Sector Assistance Program Evaluation for the Urban Sector and Water Supply and Sanitation in Bangladesh

Date: July 2009
Type: Evaluation Reports
Evaluation; Water
Series: Sector Assistance Program Evaluation


Bangladesh’s 159 million people are, as elsewhere in the developing world, urbanizing rapidly. The urban landscape is dominated by Dhaka, among the world’s most densely populated cities, and Chittagong, while about 300 others towns and cities add to the swell of humanity.

Yet government investment in the infrastructure needed to effectively absorb the tide has been lacking. Dhaka alone is increasingly constrained by thousands of slum areas, traffic congestion, power outages, water shortages, accumulating garbage, and severely polluted rivers amid indiscriminate dumping of industrial and residential waste. Conditions elsewhere are similar.

This sector assistance program evaluation looks at development assistance during 2001–2008 from ADB, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the Japanese government, and the World Bank in two development areas in the country: the urban sector and water supply and sanitation. The evaluation includes the results of a questionnaire of the project managers of all ongoing projects, and compares the sector's performance, problems, and opportunities to other sectors.

Overall, it finds ADBʹs program in the two sectors successful, although no overall ratings are given for the other development partners.

Among its key findings, the study says that ADB’s assistance contributed modestly to the reduction in urban poverty and substantially to improvements in public health environment (notably in flood protection and drainage), social relations, and institutional development in the project towns.

Among the many lessons identified in the evaluation, are that development partners need to support financing mechanisms that produce greater municipal accountability and promote the mobilization of local resources to ensure that subprojects are sustainable. The study also finds that there are good options for project cofinancing in the urban sector and water supply and sanitation in Bangladesh due to the large number of secondary towns.


  • Executive Summary
  • Maps
  • Introduction
  • Urban Sector Water Supply and Sanitation in Bangladesh
  • Investment in the Urban Sector and in Water Supply and Sanitation
  • Coverage and Performance of the Programs of Aid Agencies
  • Performance in Terms of Harmonization and Alignment
  • Assessment of Performance
  • Conclusions, Lessons, and Recommendations
  • Appendixes