Category: Sector - Social protection initiatives

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Many public resource reforms, especially those relating to taxes or concessions as in the SPBL, have political and economic implications and are often difficult to undertake without strong ownership. The SPBL implementation success is attributable to (i) a good understanding of the vested interests, (ii) the institutional capacity of government agencies, (iii) effective partnership and coordination between ADB and the government, and (iv) a strong sense of appreciation for the overall benefits of the program.

Project Cycle Stage: Preparation, Implementation
Country: Pakistan

This special policy-based loan (SPBL) was developed in close consultation with the government and development partners, including the International Monetary Bank and the World Bank, and was designed through a holistic approach. The experience demonstrated that a comprehensive and holistic consultation process can ensure effective diagnosis of the issues, leading to a strong, relevant policy matrix that prioritizes reform measures and sets realistic timelines in collaboration with the development partners.

Project Cycle Stage: Preparation
Country: Pakistan

The 34 policy actions for a crisis response operation stretched out the government’s capacity in absorbing a substantial reform agenda. Constraints to capacity were reflected in the delays in complying with the policy actions, in particular with the policy action on financial ratios, which resulted in waiver of this action. Institutional capacity to manage the reform process and to implement agreed-upon reforms should be factored into the program design and continue to be reassessed during program implementation. The need to continuously strengthen the technical and managerial capacity of institutions, in terms of translating policy actions into workable, concrete measures and assessing reform options, should be carefully considered in designing reform programs.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Tonga

A steady, step-by-step pace of reforms may be more suitable in the Tongan context, given prevailing capacity constraints. The process of implementing reforms takes time, especially for reforms that require specialized skills, such as those in PFM and those that are structural in nature; these types of reforms take time to implement and cannot be completed by a single quick-disbursing stand-alone program. The program’s sequence of policy actions in the reform areas of PFM, PSEs, and business environment could have prioritized the binding constraints, such as the legal and regulatory issues, before getting into the operational aspects of the reform issues. However, this was not the case for the policy actions on social protection, which targeted vulnerable groups without an established system for identification, delivery, and monitoring. Also, ADB’s coverage of areas for policy reforms under the program could have focused on key needs and constraints. A gradual approach that considers more realistic timelines and proper sequencing could allow more flexibility in prioritizing and refining key policy actions in successive stages of the reform process. This could help strengthen the enabling environment for reforms, foster learning, and build capacity for policymaking and implementation.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Tonga

The stakeholders met by the evaluation mission indicated that before the 2008 conflict Georgia’s economy was relatively well-managed by the government. The government had a good track record with development partners and this was instrumental in securing substantial support after the twin crises. Development partners interviewed during the evaluation mission noted that negotiations with government for the post-crisis support went smoothly, despite the fact that the government had to deal with multi-donor support delivered through numerous support modalities and channeled through many stand-alone assistance schemes with varying timelines, execution structures and delivery methods. For ADB’s GRSP, the reforms and policy actions stipulated under the loan (and in the JNA) were complied with by the government, more quickly than expected.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Georgia

The 2008 conflict caused the development partners to engage collectively with the government in designing the crisis response and policy discussions. The NBG said this collective engagement encouraged the government to discuss the crisis response measures and policy actions seriously. As this was an emergency situation, the discussions, negotiations, approvals, and transfers happened quickly. The World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme took the lead in convening the development partners and ADB actively participated, although it did not play a lead role. The collective effort from the development partners helped to alleviate the financial crisis, limited economic contraction, and addressed constraints arising from infrastructure damage, investment climate deterioration, financial difficulties, and worsening social conditions of IDPs.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Georgia

