Country Assistance Program Evaluation for the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (1999) | Asian Development Bank

Country Assistance Program Evaluation for the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (1999)

Evaluation Document | 31 December 1999

This country assistance program evaluation assesses the relevance, efficacy, and efficiency of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) total developmental assistance to Viet Nam for 1993-1998.

Viet Nam's developmental priorities are embodied in the reform process that began before ADB resumed lending in October 1993. Under the Doi Moi, a program of economic renovation series, numerous policy reforms have been progressively implemented. The pace of economic reforms was initially rapid in the later part of the 1980s, in contrast with the slower pace of the 1990s reforms. Viet Nam's management of foreign assistance had been constrained by the high degree of formal centralization of decision making coupled with weak administrative capability, an opaque policy-making process, coordination problems between agencies, and a weak legal framework for managing foreign aid.

This evaluation identified major issues which includes ADB's response to problems of interagency coordination (with particular concentration on decentralized activities), the modality of poverty reduction projects in less endowed areas, and a systematic approach to capacity building, institutional strengthening, and conditionality setting.

Lessons

  • The country operational strategy and country assistance plans should be designed to provide operational guidance for making hard decisions on project identification and processing.
  • The absorptive capacity for external assistance in a transition economy needs to be thoroughly assessed and improved with assistance over an extended time period.
  • Formulation of the operational strategy and the country assistance program should be focused and selective, and provide the basis for excluding as well as including specific areas of intervention.

Key recommendations

  • Project administration staff in the Viet Nam Resident Mission should be strengthened to lessen the problems of coordination with provincial authorities considering the shift towards greater decentralized responsibility, especially for poverty projects.
  • To complement staff increases, there should be more headquarters staff time during project processing and the quest for a sharper geographic focus for ADB operations.
  • Performance indicators should be identified in both country operational strategy and the country assistance plans as a basis for monitoring and evaluating ADB's program of assistance in Viet Nam.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Map
  • Introduction
  • Developmental Priorities and Strategies of Viet Nam
  • ADB Program
  • Implementation Performance
  • Conclusion
  • Appendixes

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.