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LESSONS:

Environment Management Technical Assistance Projects to Selected Central Asian Republics

sector: Multisector | country: Kazakhstan Kyrgyz Republic Tajikistan Uzbekistan

1. Funding agency coordination should go beyond individual project implementation and consider the areas each development partner could best focus on to promote the efficient and effective use of resources. In the Central Asian republics, the large number of development partners active in the environment sector did not lead to the most effective and efficient achievement of results. As efforts are ongoing to coordinate this assistance, ADB should actively participate in this undertaking. [Executive summary; Main text, paras. 1, 23, 78]

2. A regional solution is required to address transboundary issues and manage transboundary protected areas. To facilitate and broker agreements, some regional cooperation bodies have been formed (e.g., Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development and International Coordinating Water Commission). ADB has not made a major contribution in these efforts. ADB’s regional cooperation efforts should take a proactive role in brokering agreements for resource management, environmental information harmonization and sharing, and security. Maximum participation by the countries in the region is a key ingredient to achieving successful results. [Executive Summary; Main text, paras. 31, 79]

3. The benefits of successful training-of-trainers programs can only be sustained if the programs are institutionalized in the agencies’ human resource development program and an annual budget is committed. Evaluation noted that the training programs have improved awareness of the participants and upgraded their skills to higher standards. However, failure to institutionalize the training programs limited the benefits to the participants (including its sustainability). [Executive summary; Main text, paras. 39-41, 80; Appendix 3]

4. The technical assistance (TA) projects had no direct linkage with the country operational strategy, the country strategy and program and country environment assessments (which came much later). If the interventions had been sequenced such that country environmental assessments were prepared and a roadmap that included a TA program drawn up on the basis of findings, then a strategy for intervention could have been implemented. Such sequencing would help ensure synergy and complementarities with other development partners, nongovernment organizations, and the government’s own programs. [Executive summary; Main text, para. 81; Appendix 2]

5. A more intensive consultation among stakeholders could have contributed to better needs assessment and enable strong country ownership and commitment to technical assistance (TA) projects. In addition, more focused and realistic designs would have allowed for efficient and effective TA results. Evaluation noted the mixed quality of TA designs where some were well-balanced with realistic objectives and scope (such as those implemented in Kyrgyz and Tajikistan) while others were overambitious in scope and budget (regional management information system), had inadequate needs assessments and lacked government support (i.e., Kazakhstan). [Main text, paras. 21, 61-62, 66, 71, 82]

6. The effectiveness of technical assistance (TA) depends heavily on the knowledge, skills and familiarity with local conditions of the consultants. The recruitment of consultants should place reasonable weight on their understanding of local realities, the methodologies required, the terms of references, and the difficulties and constraints of TA implementation. This will leave very little room for misunderstanding with regard to expectations (e.g., too much reliance of international consultants on national experts in Kyrgyz affected the quality of TA outputs). ADB should also encourage the use of national consultants who have the skills, know the language, and whose services can be tapped by the executing agency for continuity even after TA completion. [Executive summary; Main text, paras. 35, 84]

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