Azerbaijan: Validation of the Final Review of Country Operations, 2000–2011 | Asian Development Bank

Azerbaijan: Validation of the Final Review of Country Operations, 2000–2011

Evaluation Document | 6 November 2012

This report validates, from an independent perspective, the final review of the results of operations conducted by ADB in Azerbaijan from 2000 to 2011.

It assesses the quality of the final review as a self-evaluation exercise. This report has been prepared in a timely manner to identify lessons and recommendations for improving the design and implementation of ADB's Azerbaijan Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) 2013-2017. This is the first country level assessment that ADB's Independent Evaluation Department has prepared for the Azerbaijan program since it joined ADB in 1999.

This validation report concurs with the final review's overall rating of the ADB-supported activities as successful. However, it criticizes the lack of a CPS for many years in Azerbaijan, and the very slow cultivation of a partnership with the government, although this has improved in recent years. The absence of a country strategy and program or CPS for over 10 years is contrary to ADB guidelines. Insufficient explanation of this situation rendered the quality of the final review less than satisfactory.

This validation recommends that ADB always have a valid country strategy under which to operate, that it channel investments and initiatives directly towards secondary towns and rural populations to promote inclusive growth, and that it prioritize economic diversification in its operations.

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Note on IED's Country Evaluations and Validations

Using its 2015 Guidelines for the Preparation of Country Assistance Program Evaluations and Country Partnership Strategy Final Review Validations, the Independent Evaluation Department (IED) intends to provide an objective and informed judgement of the performance and results of country partnership strategies (CPSs), particularly in terms of their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and development impacts.

In ascertaining relevance, IED considers not only the alignment of the program with country needs and government objectives, but also cross-sector CPS objectives, appropriateness of modalities and sector program designs, and sufficiency of donor coordination.

The effectiveness of a country program in delivering results is also an important aspect of an IED evaluation. Primary focus is on the achievement of the outcomes and outputs of ADB interventions (and the likelihood of achievement if the program is still ongoing), as worded in CPSs and their results frameworks. These include knowledge products and institutional development efforts.

Performance and results are likewise judged from an efficiency perspective, that is, whether the program was delivered in a cost-effective and timely manner, and generated value for money. It also considers the capacity of executing agencies that may contribute to start up and implementation delays, and cost overruns.

Another critical element of IED's evaluation is the likely sustainability of results over the medium term, technically, financially, environmentally, socially, politically, and institutionally. Further, IED looks at how results led to development impacts. Specifically, whether ADB contributed to achieving the CPS objectives, directly through its sector programs and implementing cross-cutting agenda(s) across various modalities in different sectors and by various development partners.

IED gives special importance to cross-cutting objectives by considering how the cross-sectoral and thematic objectives of the CPS are articulated in the results framework and provided with appropriate indicators and targets; and how the program achieved the cross-sector thematic results. Equal weights are given to the achievement of sector and cross-cutting objectives in the relevance and development impact assessments, in both country assistance program evaluations (CAPEs) and CPS final review validations (CPSFRVs). This aligns with ADB's increasing emphasis on achieving corporate strategic priorities.

In preparing its country evaluations and validations, IED conducts document reviews, consults with concerned departments, staff, governments and other stakeholders, and undertakes evaluation missions. IED has put in place a quality assurance system to ensure consistent application of its 2015 guidelines. In CPSFRVs, IED's primary focus is to validate the evidence presented in the CPS Final Review.