Utilizing loan and grant savings, a works contract to rehabilitate the 500-kilovolt switchyard at the Toktogul hydroelectric power plant (HEPP) was added to the scope of this project. The additional scope required a supplementary initial environmental examination (IEE) that included the handling of asbestos-containing material, which was not covered by the EMP and therefore needed to be addressed. The executing agency and the project management consultant for the Toktogul HEPP experienced some difficulty in doing this because precise requirements were not specified in the EMP. It would have been useful for ADB to conduct a training on asbestos handling in addition to ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement. In ongoing and future projects, training and advice on ADB’s safeguard policy should be strengthened and made responsive to issues and concerns that emerge during project implementation.
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.
Designs prepared for the schools under this project can be prototypes for rehabilitating or constructing schools with community emergency shelters throughout the country. In fact, the Ministry of Education and Training is already using these designs for two secondary schools under a World Bank-financed project.
While the original and revised project design and monitoring frameworks were reasonable, the impact statement could have been nuanced to reflect the specific support provided to the education sector. The outcome and shelter-related output indicator should have been specific to the project schools to correlate with project inputs and overall objectives. The gender action plan (GAP) design could have included more quantitative indicators and activity targets for enhanced monitoring and evaluation. As GAP activities occurred later in the project cycle, baseline data could have been collected midway for refining the GAP targets during the midterm review. Regular GAP monitoring could have been strengthened, as this data would have further strengthened project management.
It is unclear why a covenant was necessary to ensure the use of single-source consultant recruitment. The method may not always save time, as the need to negotiate remuneration rates poses a significant risk of offsetting the time savings from bypassing advertising and shortlisting.
During project preparation, community consultations were held at each school, but testimonials indicate that some community members felt the final design did not fully consider their suggestions. Better feedback to communicate information about why certain design suggestions were not adopted could have addressed this problem. It could also have made the community feel more included and strengthened their ownership of the project. Based on project experience, community outreach activities in future similar interventions in Vanuatu should involve (i) separate consultation sessions for males and females, with workshops scheduled on days when women are not undertaking care or income-generating activities; (ii) consultations with local communities on strengthening project sustainability; (iii) awareness-raising activities to achieve a common understanding on the basis for final design criteria and special design features; and (iv) prioritized needs-based institutional capacity building at the local level for a stronger first response to disasters, especially in remote areas.
Infrastructure investments based on build-back-better principles and capacity development support provided by this project contributed to strengthening disaster resilience at the local level. The post-completion review found that increasing school enrolment numbers can help to channel sufficient funds to facilities’ operation and maintenance. In addition, future projects can help improve schools’ operational sustainability through measures such as combining schools for administrative efficiencies and exploring opportunities for schools to generate additional revenue. There is also need for a national strategy and operational plan to strengthen the disaster resilience of school assets, including a holistic assessment of other school infrastructure needs.
This program’s results framework and targets were closely aligned with PLN’s key performance indicators (KPIs), which were based on PLN’s RUPTL, 2015–2024 and Indonesia’s National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN), 2015–2019. PLN has established KPIs in its corporate plan and has regularly reflected these in its annual reports. The close alignment between the PLN’s KPIs and the program’s results framework and targets encouraged the PLN to achieve the DLI targets. Power utility companies in other countries would benefit from similar arrangements that are beneficial for the attainment of both the program and corporate performance targets.
completion, six of the seven safeguard PAPs were achieved. The implementation of the safeguard PAPs has improved the capacity of PLN, especially at the unit level, to manage environmental and social impacts. By excluding 190 circuit-kilometer (ckm) of medium-voltage lines in the indigenous peoples’ area and 428.19 ckm of medium-voltage lines and 284.98 ckm low-voltage lines in the key biodiversity areas, the PAPs minimized the risks to ADB safeguards compliance. But the exclusion also eliminated indigenous peoples’ access to program benefits. In the upcoming review of ADB’s Safeguard Policy Statement, the provisions for this modality could consider how significant risks associated with government-funded programs could be better addressed.
The RBL modality tested in Indonesia through this program came out successful and easier to implement with lower transaction costs. It was flexible enough and allowed the PLN to select investments based on its changing requirements even during program implementation. Therefore, it is well suited to large power systems where demand and the technology available can change within a short time. By focusing on aggregate outputs and result areas as opposed to monitoring each contract, the program was able to support PLN in an effective programmatic manner.
