The same team of senior staff continued to guide the GMS CDC1 project though all stages from the concept paper, formulation, implementation, and writing of the PCR.
This was compounded by the executing agencies’ difficulty in retaining qualified national staff for financial management, lack of in-service training from ADB, and limited support from ADB resident missions since the project was managed out of Manila.
Regional cooperation for CDC is a long-term prospect. As a first generation GMS project supported by ADB, the CDC1 project left behind a legacy of regional political commitment, trust, and familiarity among counterpart colleagues in Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam countries, and knowledge products generated from Regional Coordination Unit (CDC1 and CDC2) -supported studies.
The RCU could have been embedded within an established organization (e.g., an intergovernmental agency or nongovernment organization) or existing program with similar objectives to the CDC1. By hiring a consultant and housing the RCU independently, institutional capacity for coordinating CDC was not developed within these agencies, risking loss of momentum after project closure.
Careful and realistic planning is required for the production and dissemination of outputs, since this involves multiple institutions within a given timeframe. Regarding the selection of implementing agency, it is important to assign the government agency with direct responsibility as the implementing agency for achieving the TA objectives as this enhances the value addition of the TA and its contribution to the desired impact and outcome. Selection of an appropriate implementing agency is especially critical in cutting-edge technology projects.
The likelihood of success is greater when an RCIF TA project is designed with genuine consultation with concerned line ministries, national agencies, the private sector (if relevant), and ADB resident missions. Active engagement of in-country stakeholders helps ADB to identify binding constraints and solutions, and to internalize implementation challenges at the TA design stage. This makes clear the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder. Active engagement of national stakeholders from the outset helps expose them to ADB’s procedures and policies, as well as to safeguard and procurement requirements and other business processes, and the responsibilities and accountabilities of the TA project’s team members, including consultants and counterparts. Early engagement helps minimize misunderstanding during implementation and improve the overall project oversight and management.
The transaction costs in cross-border RCI TA projects tend to be high both in terms of resources and the time required to achieve agreement among stakeholders in the participating countries. It takes much longer to negotiate and agree to a common proposal in a cross-border RCI TA project than in a usual TA project. There is a clear preference among national agencies for a one-country and one-sector approach so that countries can access and utilize available ADB resources, including RCIF TA funds, quickly. Some countries even regard regional projects as diverting funds that might otherwise have been available for country-specific programs. Clear demarcations of country-specific project scopes, activities, and development outcomes with transparent funding allocations at the outset increase stakeholder participation and reduce confusion and implementation delays in activities involving multiple countries. It is important that ADB ensures a balanced representation of countries at events supported by RCIF TA projects.
The original Board paper outlined the governance structure of CCF and included at its apex ADB and external financing partners, whose function would be to provide strategic direction to the CCF and to meet ADB for annual consultations and to review progress, administration, and the annual work program. Since there are no external financing partners, ADB sits alone at the apex of the governance structure. The clean energy component of the CCF shows how greater external partner involvement might influence the CCF as a whole, as its management and coordination has been effectively subsumed into the multi-donor CEFPF, for which it shares a common DMF, including specific guidelines for monitoring results. CEFPF progress reports are published online, unlike those of the CCF. The CEFPF receives funds from four external sources and, while this external engagement probably imposes an administrative burden, it may also have contributed to more robust management of the clean energy component of the CCF, which had the highest success rate and greatest number of available completion reports of all the components.
Just over half of CCF resources went toward capacity development. The lack of basic climate data, technical expertise, and qualified local staff in many DMCs means that some processes, especially baseline studies, vulnerability assessments, and cost–benefit analysis of mitigation and adaptation measures, have to be adjusted to reflect realities on the ground. Countries need access to climate change data, especially future climate projections and satellite imagery, so they can formulate effective mitigation and adaptation measures. However, without well-established planning and decision-making processes, climate change information and adaptation will be of limited value. Local consultation and validation workshops are useful forums for climate change knowledge sharing and information dissemination. They provide venues for developing and/or fostering productive collaboration toward their application, replication, and scaling up. Climate change capacity development programs to be financed by CCF can be expanded and sustained to build effective institutions, but more effective use of participatory and multi-disciplinary approaches is critical for the success of capacity building efforts.
As new technologies are made available through various projects, close monitoring of their application and performance and as well as best practices should be incorporated so they can contribute to the success of the program and projects. Accumulation of this knowledge and its proper dissemination within ADB will ensure that it can be applied to other projects in different locations.
Road investments alone cannot ensure that sustainability objectives are achieved; complementary measures are needed to offset the adverse impacts of infrastructure provision, but to support this, traffic accident and count data need to be accurately collected and monitored. Also, a properly designed roadway which is effective in reducing the frequency and severity of road accidents, such as the road built by this project, could be used by the road authority to adopt and implement a coherent national road safety policy and program. In this project, the provision of proper rest and refueling areas every 75 km–100 km would reduce driver fatigue and enhance the safety and sustainability of the road.
An earlier PPER for the Madhya Pradesh Power Sector Development Program implemented from 2002 to 2007 had highlighted the need to reduce AT&C losses by improving billing and collection efficiency and discouraging electricity theft by taking legal action against pilferers as a necessary follow-up to ensure financial sustainability. 64 The MFF failed to apply this lesson during implementation and to effectively reduce AT&C losses as it did not include formulation of a viable strategy to counteract the perverse incentives offered by local politics and traditional practices (para 58). As policy and behavioral changes are often necessary to ensure ownership and long-term sustainability of a program, both should have been included in the MFF design and closely monitored during its implementation.
The pre-feasibility study that prepared the project design and appraised the viability of the subprojects had quality issues, given that two airport projects in Cambodia were cancelled due to poor market viability, the airport project in the Lao PDR had to be redesigned due to the need to expand scope, the site for the wastewater treatment plant in Siem Reap was not firmed up and substantial time was wasted looking for an alternative site, and others.
At the time of project design it would have been interesting to know what the main causes of death in the Pacific were, and where AIDS stood in relation to these.