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Raising Development Impact through Evaluation

Thailand: Validation of the Country Partnership Strategy Final Review, 2013–2016

Evaluation Document | 10 September 2019

The Thailand country partnership strategy (CPS), 2013–2016 of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was aligned with Thailand’s Eleventh National Economic and Social Development Plan, 2012–2016. The goal of the CPS was to assist Thailand to achieve inclusive and sustainable rapid economic growth that would reduce income inequality and lead to Thailand achieving high-income status. In 2013–2016, ADB approved 11 loans, grants, and technical assistance (TA) projects totaling $360 million. The review period for this validation is 2012–2016 and it considers the $1.34 billion portfolio of 35 ongoing, completed, and approved programs in the transport, finance, water and other urban infrastructure and services, and energy sectors during this period.

This validation assesses the Thailand CPS, 2013–2016 successful. The program implemented projects that were appropriate for an upper middle-income country. They were designed to meet Thailand’s specific needs in sectors where ADB has strong expertise, during a period when the country was affected by severe flooding and political uncertainty. Important support was provided for public–private partnerships, road transport, capital market reform, financial literacy, renewable energy, and baseload power. Strong government commitment and resources supported the achievement of sustainable results. However, regional cooperation initiatives (RCI) were generally separated from country programming and ADB missed opportunities to expand its RCI program for Thailand and to document the potential benefits of RCI programs for Thailand.

The validation makes five recommendations for ADB’s future support to Thailand. ADB should: (i) continue its knowledge sharing and private sector financing approach for Thailand; (ii) improve coordination between ADB’s regional cooperation and integration (RCI), sovereign, and nonsovereign operations and develop mechanisms to capture the benefits for Thailand of ADB’s extensive support for RCI; (iii) expand its sectors of operations to include education and agriculture and other social sectors; (iv) develop a results framework for the next CPS that reflects the contributions ADB can support; and (v) explore cost recovery for technical assistance programs for Thailand.

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.