2019 Annual Evaluation Review: Performance and Scorecards

Evaluation Document | 16 April 2019
2019 Annual Evaluation Review: Performance and Scorecards

The 2019 Annual Evaluation Review (AER) comes in the midst of two important tasks following the approval of Strategy 2030 in 2018: the preparation of a new corporate results framework for the first half of Strategy 2030’s 12-year implementation period (2019–2024), and the formulation of the seven key operational priority plans (2019–2030). Strategy 2030 represents an important milestone and has created great expectations, but the new strategic goals and directions that it sets out still need to be properly operationalized. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will not only need to translate the new strategy into meaningful targets and expanded operations in key thematic areas, it will also have to ensure this leads to better performance and development results through improvements to business processes, staffing, and resource allocations.  

This year, the Independent Evaluation Department (IED) is pleased to report steady improvements in the success rate of ADB’s operations in Central and West Asia. However, the performance of some completed nonsovereign operations remains weak. An improvement in the performance of the financial sector and private equity portfolios is needed, as private sector operations will become much more prominent in the context of Strategy 2030.  

The special theme of this year’s AER is the use of corporate results frameworks in ADB. IED fully supports the use of well-designed results frameworks. While these have not been perfect, they have proven to be useful results-management tools in multilateral development banks. IED acknowledges that ADB’s corporate results framework and its annual reporting through the Development Effectiveness Review have been valuable in steering ADB’s work and in reporting progress on results and key processes. We advocate further strengthening of the links between the indicators and targets of the ADB corporate results framework at level 1 (those indicators that reflect the region’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals that are most relevant to ADB strategic intentions), level 2 (key outputs and outcomes for ADB’s seven operational priorities), and level 3 (financial or project commitments in each of the seven operational priorities). We recommend that the operational priority plans currently being drafted are supported by good results frameworks using the same format as the corporate results framework, and that progress reports are issued to the Board using this scorecard format. Because of the growing size of country programs and the need to tailor country program work to individual country needs, we believe a more robust structuring of the country results frameworks in country partnership strategies is required. This would also allow for better reporting of results at the country level and facilitate improved monitoring and evaluation.  

The basis for reporting the results of operations in the corporate results framework and the higher plane evaluations is the project completion report for sovereign operations and the extended annual review report for nonsovereign operations. These reports’ performance ratings are consolidated and subsequently used to report on performance at the corporate level. The AER found that a number of these project evaluation reports are not produced on time, which is not in the interests of accountability or of the timely learning of lessons from implementation experience.  The timely delivery and tracking of the production of these completion reports need to improve. 

Lastly, this report advocates more systematic learning from the thematic and sector evaluations produced by IED, particularly from the implementation of the recommendations of these reports. This learning process should be done jointly by ADB Management and IED well-structured but simple learning sessions at the point of completion or implementation of all through the recommendations associated with the report.