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LESSONS:

Pakistan: Reproductive Health Project [Loan 1900(SF)-PAK]

sector: Health | country: Pakistan

Implementing projects in countries with similar circumstances as in Pakistan highlights: (a) the need for start-up technical assistance to set the stage for effective project implementation as part of the loan covenant, establish the project coordination units and/or project implementation units, and ensure that a realistic implementation arrangement is put in place, even if it means revising the project implementation design, drafting a management operation manual, assisting in the opening of imprest accounts, training project staff on ADB procurement and disbursement procedures and reporting requirements, and initiating the preparation of procurement and disbursement documents; (b) the need for more frequent review missions, probably with an appropriate consultant/advisor on board, in the early years of implementation and for as long as project implementation is deemed off track; and (c) the need to take immediate action to scale down project costs, and/or cancel part of the corresponding loan, when it becomes apparent that the government is unable or unwilling to put up the necessary counterpart funds. While it is important to correctly and objectively assess implementation constraints and implementation capacity, countries with serious development needs and weak institutional capacity should be assisted with building up this capacity as part of project design. This refers to short-term project implementation capacity as well as to longer-term program administration capacity. The project starting date should be set after start-up TA has been successfully completed, and countries with weak institutional capacity should be given time to comply with the covenants and requirements for loan effectiveness through a mentoring process that the start-up TA should provide. [Main text, page 8, section E(ii)]

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