Lessons from the ESP PCR regarding harmonization of external inputs were applied to the ESP II under a sector-wide approach. While progress in harmonization of aid arrangements has been recognized in the recent evaluation of the implementation of aid effectiveness principles by the Government of Samoa, the funding agencies and government partners noted continuing problems, as arrangements require them to conform to ADB procurement systems, which are difficult to apply in a very small island country.
The IEM's school survey highlighted the thin spread of limited resources across the formal education system, which was also noted in the 2006 National Human Development Report for Samoa. Undertaking economic analysis of the education sector with examination of affordability issues would encourage policy development toward a more efficient use of resources such as specialist teachers and modern educational technology, including computers in schools. Given the excellent roads, transport services, and communications in rural Samoa, a greater consolidation of education services will improve the achievement of education sector objectives. In addition, community understanding and appreciation of these economic issues would ensure greater efficiency in achieving equity and improving quality in Samoa’s education system.
Following the restructuring of Public Works Department in the early phase of project implementation, a new mechanism was required to ensure proper supervision during subproject design and construction. As the midterm review for the ESP II noted, an education ministry cannot be expected to have the technical resources for this purpose.
The project was prepared through a sequence of four processing missions, without the benefit of dedicated project preparatory TA. In retrospect, given the weaknesses in the DMF, the four departures from the original scope of work, and the methodological shortcomings in the EIRR calculation, the project could have benefited from more careful preparation. Due to the unexpected long delay between the end of the last processing mission and the project’s approval following the political instability during 2000– 2002, there was ample opportunity for a more complete preparation. Small-scale project preparatory TA should have been considered during this period to better prepare the project.
Higher priority should have been given to ensuring that baseline data was collected and reported during project implementation. The data that should have been collected includes (i) benchmarking data, to provide MPAF management with objective reference points for impact evaluation corresponding with the needs of the port users and consumers; (ii) benefit monitoring data, to ensure that the project benefits actually accrue to the port users; and (iii) post-project performance evaluation data, to assess overall effectiveness of the project. The PCR identified this as a lesson, and this is reconfirmed at the evaluation stage. Subsequent to the PCR, Fiji Ports Corporation Limited and Ports Terminal Limited have introduced a more systematic performance management system, but port statistics provided to the IEM were still insufficient. The absence of these baseline data targets made independent evaluation of the project considerably more difficult.
Related to the above lesson on better consultation, the project should have done a better risk assessment. A key impact assumption overlooked was elimination of the port service charge by shipping agents and companies. Another assumption that shipping agents would not construct their own container yards near Lautoka Port should have been highlighted as a key output assumption for sustainable utilization of the reclamation area financed by the project.
The project processing missions could have consulted the key project stakeholders more effectively. For example, a decrease in the port service charge by 50% in 2009 and its elimination by 2010 was cited as a project benefit, but this would have required agreement of the shipping agents and shipping companies to implement. The same applies to the Lautoka reclamation component, which should have been undertaken only after commitments by shipping companies and agents had been obtained. More thorough consultation would have ensured that all parties were aware of their commitments and resulted in better project design.
The difficult Social Action Program experience with the multi-sectoral approach is raised in the PCR and validation as a lesson missed in the program design, but this was not the underlying weakness in the design. Lessons from international experiences in devolution and capacity development were missed.