Lack of private sector interest to participate in the program may have been gauged and addressed early enough had efforts been made to engage the sector right at design stage. While it may have been challenging to develop, private sector participation would have strengthened the ability of the program to cope with the fast-changing market conditions upon inception. That said, the importance of engaging key stakeholders in all stages of the project cycle cannot be overstated. Stakeholder engagements to develop broad support for the traditional arts and crafts sector would be particularly important not only to enable the sector to cope with the volatility of the market but also to grow more investments in preserving the cultural heritage embedded in the sector.
The project has highlighted the extreme volatility and vulnerability of the khadi production sector in India to changes in consumer behavior. If such changes are foreseeable at program appraisal, it would be prudent for similar interventions to aim for a lesser set of policy conditions, which when met in the short and medium term, could pave the way for a larger program operation to scale up successes, as necessary. This could be a more efficient approach in promoting the sustainability of nonfarm production sectors that are highly dependent on consumer choices for their continued growth.
An attached capacity development TA of $700,000 was approved along with the loan. The TA was to support KWASA in effectively managing the large, externally funded project by developing its capacity in procurement, financial management, and social and environmental safeguards, among others. On KWASA’s request, ADB agreed to a change in the TA scope, including recruiting a consulting firm to help prepare a master plan for Khulna’s wastewater and sludge management. It was an efficient use of the attached TA as the study resulted in a sewerage project for Khulna city.
ADB collaborated closely with the project cofinancier, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, during the planning stage and throughout implementation. Along with clear implementation arrangements, which saw the cofinanciers administering their portions of the project according to their respective guidelines and procedures, this close collaboration resulted in the completion of all the revised targets, making the project overall successful in meeting its intended outcome.
This project introduced a SCADA system in three different types of district metering areas (DMAs)─ single inlet, multiple inlet, and flowing DMAs. This enabled KWASA to monitor the reservoir and overhead tank levels in real time and receive updated analysis of capacity, pump flows, delivery pressure, valve status, and chlorine dosing. Information, collected through a combined system, has enabled prompt actions to be undertaken to ensure reliable and adequate water supply services.
to the delayed commencement of major civil works, this project’s output targets needed to be adjusted in turn requiring changes in the design and monitoring framework (DMF). The DMF was revised through the midterm review mission, fielded in March 2018, just three months before the original loan closing date. Since the land acquisition issue, the key factor behind the delayed commencement of the major project works, was resolved in June 2016, the mission could have been fielded in late 2016 or early 2017. This would have allowed the changes in the DMF to be firmed up early enough, making the DMF more effective in tracking and improving project progress.
This project encountered significant delays from land acquisition for major civil works contracts due to the complex government approval process, compounded by the multiplicity of the approvals required from various ministries. The inter-ministerial project steering committee could have played a significant role in this, acting swiftly to address the issue that in turn prompted the reduction in some output targets.
Given that submarine cable infrastructure was completely new territory for the government and local expertise was not available to advise government, the project design could have included knowledge events and other knowledge-related activities to enable Tonga, ADB, and partners to capture and transfer lessons for application in the submarine cable projects ADB subsequently pursued with the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, and Samoa. This would have maximized the project’s contributions to ADB’s ICT knowledge work and the enhancement of the PDMCs’ regional and country ICT framework and development plans. It would have also filled the gaps in institutional learning and knowledge development created by project staff changes during implementation, which would have aided continuous capacity development of the public and private ICT sectors in the country.
Together with its request for budget support in 2018, the government’s reconvening in late 2017 of the Core Economic Working Group, a forum that coordinates development partner economic and financial assistance in the Solomon Islands, generated much‐needed momentum for reform. ADB responded by designing, implementing, and completing this stand-alone program before the national election on 3 April 2019. The timing helped avoid potential program delays, as public servants and members of Parliament returned to remote constituencies in December 2018, and a caretaker government was put in place ahead of the national election. Without proper timing, progress on reforms already stalled in 2015–2016, would have had to wait further until the new government took office at end-April 2019. ADB should ensure that future policy operations are likewise carefully timed to leverage reform when the political environment is supportive. This lesson is 1 of 2 additional lessons demonstrated by this program’s experience, which has also confirmed several lessons from earlier policy-based programs in Solomon Islands, including the need to (i) maintain dialogue with the government to ensure policy actions are aligned with government priorities, (ii) consult with development partners to ensure reform efforts are coordinated and to avoid duplication of effort, (iii) ensure a sharp focus and realistic time frames for policy action, (iv) continue TA support because there is limited government capacity to implement certain reforms, and (v) ensure that essential policy actions are linked to disbursement.
