Sustainability of Policy Reforms through Advisory Technical Assistance | Asian Development Bank

Sustainability of Policy Reforms through Advisory Technical Assistance

Evaluation Document | 31 January 2001

This evaluation assesses the sustainability of policy reform efforts through selected advisory technical assistance and identify factors that enhance overall effectiveness and sustainability in future operations.

ADB provides substantial technical assistance resources to developing member countries, by January 2001, providing 4,223 technical assistance projects amounting to $1.8 billion since ADB's inception. More than half of all technical assistance projects are advisory technical assistance. Like most international agencies, ADB has been concerned with the effectiveness of these operations.

This evaluation study focuses on the policy reforms in the power and water sectors. Thirty advisory technical assistance projects were selected for study in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

It concludes that, barring a few isolated success stories, the contribution of advisory technical assistance to a sustainable policy reform process remains below its potential.

Among the main problems highlighted in the study was that the overall environment for reforms was only mildly supportive in four of the five countries, and in Sri Lanka there was strong resistance to reforms designed to lead to a greater role for the private sector. The study found that the approach to reforms in the design of most advisory technical assistance was issues based, rather than a clear results-based approach to sector development.

The study says that four key issues need to be addressed:

  • Policy reforms should be treated as dynamic process, not a one-off policy change or set of fixed institutional changes.
  • Generating ownership of the reform process is important, as increasingly more analytical tools are available to assess ownership on the ground.
  • The future effectiveness of advisory technical assistance will depend largely on ADB's ability to allocate required resources.
  • Greater accountability for results in these operations needs to be addressed at multiple levels, such as in training staff to new approaches to institutional development.


  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Evaluation Framework
  • Findings
  • Key Issues for the Future
  • Recommendations and Follow-Up Actions
  • Appendixes