Country Assistance Program Evaluation for Uzbekistan (2006) | Asian Development Bank

Country Assistance Program Evaluation for Uzbekistan (2006)

Evaluation Document | 31 January 2006

This country assistance program evaluation focused on the Asian Development Bank's operations in Uzbekistan from their commencement in 1996 to 2004, although some developments in 2005 are also mentioned.

The Asian Development Bank's (ADB) operations in Uzbekistan began with an interim operational strategy prepared in 1996. A full country operational strategy (COS) followed in 2000, and thereafter supplemented by country strategy and program updates (CSPUs).

As the portfolio is not mature, it is generally too soon to be able to state confidently what the program's impacts are and how sustainable ADB operations will be. Information available indicates, despite a level of uncertainty, the program has encouraged the case for reform in some areas; achieved impacts in basic education and transport; and that ADB has been an effective apolitical player that has built up a degree of trust with the Government.

The CAPE methodology followed the conventional Operations Evaluation Department (OED) approach of document examination: preliminary issue formulation; data collection in the field through surveys, questionnaires, interviews, focus group sessions; and inspections of project implementation.

Issues and lessons

The country strategies contained in the interim and full country operational strategies were assessed as being between satisfactory and highly satisfactory. The overall program was rated satisfactory based on the criteria of relevance and efficacy.

Some issues and lessons that came out from the evaluation were

  • Strengthen the link between the strategy and the program. While there were strengths in the Uzbekistan country strategies, there were also weaknesses, one of which was the implementation of the strategy, in particular inconsistencies between the strategy and ADB's operational program.
  • Greater sector focus and selectivity. As a general proposition, it is likely that ADB would have a better quality portfolio if it focuses on those sectors in which it has a proven track record of achieving development results. A sector focus is needed to complement thematic focuses in country strategy and programs (CSPs). This will help to prevent a drift away from the strategy during its implementation.
  • Build synergies in ADB's operations. Three study findings illustrate this issue:
    • lack of geographic focus
    • failure to address strategic themes across operations systematically, which could have been addressed by identifying such themes in CSPUs
    • greater partnerships with other donors that include common arrangements for implementation and identification of a lead donor for a particular sector, program, action, or task leading to harmonization of their actions, thus increasing transparency and collectively effectiveness
  • Develop a governance strategy. Given that governance is a broad and sensitive topic, ADB needs to select a strategic governance agenda in Uzbekistan carefully, based on an open and frank discussion with Government.
  • Improve the management of the technical assistance (TA) program and the results achieved. TA is likely to play a key role in supporting ADB's activities in the area of governance. There is evidence of client satisfaction and positive outcomes under some TA projects. However, weaknesses were also identified, raising questions about the usefulness, impact, and sustainability of some outputs.

Recommendations

  • Strategy formulation and program management need to be improved.
  • The next CSP should identify niches where the Government would welcome ADB playing a lead role in helping the transition to a market economy by strengthening the governance system.
  • ADB should improve the management of the TA program and the results achieved.
  • ADB should become a better development partner by avoiding the imposition of ADB-driven conditions and taking a long-term view of Uzbekistan's transition to a market economy.
  • The CSP should define a larger role for the Uzbekistan Resident Mission (URM), building on its proven strengths, and revise the balance of resources between the URM and ADB headquarters so that the URM is adequately resourced.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Map
  • Background
  • Context for Country Strategy
  • Country Strategy and Program
  • Assessment of Strategy and Program
  • Issues, Lessons Learned, and Recommendations
  • 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.