Monitoring the progress against targets of PLN’s broader Sumatra program, which the RBL supported, was not considered part of the RBL administration responsibility. Therefore, the threats posed by the lack of financing for the broader program and the subsequent removal of some of its major components were not sufficiently tracked down and addressed under the RBL. It is important for future RBL programs to include in their monitoring all associated interventions that could have an impact on their implementation to enable necessary actions to be taken promptly to address deficiencies and/or avoid negative unintended consequences.
Some of the DLI targets and baselines set during program preparation were found to be conservative or inconsistent. Adjustments were made during implementation to make them more realistic. The target on energy sales was significantly affected by external factors beyond PLN’s control, including lower economic growth than anticipated under the PLN’s Power Supply Business Plan (RUPTL), energy subsidy removal, and the changing costumer consumption behavior. The experience has highlighted the importance of (i) setting DLIs that are within program control and not vulnerable to external factors, (ii) setting ambitious but achievable targets based on historic trends and EA/IA capacity, and (iii) having enough flexibility to adjust to changes in the external environment.
Through the Indonesia Resident Mission, ADB ensured that lessons learned from program implementation were used in the design of PLN subsequent RBL programs. Building on the program’s success in improving warehouse and waste management in Sumatra, ADB and the PLN transitioned this PAP into a DLI in the RBL programs for Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara and Kalimantan, Maluku, and Papua. Adjusting DLI targets and verification protocols as needed is also a lesson learned that found useful application in subsequent programs.
By using disbursement-linked indicators (DLIs), non-DLI targets, and program action plans (PAPs) under the results-based lending (RBL) modality, the program successfully instituted mechanisms that strengthened the capacity and encouraged performance improvements from Indonesia’s State Electricity Company, PLN (Perusahaan Listrik Negara), in both technical and administrative areas. Improvements spanned: (i) the procurement monitoring system, where inconsistencies in reporting were identified and addressed through regular procurement monitoring; (ii) the planning and implementation capacity of PLN, which (a) made the preparation of subsequent RBL programs easier, (b) enhanced coordination among PLN divisions, and (c) enhanced PLN’s ability to continue to access debt capital markets and the bank debt market (PLN has supportive relationships with banks and investors so has access to multiple channels of commercial financing); (iii) PLN’s processes for the recording, collection, calculation, and reporting of data used to measure and track the DLIs and non-DLIs, particularly the management reporting information system and its primary sources of data; and (iv) warehouse and waste management. Because of the stronger evaluation culture developed by the RBL, the program also helped PLN recognize the need to update its internal regulations on the disposal of Non-Operating Fixed Assets (ATTB), particularly transformers, to speed up safe disposal.
During appraisal, one of the benefits identified from the project was to provide employment opportunities to women through the All-China Women’s Federation. At the project’s completion, it was mentioned that women were employed as laborers during construction, and some were given permanent jobs in the IAs. Moreover, there were training opportunities given for skills enhancement. Given the focus on the growing role of women in development, gender equality is inevitably mentioned in ADB projects. Emphasis on gender depends on the context and locale conditions.
Sewerage construction needs to be fully addressed in the early stage of the project, particularly as it affects the implementation of wastewater treatment operations. Further to this, when the two are implemented by different funding institutions, the need for inter-donor coordination is essential to ensure that project operations and targeted completion are not compromised.
Various trainings were given to the executing and implementing agencies in water supply and wastewater treatment operations. Aside from training, emphasis on developing the institutions, such as review of the overall organization structures and terms of reference of management and staff, would be helpful in further strengthening the EA and IAs. The creation of the Tianjin Water Affairs Bureau can be regarded as a first step in overseeing the continued development of water-related IAs to focus efforts in building capacity in operational areas needed for the city’s development. Furthermore, it is also acknowledged that the commercialization of operations, through TCEPC involvement, is also another step in institutional strengthening.
Historically, resettlement implemented for the Yuqiao Reservoir occurred in three phases: 1960–1967, 1973, and 1979–1982. It was complex. Delays in the implementation of the resettlement subcomponent of this project could have been mitigated if lessons from the past have been taken into account. This included having closer consultation and ensuring that resettlement impact is better communicated with local officials, village committees and affected peoples, proposing reasonable resettlement or fishpond removal scope and compensation policies. The villagers would then be able to better understand the objectives and importance of projects, and would be more receptive to the resultant land acquisition and resettlement activities.
The Yuqiao Reservoir subcomponent involved environment improvements to 68 villages. For such community-based subcomponents, community participation and self-management are effective gateways into sustainable implementation and operation. For similar projects, a community participation and self-management booklet should be prepared by villagers under the guidance of the social specialist at the project preparatory or implementation stage.