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LESSONS:

Balochistan Devolved Social Services Program

sector: Education, Health, Water and Other Urban Infrastructure and Services | country: Pakistan

Executing agency capacity. Capacity in the executing and implementing agencies was expected to be built through the accompanying TA loan. Program outputs like developing sector strategies, implementing expenditure tracking and service delivery surveys, training communities to manage and monitor social service delivery, and other outputs critical to achieving Program outcome depended on effective technical assistance (TA) loan administration. However, executing agency capacity to administer the TA loan was inadequate. Given the capacity constraints in the province, more frequent and regular TA review missions and direct support through ADB- administered TA could have improved Program implementation. However, security concerns made it difficult to attract and retain good consultants.

Sector focus of policy reform. Given provincial and district capacity limitations, a Program focusing on a single sector would have had a better chance of success. Sustained support in one sector can be less demanding for both the government and ADB. Multi-sector policy reform interventions involving governance reform are difficult to manage, and a new system of local political governance imposed by the federal government added further complications.

Reform sequence. The sequence of reforms in the policy matrix was such that all substantial results could be achieved only after the completion of second tranche actions. In addition, liberal assessment of compliance allowed the release of the first tranche without achieving much toward sustainable outputs. More result-oriented sequencing of policy actions for the first tranche could have achieved some sustainable improvements in social service delivery.

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