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LESSONS:

Pakistan: Sindh Rural Development Project [Loan 1934-PAK]

sector: Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Rural Development, Finance, Public Sector Management, Transport | country: Pakistan

The project completion report (PCR) draws several lessons from the project implementation. Project experience raises a larger question: whether actions to improve labor rights and welfare are compatible with ADB’s existing lending modalities of program, sector, and investment loans. The experience in Pakistan shows that existing ADB lending modalities do not allow for promotion of labor rights. Links between labor rights and welfare, good governance practices, poverty reduction, and the improvement of labor rights through loans by multilateral financing institutions are relatively under-researched, at least with respect to Pakistan. Given ADB’s focus on good governance and poverty reduction, the PCR urges that those links be explored.

A multisector community development project must be organic in nature, i.e., it must be self- operating, which reduces the coordination demands on the executing agency and the need for monitoring by ADB. This can happen only if (a) the design includes comparatively more tested and proven interventions and fewer new initiatives; (b) the interventions are limited in number and strategic in nature; and (c) if a suitable executing agency and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) are selected at the appraisal stage.

Given the sector mandate of line agencies in Pakistan, provincial planning and development departments are the best institutional homes for multisector projects, as these are the only departments with a multisector mandate. In addition, they have established reporting lines, and institutional relationships with line departments and district governments.

The approach of involving multiple district-based NGOs in community mobilization and selecting them through the national competitive bidding process was not successful because of (a) their lack of capacity, (b) politicization of the recruitment process, and (c) the lengthy and cumbersome process of recruitment through national competitive bidding.

Projects that are innovative in nature or complicated in design inherently involve delays and require intensive ADB supervision. Community development projects require additional time, and proper arrangements for community mobilization and social preparation processes. ADB experience shows that such projects should be designed with implementation periods of not less than 7 years. This validation concurs with these lessons.

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