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.
Inappropriate or unrealistic targets have the potential to lower project performance ratings, even when project benefits connected to the outputs and outcomes are substantial. In the Qingdao project, the outcome and impact targets as defined in the DMF were largely unmet even though the project produced very favorable results. Projects should take the opportunity during MTRs to review, assess data needs (especially in integrated projects), take feedback from all stakeholders (including project beneficiaries), and update the results framework (either way) by reassessing and strengthening indicators. This will help reflect actual project implementation experience and attain better alignment with targets and implementation processes, which may influence the quality of targets and how these are achieved. This will help targets to remain achievable, attributable, and measurable.
They must explicitly build into the project design mechanisms for disseminating the experiences and lessons—both successful and otherwise. In this project, the innovative, integrated approach to environmental protection was expected from the beginning to provide a model for other coastal or riverside cities to learn from and replicate. However, specific activities and financial resources were not included in the project design to support the documentation of good practice (or failures) and knowledge transfer that would help during replication. The team had an opportunity to assess the type of knowledge solution that can be designed at various instances during the project cycle. During MTRs, there is a fairly good idea of what works and what does not, and appropriate knowledge solutions can be designed. During later review missions, when it has become clearer which actual lessons can be derived from the project experience, knowledge solutions can be scoped further. These may include technological interventions, procedural and/or policy implementation experiences, to name a few. Financial resources should also be allocated to support lesson sharing and replication.
This mechanism should be integrated with the project management system, beyond the emphasis on physical progress of subproject implementation. This would enable achieving the desired high-level impact, help in the replication process, and contribute to sustainability. For integrated projects where the attribution of outputs to impacts is difficult, project management systems must integrate data collection and capacity building for monitoring short-, medium-, and long-term impacts, and employ integrated planning methodologies.
Even if other team members are well-versed in safeguards issues, their attention will be focused on their areas of primary responsibility rather than on the project’s safeguards requirements and monitoring. Timely safeguard interventions and impact assessment with implementation plans provide an immense value to the project design. These provide solutions that directly benefit the project beneficiaries and their surroundings. In this project, the absence of environmental or social safeguards specialists on most of the project missions contributed to delayed and inadequate safeguards reporting and missed opportunity to further value addition on the sustainability criteria.