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LESSONS:

Road Asset Management Project: Completion Report

sector: Transport | country: Cambodia

Capacity building (planning). Road Data Collection and Management Unit staff are still unable to complete a road maintenance planning report with solid budget recommendations, which needs to be improved.

Capacity building (implementation). The overall institutional setup for asset management, construction supervision and quality assurance and/or quality control, still needs improvement to be practically usable. In addition, the project completion review mission agreed with MPWT’s (Ministry of Public Works and Transport) recommendation for further training of RAMO (Road Asset Management Office) staff as necessary in International Federation of Consulting Engineers-based contracts; the English language; technical reporting; procurement activities; road safety; and social and safeguards aspects, including gender.

Road safety audits. Similarly, the project completion review mission found the need for road safety audits to be undertaken as part of the pavement design process, with additional work to solve problems with ineffective lane markings.

Road maintenance funding. Sustainable funding was not an objective of the project. Also, sustainable road asset management was not given a sufficient focus by the government, with adequate annual budget allocation for road maintenance. These issues need to be explored in the proposed future project to achieve sustainability of the MPWT (Ministry of Public Works and Transport) road maintenance regime.

Project coordination and project readiness. Where multiple cofinanciers are involved in interventions, careful selection (and attention to transparency in collaboration) of co-financiers during project design is required, to enable close and effective coordination during implementation; this is especially the case for parallel cofinanciers. The project design should focus on project readiness, including climate resilient design of pavements (flooding has become more frequent than it was during project design).

Privatizing force accounts. The failure to privatize force accounts remains an issue to be resolved during the proposed future project. MPWT (Ministry of Public Works and Transport) reported that the privatizing activities are now ongoing, although there has been no successful bidding process to date

Priority operating cost. POC was a confusing process for MPWT (Ministry of Public Works and Transport) staff, which was implemented with delays, and it is recommended that a similar approach not be used for future intervention.

HIV prevention program. Although HIV prevention program was implemented as designed, the budget allocated by IDA (International Development Agency) at project design was insufficient. Better project design with more detailed focus on an HIV prevention program is needed for future interventions

Independent procurement agent. This modality was not successful, and is not a good example to follow in future interventions, as shown by the issues that MPWT (Ministry of Public Works and Transport) faced with the IDA (International Development Agency)- funded IPA (independent procurement agent).

Project management. RAMO (Road Asset Management Office) staff were not located in a single area, but scattered across their respective offices. This meant the project director could not supervise them in the course of day-to-day activities

Robustness of cost estimates. Some cost categories were fully used and others insufficient (such as for the HIV prevention program), and more careful cost estimates are needed.

Link between cost estimate and financing arrangements. There should be a stronger linkage between cost estimates and financing arrangements to achieve the project scope as designed . However, this may have been possible only given sufficient ADB financing, ideally close to that provided by IDA (International Development Agency).

Lessons from Validation

Cambodia: Road Asset Management Project

The project completion report (PCR) discussed very briefly twelve lessons from the project pertaining to capacity building, road safety audits, road maintenance funding, project coordination and readiness, privatizing force accounts, operating cost, HIV prevention program, independent procurement agent, robustness of cost estimates, and linkage between cost estimate and financing arrangements. This validation finds these lessons appropriate, although the PCR could have further elaborated on these lessons. This validation has no additional lesson to offer.

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