Effectiveness of Asian Development Bank Partnerships

Evaluation Document | 22 February 2016

Partnerships are more essential than ever before for achieving development effectiveness. They leverage financing, expertise, and knowledge for investment and development. They help organizations to close gaps and avoid duplications in their programs, support scaled-up operations, and promote harmonized approaches for better development results.

ADB has expanded the attention it gives to partnerships in recent years. It has increased the number of partnerships it is involved in, and achieved a good measure of success.

The report assesses the effectiveness of three types of ADB partnerships: interagency coordination partnerships, knowledge partnerships, and financing partnerships. It relies on a database of 422 partnerships created over 2000-2014 to this end, assessments by ADB departments of their effectiveness, statistical analysis of the successfulness of cofinanced projects vs non-cofinanced projects, 3 country visits during which donor coordination mechanisms were looked at, various small questionnaire surveys, and an internal ADB institutional assessment. There are also 10 case studies of case studies of bilateral partners Australia, France, Japan, Netherlands, and United Kingdom; multilateral partners EBRD, EIB, and IFAD, knowledge partners WWF and OECD, while World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank were studied as part of the institutional assessment.

Three-quarters of ADB partnerships were self-assessed effective, and were reported to have mostly or completely achieved their objectives. The evaluation found that where interagency partnerships allow players to capitalize on synergies and coordination and to minimize overlaps there were positive results. ADB’s experience with knowledge partnerships for sector and thematic work has been mixed. In effective knowledge partnerships, collaboration on specific initiatives has paved the way for a more systematic relationship that led to joint project preparation or implementation, engagement of high-level persons in conferences and policy dialogue, completion of a series of publications or events, and, in some instances, joint financing of activities. Financing partnerships have led to substantial fund mobilization in recent years. Cofinanced projects were significantly more successful than non-cofinanced projects.

The evaluation suggests changes in the organization, particularly in the roles of some ADB departments, and changes in ADB systems and rules, to facilitate better management of partnerships. The evaluation further recommends specifying separate targets for official and commercial cofinancing, and within the latter for trade financing and other commercial cofinancing categories. To foster knowledge partnerships, ADB needs changes in the rules of engagement; and for financing partnerships to be managed more efficiently, the sector and thematic groups should be aligned better with the new financing partnership facilities.

ADB’s deeper engagement in partnerships is essential in a changing context where rising global threats require coordinated responses. The Sustainable Development Goals, new climate agreements and funds, and the two new multilateral banks in the region are just some of the developments that provide new opportunities for partnerships.