2012 Annual Evaluation Review

Evaluation Document | 27 June 2012

This report summarizes key findings and lessons of evaluation studies carried out in 2011 and provides trends in the success rates of ADB operations. 

The Independent Evaluation Department's 2012 Annual Evaluation Review (AER) draws attention to the strategic agenda and operational performance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in light of several challenges facing Asia and the Pacific. Some of these problems, such as poverty, food insecurity and financial stress, are not new to the region. But others, notably climate change and rising inequality, are departures from the past. Taken together, they point to the need not only for more resources for development efforts but also for much greater effectiveness in the use of these resources.

This report addresses considerations about ADB both doing things right, be they in individual projects or country programs, and doing the right things, with respect to the directions taken in those projects or country programs. Project performance presents areas of strength and weakness. Project ratings in some fields such as transport continue to show success, reflecting solid delivery of outputs. The main gap is in the achievement of development outcomes, with problems manifest in capacity development and the sustainability of results.

ADB has had an overriding concern for increasing selectivity and focus since 2006. The guidance to focus on core operational areas has funneled the aggregate of numerous decisions at the country and corporate levels in one direction. While the core areas represent a potentially rich menu, there has been an unmistakable shift towards a predominance of infrastructure, with five-sixths of total project financing going to transport, energy, and water in 2011. This review cautions that furthering ADB's goals of inclusive and sustainable growth in the region calls for attention to other core and noncore areas as well. Even if ADB is not a primary lender in some of these areas, results on the ground can be enhanced by ensuring vital linkages among related aspects - by an effort to connect the dots with the help of partners.

This review stresses the need to be acutely cognizant about the uncertainties arising from exogenous shocks. Climate change, whose impacts will be excessively borne by the poor, threatens to derail development unless mitigation and adaptation are stepped up and mainstreamed. Financial shocks call for continued strengthening of country resilience. To generate operational impact, the above concerns need to be built into ADB's results framework.

Contents 

  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Executive Summary
  • Management Response
  • Chair's Summary: Development Effectiveness Committee
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Assessment of ADB's Operations
  • Chapter 3: Findings and Lessons on Outputs and Outcomes
  • Chapter 4: Evaluation Recommendations and Management's Follow-Up
  • Chapter 5: Agriculture in ADB and Its Contribution to Food Security
  • Chapter 6: Conclusions and Implications
  • Appendixes