Uzbekistan: Validation of the Country Partnership Strategy Final Review, 2012–2016
The Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), 2012–2016 for Uzbekistan was aligned with the priorities of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of transforming the country into a modern, market-oriented economy. Prioritizing investments in transport, energy, finance, and water and other urban infrastructure and services, and in agriculture and natural resources largely supported the country program’s relevance to the overall goal of diversifying the Uzbek economy. Many outputs relating to infrastructure were achieved, but the intended policy and institutional reforms did not materialize.
Administrative inefficiencies led to persistent project delays across sectors. Though still meeting ADB’s threshold, such project delays resulted in lower than expected economic internal rates of return, diminishing the intended benefits of the projects. The sustainability of the infrastructure outputs and outcomes was challenged by limited institutional and financial arrangements for operations and maintenance and cost recovery. The ADB-supported program positively contributed more to regional cooperation and integration, gender equality, and knowledge management than to governance and private sector development—albeit the contributions were modest and faced sustainability risks. The overall performance of the country program is viewed as successful on the borderline.
The validation offers the following recommendations, calling on ADB to (i) adopt more specific country goals for its future operations; (ii) intensify policy reform advice and consultation with the government; (iii) reduce inefficiencies through better project design and coordination; (iv) put greater emphasis on the operations and maintenance and cost recovery, especially of infrastructure projects; and (v) enhance the usefulness of knowledge-intensive and analytical solutions.
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.