Armenia: Validation of the Final Review of Country Operations, 2006–2011

Evaluation Document | 22 November 2012

This report evaluates the interim operational strategy final review from an independent perspective and assesses the quality of the self-evaluation. It identifies lessons and recommendations to improve the design and implementation of the upcoming country partnership strategy (CPS), as well as the quality and accountability of future self-evaluations.

This IED validation report assesses the interim operational strategy and its results less than successful and offers the following recommendations for future ADB action and for the Central and West Asia Department's consideration during preparation of the CPS:

  • Public sector lending reduction. ADB's public sector lending may need to be restrained to ensure the country's overall fiscal sustainability. Given that the government expects to borrow only $200 million-$300 million per annum during 2012-2013 from all international financial institutions, ADB's current lending targets may need to be scaled back. This can be done by adjusting the phasing of already agreed multitranche financing facilities and adopting a more modest lending pipeline. ADB should help the government set priorities for infrastructure investment, particularly in transport, urban development, and rural water supply.
  • Supplementing infrastructure investments. ADB should also add value to its ongoing infrastructure investments by financing a program of complementary activities through small grants from ADB-managed technical assistance trust funds. These grants could be used to enlarge the impact of these investments in reducing poverty, promoting climate change adaptation, building good governance capacity, and achieving gender reform goals.
  • Expanding private sector operations. Private sector operations will need to play a more prominent role in the new CPS. Synergies between ADB's public and private sector operations should be encouraged, and public sector advisory, capacity development, and policy dialogue support should complement catalytic private sector investment operations. ADB private sector operations should target the financial sector and emphasize support for developing the institutional savings and capital market, including pension funds. Scope may also exist for ADB private sector operations to foster energy efficiency and develop clean sources of power.
  • Knowledge and capacity development. ADB should develop a robust knowledge products and services and capacity building program in Armenia. The new CPS should define a program to cover both the core sectors of ADB support and areas where demand exists in economic management. In partnership with other development agencies, ADB should draw on this new knowledge to assist in policy and institutional reform.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Background Information
  • Validation of the Interim Operational Strategy Final Review
  • Conclusion and Assessment of the Quality of the Final Review
  • Appendixes

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.