Country Assistance Program Evaluation for the Lao People's Democratic Republic (2006) | Asian Development Bank

Country Assistance Program Evaluation for the Lao People's Democratic Republic (2006)

Evaluation Document | 30 April 2006

This country assistance program evaluation assessed the performance of the ADB's country strategies and programs for the Lao People's Democratic Republic starting from 1986 up to 2004.

This country assistance program evaluation assessed the performance of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) country strategies and programs (CSP) for the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) starting from 1986 (when the country embarked on a transition from a centrally-planned economy to a market-oriented system) up to 2004.

The evaluation methodology was based on a results-based evaluation framework, which

  • developed a systematic set of criteria (under relevance/harmonization and positioning/coherence) to assess the quality at entry of the CSP;
  • assessed development effectiveness of the CSP in contributing to achieving intermediate outcomes at the sector level (bottom-up), linked to long-term impacts, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), achieved at the country level (top-down), through institutional impact on the country's Managing for Development Results (MfDR) capacity; and
  • provided a results matrix to trace the results chain of contributions of ADB's inputs and outputs to sector outcomes and country's impacts.

Summary of findings

The overall performance of the CSP for the Lao PDR was found to be successful, based on the combined ratings of the following levels of assessment:

  • At the strategic level: the quality at entry of the CSP was found to be partly satisfactory due to lack of coherence in positioning ADB as a major development partner. Although about half of the total ADB lending during the CAPE period went to two major infrastructure sectors (transport and energy), the remainder of the lending was spread thinly in many sectors;
  • At the country level: the CSP's contributions to the country's MfDR capacity (especially in terms of governance as related to public financial management) and long-term impacts (top-down) was found to be partly satisfactory;
  • At the sector level: sector performance was found to be successful, particularly in terms of effectiveness in achieving sector outcomes (bottom-up) in transport and energy which accounted for about half of the total ADB lending during the CAPE period; and
  • ADB's role: ADB performance was found to be satisfactory in terms of client orientation and timely response to the country's needs.

Recommendations

  • The country's high aid dependency ratio and limited government absorptive capacity were reflected in inadequate counterpart funds. In line with ADB's new cost sharing policy, which allows the government of each developing member country to finance a lower proportion of counterpart funds based on a specific country's cost-sharing ceiling, ADB's Lao Country Team should determine the Lao PDR's cost-sharing ceiling for aggregate portfolio of the next CSP period during the preparation of the 2006 CSP, and pursue collective policy dialogue with other development partners for the Government to determine whether the total amount of aid should be reduced to be more in line with its absorptive capacity.
  • Given the ADB's lower indicative planning figure for the Lao PDR, the next CSP should focus on fewer sectors based on government priorities, involvement of other development partners, and ADB's comparative advantage (sector performance) in accordance with the evaluation's findings.
  • In line with the Paris Declaration thrusts, ADB should develop more strategic partnerships with other development partners (e.g., joint CSP and program-based approach) to provide a more coherent assistance program.
  • Performance of program lending should be improved by providing a more realistic reform package consistent with the Government's capacity, and making future program lending more manageable (e.g., using "cash-on-delivery" or cluster program modality).
  • The role of advisory technical assistance (ADTAs) and economic, thematic, and sector work should be strengthened to develop sector strategies. They should also address non-sector specific factors that are preconditions for increased sector efficiency (e.g., governance, anticorruption, banking/enterprise reforms, and investment climate).
  • ADTA management should be improved to increase the link with the lending programs and increase government participation in TA design and implementation.
  • Given the need to strengthen aid coordination, policy dialogue, and project implementation at the field level, the role of ADB's Lao Resident Mission should be strengthened with increased delegation of authority and redeployment of staff.

Contents 

  • Executive Summary
  • Map
  • Introduction
  • Development Context and the Government's Strategic Priorities
  • Assessment of Quality at Entry of Country Strategies: Relevance and Positioning
  • Assessment of Quality at Entry of Country Programs: Positioning
  • Results Achievement: Bottom-up Assessment of Effectiveness
  • Program Implementation: Assessment of Efficiency
  • Program Attribution: Assessment of Other Aspects
  • Overall Performance Assessment and Rating
  • Appendixes
  • Management Response
  • DEC Chair's Summary

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.