ADB Support for Public Sector Reforms in the Pacific: Enhance Results through Ownership, Capacity, and Continuity

Evaluation Document | 31 July 2009

This special evaluation study assesses the effectiveness of ADB support for public sector reforms in Pacific developing member countries.

Since the early 1980s, developing countries in the Pacific - some of them fragile states, most of them small, and many of them remote - have generally fared more poorly than their East Asian neighbors. They generally suffered slow and sometimes negative economic growth in the 1990s, and most need to look outside their domestic economies for achieving sustainable growth.

The public sector has therefore come to dominate economies in the region, with government the main player and the largest employer in the Micronesian countries, and somewhat less dominant but still significant in the Melanesian and Polynesian countries.

To help improve public sector performance, ADB from 1996 to 2002, approved 11 program loans to the Pacific countries totaling $211.8 million, with the largest ($70.0 million) to Papua New Guinea.

This special evaluation study assesses the effectiveness of the loans - made to the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands in Micronesia; Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu in Melanesia; and the Cook Islands, Samoa, and Tonga in Polynesia. It has addressed three key questions: Was ADB support relevant to Pacific reform needs? Was ADB's approach to supporting reforms in the Pacific and use of the program loan modality and technical assistance effective? And how can ADB improve its support for reforms?

Overall, ADB support for reforms to all Pacific DMCs is rated partly successful. The study concludes that the broad thrust of ADB support for public sector reforms in the Pacific remains relevant a decade later (in 2009), but effectiveness was limited by overambitious objectives and designs that needed to better reflect government ownership.


  • Executive Summary
  • Map
  • Introduction
  • Pacific Development Context
  • Asian Development Bank Support for Reforms
  • A Political Economy Perspective to Reforms
  • Evaluation
  • Conclusions, Lessons Identified, and Recommendations
  • Appendixes
  • Supplementary Appendix