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LESSONS:

Advisory Technical Assistance for Power Sector Institutional Strengthening in the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

sector: Energy | country: Viet Nam, Socialist Republic of

ADB needs to find ways to support the management of counterpart organizations throughout technical assistance (TA) implementation. As a first step, ADB might consider asking EAs to undertake their own formal, documented evaluation of all TAs within 1 or 2 years of completion. The evaluation would assess the relevance of the TAs, their impact on the organization, and the extent to which recommendations were accepted and implemented. The aim of this exercise would be to increase the involvement of the recipient organization, and to help ensure that the design of subsequent ADB TA programs improves their chance of achieving the desired outcomes and impacts.

The executing agencies (EAs) lacked ownership and proactive involvement in the technical assistance projects (TAs). The TA outputs were regarded more as a source of reference for the future than an agreed course of action. During TA implementation, inputs from the EAs were often not substantial and substantive. After completion, the TA reports were not translated into the local language and disseminated throughout the organization. Other stakeholders and government agencies concerned were generally unaware of these TAs. When one of the EAs did not provide the required data after repeated attempts, more efficacious use of TA funds might have been considered, including discontinuing the TA-financed study, if necessary.

The technical assistance (TAs) might have been better received had they focused on what was achievable, even if this was not necessarily optimal. When key recommendations are dismissed as irrelevant because they cannot be implemented readily, more useful recommendations tend to get overlooked as well. Consequently, the TA report loses its credibility. To avoid such problems, a three-way dialogue among the government, ADB, and the TA consultant is desirable throughout a TA. This allows misunderstandings to be resolved early, so the TA consultant can be redirected as necessary.

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