Inadequate attention was given during this project’s preparation to ensuring that performance indicators in the design and monitoring framework were appropriate and data was collectible and verifiable. A project performance monitoring system (PPMS) was also not established. The completion survey, a norm in ADB-financed projects, was not conducted, although there were some assessments made by the EA on project accomplishments in some components. These shortcomings inhibited the conduct of a comprehensive assessment of project performance and sustainability of results. In future, ADB should work with EAs to establish project PPMS immediately at startup and ensure its consistent and effective implementation. Appropriate feedback mechanisms, which can help with the early resolution of implementation issues, should be established. Close monitoring of expenditures by budget category is equally important to assess implementation progress.
This project supported trainings, demonstrations, and cross-learning visits by farmer groups to enable agrarian reform beneficiaries and their communities to move from subsistence production to market-oriented surplus generation. Trainings provided improved farming practices, crop varieties, integrated pest management, and crop diversification, etc., but there is no substantial assessment of therefore it is unclear how these trainings improved productivity and incomes. Moreover, there are no project records to show that these trainings were supported by inputs to enable farmers’ adoption of the high-yielding agricultural practices and technologies promoted. These deficiencies should be addressed in future similar activities. Farmers’ trainings should be accompanied by the provision of corresponding required agricultural inputs. Promoting understanding of market operations and the need for private sector participation and knowledge and skills formation for agricultural value chain development should also be given greater attention.
Under output 2, this project increased the efficiency of the seaweed enterprise in Oriental Mindoro province by partnering with the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, and LGUs. The experience has demonstrated how partnerships could lead to greater resources and ability to achieve results. In general, however, project-supported enterprises had difficulty attracting the private sector due to their small size and limited production scale. (Preparation, Implementation: stakeholder engagement, partnerships)
The 2003 50:50 cost-sharing policy between the national government and local government units (LGUs) in counterpart funds for development projects aimed to empower the LGUs. But as LGUs have limited financial capacity to cofinance rural infrastructure, the project during processing proposed to retain the 10%-20% LGU share in counterpart funds under the first phase of this project. After this was disapproved by national authorities, the executing agency (EA) decided to proceed with the original scope of the project, envisaging initiatives and alternative financing arrangements to assist LGUs in meeting their equity requirements. Notwithstanding their increased equity, many LGUs agreed to participate in the project. The inability of the LGUs to raise their counterpart funds, despite various alternatives developed by the EA and other national agencies, resulted in the project meeting less than half of its key rural infrastructure targets (40% accomplishment in farm-to-market roads and 38% in small scale irrigation). Greater due diligence during project formulation may have better gauged the impact of the increased LGU contribution and would have allowed the infrastructure targets to be adjusted accordingly. (Preparation, Implementation: budgeting, counterpart funding)
There was scope for maximizing this project’s benefits by closely coordinating and improving the synergy between subprojects. For example, the Liujiabao Urban Complex and the underground passageway business that emerged could have been pursued earlier so that the income generated could have been used as construction funding for other subprojects.
The project applied to and was registered under the CDM. The Certified Emission Reduction (CER) purchase agreement was signed in 2012, with payments to be made to the Lanzhou Bus Company. The monitoring and evaluation of CERs worked well in 2013 but was hampered by the transfer of the implementing agency (IA) responsibility from the Lanzhou City Government to the Anning District Government in 2014. As the CER purchase agreement was unclear to the new IA, and there was no coordination between the Lanzhou Bus Company and the Anning District Government, the monitoring and evaluation of CERs was discontinued. Finalization of the purchase agreement for the CERs confirmed since 2013 could only take place in 2019 and early 2020. The Lanzhou Bus Company’s new management is very keen to continually benefit from the CDM and sign a new CER purchase agreement for their new BRT corridors. ADB is looking into ways to facilitate the process.
Building the BRT took less than 1 year. Such construction works would typically take 2 to 3 years despite completion of the requisite approvals and clearances and resettlement activities before startup. It was possible to fast track the completion of the BRT because of close coordination between the city government and the project leading group and the strong management and implementation capacities of the executing and implementing agencies, including the project management office. The speedy construction lessened the disruptions caused by the project to the residents, especially with regard to traffic and the accessibility of services and utilities. (Implementation: road projects, project schedule, coordination and engagement)
A full-scale public involvement program was implemented during BRT construction and trial operation to familiarize private car drivers and road users with the roadways with BRT buses and adjust their driving habits to fit the roadway setup and signal system designed for the BRT, attract more people to use the BRT, provide the riding public with detailed information on the new mass transport system. The program included media campaigns, a public hearing, education activities, and a web-based information drive. Volunteers were recruited to assist BRT riders, especially during the early stage of BRT operation. The public involvement program, along with the great travel convenience brought about by the project design features, have triggered behavioral changes, especially among private car owners and taxi riders who have risen to 38% of the BRT users as of the completion review mission.
