Emergency Flood Recovery (Sector) Project: Project Completion Report
sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development, Transport | country: Fiji Islands
ADB disaster response operations often involve executing and implementing agencies with capacity that is limited either inherently or due to the impacts of an emergency. This is particularly the case in countries such as Fiji where institutional capacity is often weak. The project inception report identified this as an issue facing the Ministry of Works, Transport, and Public Utilities (MWTPU), the main implementing agency for the project. The design and approval process is shortened for an emergency response project, nevertheless it must rigorously assess the adequacy of executing and implementing agency capacity, raise the institutional awareness of ADB procedures, and provide the institution with ongoing support during implementation.
ADB and the executing and implementing agencies must ensure that adequately skilled and experienced consultants are fielded to provide the inputs required for effective project design and implementation. The report and recommendation of the president (RRP) explicitly noted that adequate consultant support would be particularly important for disbursements based on experience in emergency assistance projects in the Pacific when design, contracting, and supervision expertise had been insufficient. Nonetheless, the consultants engaged for the project design proved to be inexperienced and not suited for the project tasks in the weak capacity environment of Fiji. The consultant selection process for such projects must be robust. The executing and implementing agencies need to check candidate references. Interest among consultancy firms in this project seems to have been limited due to its location and nature. Providing consultancy services is expensive in the Pacific region, and the use of quality-and cost-based selection may have discouraged some more experienced and better suited bidders as costs formed a key part of the bid assessment. Further analysis across more projects is needed on this.
Project monitoring and reporting by the government were inadequate. ADB must ensure that mechanisms are in place for necessary data gathering and monitoring, and make sure that project covenants in this respect are complied with.