design would have been more appropriate. Some of the subcomponents such as the venture capital fund, credit bureau and chattels registry were totally new activities which made the design more complex and difficult to implement. Also, clearly a modest project like this would not be the best vehicle for addressing a fundamental political issue like land ownership. Greater focus should have been placed on creating an enabling environment for the financing and growth of micro and small enterprises. This would have involved developing the policy and legal environment for the sector, which to some extent was achieved by the project, and building institutions to service the sector.
There is ongoing development of an integrated monitoring and evaluation system backed up by a management information system at the Directorate General of Higher Education (DGHE) that is linked to individual higher education institutions. An annual tracer study consolidated from standardized tracer studies conducted or commissioned by individual HEIs would be useful to obtain meaningful impact assessments and determine improvement needs to sustain not only this project but also other initiatives at the DGHE.
For example, by having a forum through which employers can give advice on national and institution specific policies, plans and programs. Linkages between educational entities and industries by way of collaboration in curriculum design and partnerships in job orientation programs were observed during the IEM. However, the extent varies depending on the higher education institution. For the institutions, one such forum could be an industry advisory board composed of representatives of selected business enterprises in their area. The formation of an industry advisory board at each higher education institution may require defining the duties and responsibilities, and providing guidelines on the composition of members, frequency of meetings, reporting, and related matters. Nationally, an annual consultative forum may be required, where government policymakers, employers, and educators discuss policies and program design to respond to trends in the labor market. In this context, the government could encourage the continuation and expansion of a valuable practice at some higher education institutions—including in the curriculum on-the-job training opportunities in industries—since the IEM found that employers first had to train their newly recruited graduates for 3–12 months, although the graduates are highly trainable.
This would include assistance to improve performance in the Test of English as a Foreign Language—not only for future dealings or links with foreign universities and polytechnics, but also as a predeparture intervention for those going abroad, whether for an overseas degree fellowship or for work. The lack of English proficiency is a problem encountered by lecturers when doing postgraduate degrees abroad, and also by new graduates who are looking for a job in the main cities of Indonesia and abroad.
Moves to engage in twinning arrangements and credit transfers, and to take part in international accreditation of study programs or international certification of lecturers are also some practices that have started.