Long-Term Strategic Framework: Lessons from Implementation (2001-2006)

Date: December 2007
Type: Evaluation Reports
Subject:
Evaluation
Series: Special Evaluation Studies

Description

The Long-Term Strategic Framework for 2001-2015 (LTSF) was prepared to move ADB's poverty reduction agenda forward and was based on an understanding of the region's situation in 2000. It envisages implementation through three medium-term strategies (MTS), each lasting for 5 years. Rapid and far reaching changes in the Asia-Pacific region since then called for a review of the role and long-term strategy of ADB to determine its future direction and vision to 2020.

This study provided feedback to a review and fine-tuning of the LTSF and related strategies. The objectives of the study were to

  • provide an independent assessment of the achievements of the LTSF and its implementation during the MTS I and the early years of MTS II (i.e., relevance of LTSF, the responsiveness of ADB to its strategic guidance, and its influence on ADB's positioning for results and achieving development effectiveness); and
  • identify lessons for future strategy formulation and operations.

Summary of findings

Overall, the relevance of the LTSF was found to be high, while ADB's response and the initial results achieved were rated medium. A significant exception was inclusive social development where the response was inadequate to achieve the LTSF objectives and results were weak. The three-track approach of sustained and equitable economic growth, social development, and good governance towards contributing to a vision of poverty reduction was conceptually strong and empirically valid in the majority of countries.

Core Areas: Summary Evaluation Ratings of LTSF Implementation
Criteria Sustainable Economic Growth Inclusive Social Development Governance
Relevance High High High
Responsiveness Medium Low Medium
Results and Results Positioning Medium Medium Medium

The cores areas of intervention were complemented by three theme areas (promoting private sector development, supporting regional cooperation and integration, and addressing environmental sustainability) that aimed to broaden and deepen their impact. The study also found overall relevance in the theme areas to be high while implementation response and initial results were rated medium.

Thematic Areas: Summary Evaluation Ratings of LTSF Implementation
Criteria Private Sector Development Region Cooperation Environmental Sustainability
Relevance High High High
Responsiveness Medium Medium Medium
Initial Results and Results Positioning Medium Medium Medium

The LTSF was highly relevant in the regional context as well as to country priorities. As to its influence on ADB, the LTSF was very clear that its broad focus on various areas and themes would require extra financial and human resources. The fact that these were not always forthcoming limited its influence on ADB operations. The lack of a results framework and monitoring indicators, inadequate data management systems, presence of multiple strategic documents and statements and their weak strategic link with corporate planning and budgeting seemed to have limited the effectiveness of the LTSF in influencing institutional behaviors and achieving its overall vision.

Lessons identified

To ensure continuing relevance, client responsiveness, and results, ADB has three major roles to play in the region, taking into account country diversity and demand for ADB products and services:

  • financing development projects
  • providing high-quality policy advice, analytical work, and related knowledge services; and
  • catalyzing the mobilization of resources with other development partners, the private sector, and newly emerging bilateral donors.

ADB needs to adjust its activities in several different ways to address the rapidly changing characteristics and needs of the region. ADB's role in middle-income countries is changing, with increasing demands for knowledge products and services, policy advice, private sector development, environmental management, and regional cooperation. Its future performance will be governed both by its ability to adapt its operations and instruments to rapidly changing client country needs and by how it enhances its institutional effectiveness in terms of human resources, business procedures, incentive systems, and results orientation. Towards fine tuning the LTSF and formulating related strategies in the future and in their implementation, the evaluation provides several recommendations for consideration by Management:

  • focus on each developing member country's binding development constraints and sector priorities, followed by sector selectivity in the country partnership strategy to create a critical mass of interventions
  • reduce the range of high-level strategic documents and statements to guide operations more effectively
  • enhance strategic clarity by focusing on one set of strategic directions over a combination of sector and thematic areas
  • expand private sector operations by developing synergies between ADB's public and private sector operations
  • increase investment in ADB's human resource development, and manage institutional change
  • provide better balance in terms of resource allocation and incentives between project preparation and implementation
  • strengthen ADB's capacity to provide knowledge products and services
  • enhance ADB's data quality and information management systems and provide a set of performance indicators to monitor and evaluate progress in achieving strategic directions and likely development results.

Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • I. Introduction
  • II. Strategy Evolution and the Regional Context
  • III. Core Strategic Areas
  • IV. Thematic Areas
  • V. The LTSF’s Influence on Institutional Effectiveness
  • VI. Overall Assessment, Key Lessons, and Recommendations
  • Appendixes
  • Supplementary Appendixes