All the subprojects planned at appraisal, except for tourism, were implemented. The tourism subproject, planned to be undertaken in five towns, had to be dropped because of security reasons. Also, during implementation, state capacity was found more constrained than assessed at appraisal, leading to delays in capacity building and the reform program. More careful assessment of EA/IA capacity and the local context is needed to ensure a realistic project scope and implementation period.
The overlapping implementation periods between project 1 and then-ongoing ADB Loan 2151 and other national programs, and concurrent preparation and appraisal of projects 2 and 3 of the MFF imposed a heavy burden on the ERA. Exacerbating this burden was the initially weak capacity of project implementation units (PIUs). ADB providing greater implementation support, particularly for the preparation of subsequent tranches, would help address this challenge in future MFFs. Such support would also help enhance the quality of subsequent tranches of the MFFs and mitigate the risk of implementation delays.
Safeguards implementation arrangement in the ERA was adequate. An officer with the rank of chief engineer was deputed as the director of safeguards and was supported by four environmental and resettlement experts responsible for implementing safeguard requirements. Two officers from the state revenue department were posted as land acquisition officers. These land acquisition officers provided much-needed support to the high-powered committee Divisional Level Committee established by the state government to fast-track the implementation of the resettlement plans for subprojects under projects 2 and 3. Creating a land acquisition office in the PMU to manage unavoidable involuntary resettlement may be explored in ongoing and future projects.
This program comprised 29 policy actions: 11 for subprogram 1 and 18 for subprogram 2. The total number of policy actions was significantly large, particularly in subprogram 2, and represented a challenge in monitoring and implementation. The number of policy measures should be limited so that ADB can monitor compliance with them effectively throughout the program.
PFM and SOE reforms to ensure fiscal sustainability, like those in the program, have political and economic implications and are difficult to undertake without strong ownership. The implementation success of such policies resides in (i) a good understanding of vested interests; (ii) the government’s strong commitment; (iii) the institutional capacity of government agencies; (iv) effective partnership and coordination between ADB and the government; and (v) a strong appreciation for overall program benefits. All these were observed in the program.
This program was developed in close consultation with the government and development partners including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Agence Française de Développement, and United Nations Development Programme, and was designed through a holistic approach. It demonstrated that a holistic consultation process can ensure effective diagnosis of the issues, leading to a relevant policy matrix that prioritizes reform measures in collaboration with the development partners.
This program supported the preparation of the medium-term framework (MTBF) and MTBF manual, including gender-responsive budgeting tools at the MOF. Program experience has highlighted that institutionalizing change-management practices among those charged with implementing reforms requires enhancing both technical and change management competency. It is also necessary to enable the government to sustain capacity development programs beyond the life of a program for instance, by providing training experts, particularly to develop soft capacities.
This program successfully tackled a wide range of highly complex, interlinked issues. In addition to the appropriate sequencing of reforms, its success was attributable to the development of adequate capacity among key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance (MOF), Central Bank of Uzbekistan, and State Asset Management Agency. Capacity development was made possible by the provision of ADB technical assistance.
Although none of the 37 contracts under this project experienced any implementation delays, the performance of the contractors could have been better with respect to the quality of work and the technical specifications and construction standards. Specific issues were (i) design-related, affecting certain circuit-breakers, concrete poles for distribution lines, the size of pre-cast foundations, cross-arms, and system earthing; and (ii) construction-related, such as the stringing of transmission and distribution lines, installation of self-supporting insulated wire distribution lines, compaction of ground, installation of pre-cast foundations for steel lattice towers, anchor bolts for substation equipment, and grouting. These issues were either partially resolved or recommended for better technical specifications in future tranches of the MFF. Employing national and international best practices will be key to improving the quality and technology in future tranches. Encouraging contractors to improvise where possible and introduce new technology standards, incorporating lessons learned and issues identified in the technical specifications for the initial tranche, and prompting the project management units to be more proactive in using the project management consultant to develop the capacity of the operational staff on new technology and standards will also be helpful.
This MFF’s tranches 2 and 3 were supposed to be approved in November 2017 and March 2018, respectively. However, the restrictive approach taken by Azerbaijan to public external borrowing, which was absent at appraisal time, led to the deferment of these tranches. It might have been possible to push through with these tranches if they were processed close to the start of tranche 1, with the locations and routes identified upfront and thoroughly analyzed for potential construction and safeguard impacts. Overlapping processing and implementation of the first and subsequent tranches would have maintained the implementation momentum and maximize the benefits from the MFF.
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.
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.