While the key urban sector and executing agency for this project, the Ministry of Urban Development (MUOD), adopted a structure for GESI mainstreaming with separate budget head, this initiative faced challenges after the country’s administrative restructuring. There were no division offices and GESI units in the districts, and the sociologist’s position that used to support GESI activities was removed from the departments. Nevertheless, using the resource materials developed under this project as guide, the GESI-trained staff in the divisions can push for establishing and institutionalizing GESI in the new structure of the provinces and at the local level. This would require revising MOUD’s GESI operational guidelines 2013 to define the roles and responsibilities in all tiers of government.
Neither the ADB project team nor project coordination office could fully comprehend the financial management requirements and financial covenant issues raised during this project’s review missions. As such, they were unable to follow up on audit opinions and recurrent issues, leading to the recurrence of the same issues and delays in submitting the audited project financial statements This improved only with the inclusion of a financial management staff toward the project’s end.
Part of the project’s design innovation is the construction of modern SLS. The Nepalgunj SLS construction was successful due to continuous community engagement, cooperation among political leaders, and early implementation of a community development program targeted at communities living near the SLS. However, the SLSs in Janakpur and Siddharthanagar had to be dropped, as nearby communities did not agree to their construction. Due to haphazard operation of existing SLSs and dumping sites, there is a growing “not in my backyard” syndrome in these communities towards SWM facilities. Discord among local political leaders, inadequate coordination at inter-local level, and political misunderstanding disrupted stakeholder engagement and contributed to the two sites’ cancellation.
The initial design of this project was delayed and required modifications during implementation mainly due to the unavailability of information on existing underground utilities such as by plan profile and as-built drawings. Final designs were likewise not always comprehensive, necessitating variations for most contracts, resulting in both startup delays and contract modifications. In future, ADB should ensure that the scope of work of design consultants for urban development projects include an assessment of all existing utilities, including those underground. Also, that the consultants make every effort to meet their deliverables, comply with the agreed schedules and contract obligations, and respond to requests from client governments and ADB.
There was a delay of 1.5 years in project completion. This can be attributed to the 13-month delay in mobilizing the service providers, which affected social mobilization and the award of subproject grants. Advanced contracting of the consultants during project design would have avoided startup delays.
Banks are heavily dependent on collateral, and rural property are not readily accepted by banks. Future agriculture value chain projects should include such a component to help farmers access formal finance.
Project areas were hit by extreme weather events such as hailstorms and high winds, which were not typical for those areas. The greenhouses were able to protect the project farmers’ crops when the crops of other farmers were wiped out completely. With climate change predictions forecasting increasing frequency of extreme weather events, developing insurance schemes along with promoting climate-resilient infrastructure and technology will be important to cover for losses and damages from extreme weather events.
While the project made it mandatory for agro-processors to get registered and follow government food standards, federalism has complicated the jurisdiction of the three tiers of government in developing an effective and coordinated quarantine and food quality control system. Future similar projects need to give greater attention to this, channeling lessons and good practices from other countries and ADB projects as appropriate.
The commodity-specific multi-stakeholder platforms established by the project brought together producers and processors along with other value chain actors. These need to be sustained and may be replicated as appropriate in other parts of Nepal as well as in other countries to accelerate the development of agricultural value chains that will be beneficial especially for small and medium farmers.
Limited availability of local inputs and technical know-how has affected the implementation and sustainability of this project. Specifically, farmers faced difficulties in acquiring certified seeds and materials for the construction of greenhouses, screen houses, and drip irrigation because of the limited number of input supply companies in Nepal. Operation and maintenance of plants and machinery also relied heavily on technical manpower imported from India. The experience highlights the critical need for focused public sector investments to help input supply businesses innovate and expand and build technical knowhow domestically to promote agriculture commercialization in Nepal.
Subprojects related to cold storage construction could not access the government’s intended customs duty subsidies for the agriculture sector because of ambiguous wording in the policy documents. An analytical and monitoring framework to assess the cost and benefit of each tax incentive needs to be developed to rationalize the tax incentive program. Especially for an economy that is just emerging from subsistence agriculture, it will be imperative for the public sector to continue to absorb some of the investment risks in agriculture, either through subsidies or through clearly defined and well-targeted tax incentives.
The outlay for agribusiness grant facility (AGF) established by the project rose by 52.7% during implementation. This resulted from a larger scale of agribusiness investments than anticipated, reflecting improved investor confidence during the post-insurgency period. Matching grants to the AGF from ADB, the government of Nepal, and the Netherlands Development Agency, SNV, further boosted investor confidence. For every $1 spent, the AGF leveraged $1.65 of private investment.
Close coordination with development partners and regular consultations with government counterparts take on greater importance in a SWAp, as was illustrated under the program. Appointing a focal person at the resident mission can help in addressing issues as they emerge, and in ensuring ongoing participation in policy dialogue and joint review meetings.
When the program was approved, results-based lending was not yet available at ADB. The decision to opt for a policy-based lending modality was adequate, as it was the most suitable modality available at the time. However, the School Sector Reform Plan involved different types of initiatives, ranging from policy reforms to specific ground-level interventions. As a result, some policy actions identified under the program lacked depth, as they were not geared towards promoting structural change and could not be followed up step by step.
. In many instances, it was difficult to attribute reported achievements to policy actions supported by the program. This affected the understanding of the program’s effectiveness. The results chain of a policy-based loan should be explicitly presented in the project documents and the DMF indicators should fully reflect intended outcomes of the selected policy actions.
It would also allow sufficient time to implement the attached TA effectively, further strengthening potential impact. The program included a large number of policy actions, spread over five different reform areas, and some of its policy actions lacked the depth required to bring about structural change. TA was attached to the program to support the implementation of the policy actions, but government counterparts were strained by the capacity constraints at the Ministry of Education and Department of Education.
They also appear to be able to administer the financial and revenue collection aspects of WSS system operation. They are less likely to be able to fully manage the technical and engineering aspects. The next project could explore the potential for a more corporatized WUSC model for towns with a population of more than 100,000, and options for contracting out the technical aspects of operation and maintenance of both water supply and wastewater management infrastructure. There are numerous models globally for this approach from which lessons could be drawn. For example, DWSS could facilitate regional contracting with firms to provide technical services to multiple WUSCs, along the lines of a “circuit rider” approach.
Lack of progress on sludge and wastewater management was a significant shortcoming of the project. The government could draw on global best practice for city-side inclusive sanitation to develop and pilot a fecal sludge management program that could be integrated with agriculture development, providing treated sludge for application to farmland as fertilizer and soil conditioner.