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Raising Development Impact through Evaluation

People’s Republic of China: Social Security System Reform Advisory and Operational Technical Assistance

Evaluation Document | 26 November 2014

Between 1995 and 2012, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided eight technical assistance (TA) grants totaling $6.3 million to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to support its social security system reforms. The TA projects focused on pension reform by formulating policies; establishing related institutions, administrative structures and procedures, and building capacity; and conducting pilot schemes in selected provinces. The TA projects had the common objective of helping the PRC design and implement a viable and sustainable pension system for all citizens and a medical insurance scheme for rural residents, to bring about social stability and reduce poverty. The government prioritized this work in its tenth and eleventh five-year plans.

This TA performance evaluation report uses a cluster approach—evaluating the performance of all eight projects in one report—as they were all designed under a common objective following a broad sequence of initiatives. Some TA projects continue to support the PRC’s reform of the pension system. The evaluation follows the guidelines for preparing project performance evaluation reports, as updated in March 2013.

As a whole, the eight TA projects are rated successful. The TA projects (i) provided recommendations on options for reforming pension and medical systems with appropriate fiscal mechanisms and the necessary legal, institutional, and administrative arrangements; (ii) supported institutional and staff capacity building for operating social security services, managing investments, and formulating operational procedures and technical parameters; and (iii) ran pilot schemes at the provincial level before implementing them nationwide. The TA projects were completed satisfactorily, major recommendations implemented, and objectives achieved.