Pakistan: Punjab Devolved Social Services Program

Evaluation Document | 12 October 2012

Assesses the performance of ADB loans to the devolved social services program in Pakistan's Punjab provinces, including contributing factors and how the devolved social services delivery in Punjab has changed.

Worsening poverty and slow progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been a major challenge in Punjab province in Pakistan. Limits to social service coverage, access, and quality were recognized as key constraints to achieve the MDGs and poverty reduction. Rural communities as well as women and the poor were underserved, and institutional arrangements for effective social service delivery were inadequate.

ADB approved a loan in 2004 to strengthen devolved social services for a more equitable, efficient, effective, and sustainable delivery of social services in line with the Punjab Local Government Ordinance of 2001 (PLGO). ADB provided a loan with ordinary capital resources financing of $75 million and a loan from the Asian Development Fund of $75 million. The Department for International Development of the United Kingdom cofinanced $30 million as budget support and $20 million as a technical assistance grant. The program outcomes focused on (i) realigning intergovernmental relations to support devolved social services, (ii) rationalizing and setting minimum standards for social services, and (iii) strengthening public accountability mechanisms and promoting public-private partnership.

Overall, the program is rated less than successful. While the design and technical content of the program were largely sound, the program itself was not attuned to the political and institutional dynamics surrounding the federally driven devolution agenda. Following the 2008 national elections, the new national and provincial governments withdrew their commitment to devolution. The program, as complex and ambitious as it was, lacked elements or emphasis that international experience has shown to be necessary to successfully devolve.

Based on the evaluation findings, it is proposed that ADB undertake a special study that covers all relevant devolution and local governance initiatives over the last decade. The study could inform country assistance performance evaluations to influence future ADB support. Furthermore, ADB should elaborate a diagnostic approach that elaborates and mitigates political and policy risk for preparatory work in governance support.

Contents 

  • Basic Data
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Design and Implementation
  • Performance Assessment
  • Other Assessments
  • Issues, Lessons, and Follow-up Actions
  • Appendixes