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Raising Development Impact through Evaluation

Armenia: Validation of the Country Partnership Strategy Final Review, 2014-2018

Evaluation Document | 8 July 2019

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) country partnership strategy (CPS), 2014–2018 for Armenia aimed to assist Armenia to integrate its economy regionally, and to rebalance it toward more resilient, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable growth. ADB’s program—comprising approved, completed, and ongoing loans, grants, and technical assistance (TA)—totaled $1,272 million during 2014–2018. By volume of financing, the sector allocation included about 57% for transport; 15% for public sector management; 14% for water and other urban infrastructure and services; 8% for finance; 4% for energy; 1% for education; and 1% for industry and trade.

This report assessed the CPS 2014–2018 successful. Many outputs and outcomes under various projects were achieved and contributed to the development outcomes of supporting economic growth, increasing employment, reducing poverty, reducing environmental risks, improving the business environment and national competitiveness, and strengthening public administration. The efficiency of the CPS was affected by delays in project start-up and procurement. Fiscal consolidation during the latter part of the strategy period also restricted counterpart funding, but the expected outcome of strengthened public finances should enhance the sustainability of the program and Armenia’s broader development efforts.

The validation makes five recommendations for ADB’s future support to Armenia: (i) focus and align ADB’s future program with its core strengths and comparative advantage; (ii) work with the government to strengthen multisector development partner coordination; (iii) continue to strengthen project implementation capacity within line ministries; (iv) build a knowledge-based relationship with Armenia; and (v) monitor the nonsovereign portfolio in Armenia for its important potential to derive useful lessons for ADB nonsovereign operations in other transition economies; and to ensure its rapid recent growth does not subsequently reveal issues.

Note on IED's Country Evaluations and Validations

Using its 2015 Guidelines for the Preparation of Country Assistance Program Evaluations and Country Partnership Strategy Final Review Validations, the Independent Evaluation Department (IED) intends to provide an objective and informed judgement of the performance and results of country partnership strategies (CPSs), particularly in terms of their relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability and development impacts.

In ascertaining relevance, IED considers not only the alignment of the program with country needs and government objectives, but also cross-sector CPS objectives, appropriateness of modalities and sector program designs, and sufficiency of donor coordination.

The effectiveness of a country program in delivering results is also an important aspect of an IED evaluation. Primary focus is on the achievement of the outcomes and outputs of ADB interventions (and the likelihood of achievement if the program is still ongoing), as worded in CPSs and their results frameworks. These include knowledge products and institutional development efforts.

Performance and results are likewise judged from an efficiency perspective, that is, whether the program was delivered in a cost-effective and timely manner, and generated value for money. It also considers the capacity of executing agencies that may contribute to start up and implementation delays, and cost overruns.

Another critical element of IED's evaluation is the likely sustainability of results over the medium term, technically, financially, environmentally, socially, politically, and institutionally. Further, IED looks at how results led to development impacts. Specifically, whether ADB contributed to achieving the CPS objectives, directly through its sector programs and implementing cross-cutting agenda(s) across various modalities in different sectors and by various development partners.

IED gives special importance to cross-cutting objectives by considering how the cross-sectoral and thematic objectives of the CPS are articulated in the results framework and provided with appropriate indicators and targets; and how the program achieved the cross-sector thematic results. Equal weights are given to the achievement of sector and cross-cutting objectives in the relevance and development impact assessments, in both country assistance program evaluations (CAPEs) and CPS final review validations (CPSFRVs). This aligns with ADB's increasing emphasis on achieving corporate strategic priorities.

In preparing its country evaluations and validations, IED conducts document reviews, consults with concerned departments, staff, governments and other stakeholders, and undertakes evaluation missions. IED has put in place a quality assurance system to ensure consistent application of its 2015 guidelines. In CPSFRVs, IED's primary focus is to validate the evidence presented in the CPS Final Review.