Country Assistance Program Evaluation for Papua New Guinea (2003)

Evaluation Document | 30 September 2003

This country assistance program evaluation assesses the contributions that ADB's assistance made to Papua New Guinea's development and generate feedback for the forthcoming country strategy and program.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) faces a complex set of development challenges. The past 30 years of development have not resulted in a diversification of the economy that would make it less vulnerable to external shocks, and incomes have effectively declined. The law and order situation has deteriorated, and capacities of the machinery of government to administer the public sector and manage the development process remain inadequate. Complex governance structures, abused by individuals for personal gain or that of their tribal kin, resulted in an inefficient, costly (because of corruption), and ineffective administration that absorbs large amounts of public money without delivering commensurate public services.

The purpose of the country assistance program evaluation (CAPE) was to assess the contributions that ADB's assistance made to PNG's development and generate feedback for the forthcoming country strategy and program. The assessment was structured to evaluate contributions to PNG's key development processes and assess how ADB's strategic goals were addressed. To form an assessment, the CAPE analyzed

  • how well ADB's country strategies were formulated and translated into an operational program
  • how well ADB's operations were designed and implemented
  • what were the outcomes?

Issues and lessons

Three issues were central to PNG's development: reforming the machinery of government, managing the economy which is dualistic and highly dependent on international commodity prices, and delivering public services.

Overall, ADB supported the right development areas, but issues related to the machinery of government could have been recognized and incorporated into the program at an earlier stage. Sector priorities were consistent with goals. However, projects worked in isolation and, at most, considered sector issues but not how sectors contributed to an overall development goal. This weakness resulted in the lack of a structured and sequenced program, which lost potential synergy effects and generated only isolated and short-lived outcomes.

While projects suffered from a number of design and implementation problems, the Program included efforts to move from traditional project designs to testing new concepts that might help overcome typical contextual factors (lack of sustained commitment, inadequacy of project funding, etc.) that adversely affected project implementation and sustained operations. These efforts need to be tested and discussed among the PNG country team, to ensure that new approaches that work are replicated whenever possible and pitfalls of others are avoided.


To take the country forward, government commitment is essential for any improvements in economic performance, poverty reduction, or the management of public resources and sectors. Without government commitment, external assistance will remain ineffective, as illustrated by the many development efforts that continue to lack sustained results.

Government and development partners' efforts need to concentrate on

  • determining and implementing a development agenda that addresses the urgent need to create jobs to stem poverty and a continuously deteriorating law and order situation
  • managing debt levels and introducing systemic changes to public resources management to avoid perpetual financial crises
  • building capacities through the public administration to manage the economy, ensure that the Government and administration fulfill their roles, and provide public services where needed.


  • Basic Data
  • Executive Summary
  • Map
  • Background
  • ADB's Assistance Program
  • Contributing to PNG's Development
  • Addressing ADB's Strategic Goals
  • Development Partners
  • Conclusions
  • Development Challenges Ahead
  • Appendixes