However, the regional TA was not implemented and the envisaged fiduciary arrangements were no longer monitored under the GRSP. Nevertheless, other development partners have taken related initiatives. The World Bank, Department for International Development of the United Kingdom, Government of the Netherlands, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency provided $15.00 million for public sector financial management reform, the United States Agency for International Development provided $3.29 million to support foreign reserves and payment systems, and the European Union provided €11 million to support a second phase of public financial management reform. The completion report for the World Bank project noted that the MOF had strengthened its strategy and annual budget planning processes and improved arrangements for monitoring and oversight of budget implementation through capacity building provided by the project. Capacity and procedures for strategic expenditure planning, budget preparation, and budget management were also strengthened in line ministries. An internal budget policy and public expenditure review process was introduced and capacity building and training strategy for staff in the MOF Budget Department and line ministry budget units were developed and implemented. The World Bank project also supported an external audit of central government spending. This suggests that the coordination among the development partners under the JNA framework worked well for Georgia.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Georgia

For the envisaged impact to be fully achieved, the government should be encouraged to engage with ADB and other development partners. The IDP housing that the evaluation team visited was intact and in good condition, based on a cursory inspection. Schools, banks, and stores, among other support facilities, have since been established and appear to be functioning well. A more in-depth assessment of the resettlement sites would help to determine the overall success of the resettlement program. It would also confirm the status of the safeguard issues that were not previously considered under the program. A comprehensive analysis of development constraints should also be undertaken to identify binding constraints on economic growth that the government and ADB can focus on, given the active presence of other development partners in the country. This could provide a sound basis for a more strategic support framework moving forward.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Georgia

ADB’s Project Administration Instructions stated that the use of conditions for withdrawal should be limited to the extent possible. In this program, four disparate conditions were included as conditions for disbursement without discussion or justification in the RRP. 

Project Cycle Stage: Implementation
Country: Kazakhstan

This is to identify a plausible causal relationship between investments and actions taken by the program and a change in the performance indicators. This was not the case in the performance indicators under output 1. Even under the most optimistic scenario, it is difficult to envisage that the financing of the 2016 national budget could have impacted the contribution of medium- and small-medium-sized enterprises sector to GDP, labor productivity in agriculture, and the volume of nonresource exports by enterprises in the same year.

Project Cycle Stage: Implementation
Country: Kazakhstan

A 1-year time horizon was too short. Even though social welfare expenditures increased in the following years, a 5-year time horizon may have been more appropriate to encourage sustainability. Furthermore, a stronger M&E system is required for social welfare programs since output 2 focused on improving their targeting. Both the program and its related TA could have supported efforts to strengthen M&E. This would have enabled the government to better assess whether the improvements in targeting led to lower exclusion and inclusion of beneficiaries and to adjust programs accordingly.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Mongolia

The review could assess whether the targeting mechanisms adopted have ensured that the benefits go to the poor and vulnerable population or misused. Social welfare spillovers could result in suboptimal outcomes. Otherwise, a more sophisticated targeting approach could be undertaken.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Mongolia

The focus of the program was on the poor and vulnerable population and the social welfare assistance provided to them. The assessment of gender impacts of the policy reforms could have been undertaken, taking into account the gender and inclusion issues in the reform and consolidation of social welfare programs.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Mongolia

Survey data and other forms of monitoring can be subject to local manipulation by incumbents and unintended beneficiaries. A related problem is rent-seeking in local agencies and the government can similarly distort monitored data, and misdirect public transfer payments and other benefits. This a recurring problem with targeting methods, so indirect measures such as proxies and district comparisons drawn from central government surveys are needed to corroborate or adjust direct monitoring.

Project Cycle Stage:
Country: Indonesia

 

This put considerable work and budget pressure on the project team. And that may have been a factor in the inability to fully achieve several output actions in time for this report.

Project Cycle Stage:
Theme:
Country: Indonesia

It also put greater emphasis on the program’s design features than on embedding the program deeper within public institutions. This may have been fiscally expedient but will have long-term costs that are hard to measure now. The government may have employed the program’s national consultants after it decided to fund SP2 and SP3, but ADB is unlikely to receive information on the results.

Project Cycle Stage:
Theme:
Country: Indonesia
Independent Evaluation, ADB
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