There was initial resistance to the BRT concept and challenges were not a few during the construction period. These challenges were overcome through the showcasing of successful examples of BRT solutions from around the world by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in cooperation with ADB. The project would not have been successful without strong government ownership and firm commitment and support from the Yichang municipal government, project management office, implementing agency and all the relevant stakeholders. These factors also made it possible for the project to be implemented as designed and in strict adherence to ADB guidelines and procedures.
BRT is very well suited to medium-sized cities like Yichang, but its long-term sustainability depends on effective O&M and strong management support. These two factors are also key to maintaining the project’s status as a model BRT and demonstration project. In view of these, parking management along the BRT corridor needs to be strengthened, as in 2019, cars were again being parked along the dedicated pedestrian walkways. Better enforcement is needed to reverse this trend.
ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement, 2009 does not require PFIs to have an ESMS if the project is categorized as FI (equivalent of safeguards category C). However, based on the experience under tranche 1, it would be beneficial if a simple ESMS is in place and an environmental staff is on board to review and support the safeguards compliance of subprojects even if the investment program itself is classified as F1. Because of the absence of an ESMS and environmental staff, numerous requests for information were made to ADB’s Central and West Asia Department that used significant resources to respond to the requests.
The investment program fared well in its gender targets. It successfully incorporated sex-disaggregated data collection in the executing agency’s monitoring system for the program and ensured women’s participation in the training activities in excess of targets. It also surpassed its target of at least 26% loan applications received from women, with women comprising 31% of the borrowers under tranche 1, 34% under tranche 2, and 37% under tranche 3. But more could have been done at the level of the PFIs to improve the implementation of the gender action plan (GAP). Drawing on this program’s experience, GAP implementation in future financial intermediation loans may be improved by: (i) seeking agreement with the PFIs on the GAP and gender targets right at project processing to develop their ownership of these; (ii) ensuring the integration of genders indicators into the PFI data collection systems; (iii) maintaining open communication lines with the PFIs to facilitate the provision of gender implementation support as necessary; and (iv) providing gender capacity building activities to the PFIs.
The investment program intended to raise local currency funds for Damu (and indirectly for the PFIs) in one of two ways: (i) through cross-currency swaps with international bank counterparties, which was achieved in tranche 1 but could not be achieved in tranches 2 or 3; or (ii) the issuance of a local currency bond, which was never achieved. Therefore, ADB had to lend US dollars to Damu for tranches 2 and 3, an arrangement that Damu did not find satisfactory. In its facility completion report, Damu gave notice that, in the future, it will not consider attracting [foreign] currency loans, though hedging instruments are provided, since the practice proved their high risks and lack of flexibility…..
As this project was being implemented, most government personnel were still new to information and communication technology (ICT) and government buildings and offices had low-quality ICT infrastructure. The project management consultant team was initially weak. The project management unit encountered frequent turnover of ICT-trained staff and as their replacements were mostly ICT novices, slowdowns and temporary suspension of e-service applications became rampant. Mobilizing champions within each implementing agency would have helped in the overall change management required by the transition to new ICT-based business processes and systems. More awareness building and training activities would have also facilitated the transition.
Nepal has no ministry to manage an information and communication technology (ICT) project in multiple sectors. The government confirmed the importance of the project by designating the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM)) as the executing agency. The OPMCM had the authority to manage multiple implementing agencies (IAs) and ensure sufficient financing. The IAs introduced several innovative applications under the project and rolled them out nationwide, with impressive results. However, the OPMCM initially lacked experience in executing a complex ICT project. With project implementation units in six ministries, coordination was a challenge. Unlike other projects that have large project management consultant teams, the project engaged only a few consultants in the initial years. As a result, the project encountered delays and ADB had to provide project management support. The project, however, delivered results because of the government’s consistent financial support and full ownership. In implementing a project involving several sectors and agencies, project management needs to have flexibility to adjust the scope as opportunities or challenges arise during implementation.
This project was originally designed with only one resettlement plan. At the beginning of project implementation, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the project province proposed and ADB agreed that the project should be redesigned with four resettlement plans, allowing staging of the works—i.e., preparation works could be done in parallel instead of in sequence. This also allowed the main canals to be implemented first, a technical advantage for an irrigation project.