As of 17 February 2011, ADB's ongoing Natural Resources Sector Portfolio in Afghanistan comprised 1 OCR loan and 6 grants (3 ADF, 1 DFID, 1 CIDA and 1 JFPR) totaling to $218 million, in four projects. These four projects are (i) Western Basins Water Resources Management (co-finance by CIDA); (ii) Agriculture Market Infrastructure; (iii) Rural Business Support, and (iv) multi-tranche financing facility (MFF- tranche 1) for the Water Resources Development Investment Program (WRDIP) (co-financed by DFID). A JFPR community-based irrigation rehabilitation project was closed in June 2010 and another JFPR project expanded on the earlier project is currently being processed. These projects cover a considerable array of critical constraints within the natural resources sector, focusing on rehabilitation of irrigation system infrastructure, institutional reforms and capacity building, and improvement of rural services.
Project implementation, however, is often slow as a result of (i) the poor security situation, (ii) weak capacity of the implementing agencies (IAs), (iii) difficulties to recruit and retain qualified staff, within the IAs, contracted firms, and within ADB. Within the natural resources sector, the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW), the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) are IAs for the on-going natural resources projects. IAs do currently not have adequate capacity for the timely implementation of these projects. Project management offices were not able to recruit appropriate staff from the local market during 2010. Most technical and procurement related issues often remain unresolved for substantial time periods resulting in considerable implementation delays. This poses challenges to (i) delivering development impact, (ii) guarantee successful project implementation, and (iii) supervising project progress.
The proposed TA will employ a consultant for a total of 18 person-months (to be spread over a 2 year period). The TA's impact is to improve the capacity of IAs to implement natural resources projects, and help the Government to improve implementation efficiency in ADB's Agriculture and Natural Resources sector portfolio. The proposed outcome is an improved performance of ADB's natural resources portfolio, which would be reflected in (i) satisfactory ratings for active projects, (ii) achievement of contract award and disbursement projections, and (iii) due diligence of ADB's pipeline projects. The TA would also assist IAs in reviewing key project documents, including but not limited to (i) preparation of draft RFPs, (ii) preparation of procurement plans, (iii) bidding documents, (iv) bid evaluation, (v) contract negotiations and (vi) subsequent contract administration. The consultant will be recruited by ADB and based in AFRM, and report directly to ADB.
The TA will also help ADB's AFRM to provide effective supervision of its natural resources portfolio, increased frequency of project reviews and timely identification and resolution of implementation issues. Currently there is only one National Officer at the Afghanistan Resident Mission (AFRM) involved full-time in supervision and administration of the considerable amount of natural resources projects currently implemented in Afghanistan. The TA will play a critical role to achieving natural resources development results in Afghanistan. The sector division and AFRM will continue to provide oversight, track progress, and maintain close liaison with the Government and coordination of donors.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The ADB country partnership strategy for 2009-2013 recognizes that Afghanistan continues to suffer from (i) insecurity and conflict; (ii) lack of good governance and accountability in the delivery of public services, particularly with respect to public financial management and procurement; (iii) an extremely low level of human development, which makes it difficult to deliver development assistance and transfer knowledge, skills, and technology; (iv) weak and often outdated institutions; and (v) the limited availability and poor quality of infrastructure. The government acknowledges these limitations and, in seeking support to address them, it has asked ADB to focus its assistance on a limited number of sectors, including agriculture and natural resources (ANR).
ADB has five ongoing ANR projects in Afghanistan.The implementation of these projects has been delayed by poor security, the weak capacity of the implementing agencies, and difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified implementing agency staff and consultants. Capacity is very limited at the implementing agencies for the ongoing projects, which are the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW); the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL); and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD). Project management offices have suffered from frequent changes in staff and many technical issues have prolonged procurement processing and delayed implementation significantly. This puts successful project implementation and the delivery of intended development impacts at risk.
Efforts to build a skilled and experienced professional cadre in these agencies started from a very low base and will likely take time. Significant capacity gaps need to be filled in the meantime to ensure achievement of project development outcomes and impacts. The TA will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the implementing agencies in preparing and implementing ANR sector projects through capacity development and management support for ongoing operations. The capacity of the implementing agencies will be strengthened in (i) strategic planning and the implementation, administration, and management of projects; (ii) project and program development; and (iii) financial management. The TA will help ensure that ADB's assistance program is responsive and supports the ANR sector as effectively as possible.