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LESSONS:

BAPEDAL Regional Network Project

sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development | country: Indonesia

ADB and its consultants should be more thorough in preparing cost estimates, especially for non-standard types of projects.The project cost was substantially overestimated at appraisal, as evidenced by the 46% cost underun and the surplus loan proceeds of almost $20 million, or 44% of the original loan amount.

Frequent replacement of project directors, managers, and staff negatively affected implementation. It appears that the Ministry of Environment (MOE) selected management staff based on technical expertise rather than project management experience. The technical tasks were numerous and time consuming, so they should have been performed with input from short-term specialists. Projects of this type should be headed by well-qualified experienced project managers, who dedicate most (if not all) of their time to management, with technical staff seconded as required. In addition, consultants should demonstrate a positive commitment to knowledge transfer to create a pool of skilled staff within the agency to lead future projects.

The environmental sector requires significant investment in regional human resources and institutional development. Organizational structure and the focus of regional offices should be clearly identified, strengthened, and evaluated prior to deciding which facilities should be installed.

When designing projects relying to a large extent on information technology, the requirement for modern and highly sophisticated technical equipment such as GIS and VSAT satellite network stations should be carefully assessed, given high O&M costs. Unless there are technical and financial means to upgrade the facilities to keep pace with technological developments, such equipment may become quickly outdated. In addition, databases that require technical as well as statistical input – physical features of maps for GIS overlays or demographics – are time consuming and costly to maintain.

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