MANILA, PHILIPPINES (13 April 2022) — Adequate project design quality, close supervision, and active monitoring are crucial for improving the project effectiveness of both public and private sector operations of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), says an independent evaluation report released today.

The 2022 Annual Evaluation Review (AER) conducted by ADB’s Independent Evaluation Department (IED) analyzed the factors that influenced the declining trend in project effectiveness between 2016 and 2020. “A robust assessment of the risks and assumptions enables ADB to identify appropriate investment modalities,” said IED Director General Emmanuel Jimenez. “Stronger project designs, supervision as well as the establishment and maintenance of robust project performance monitoring systems will improve projects’ effectiveness, especially in the case of nonsovereign operation to support environment, social, health, and safety performance.”

The report called on ADB to closely align project scopes with financing plans and implementation arrangements as well as establish clear targets and mechanisms to monitor them. It also pointed out the need for effective implementation of institutional support and targeted reforms for strengthening the executing and/or implementing agency’s capacity to enhance project effectiveness.

In 2019–2021, 70% of ADB's sovereign operations were rated successful, while nonsovereign operations remained low at 55% although there was marginal rise in the success rate. “The findings showed that although ADB accepted the majority of IED evaluation recommendations, further efforts are needed to narrow the gap between the acceptance of recommendations and their implementation,” said ADB Senior Evaluation Specialist and co-author of the report Sung Shin.  

The AER also conducted an in‐depth assessment on ADB’s engagement in fragile and conflict‐affected situations (FCAS) and small island developing states (SIDS), which are facing pandemic-related fiscal challenges.

“A focus on FCAS and SIDS is timely as the COVID‐19 pandemic intensifies existing drivers of conflict and fragility in these environments,” said ADB Principal Evaluation Specialist and the author of the special chapter Hyun Son. “ADB has long recognized the need to engage continually and work differently in FCAS and SIDS, but it can do better in addressing the context-specific drivers of fragility and conflict in these countries.”

The report underscored the need for more long-term and well-coordinated support rather than short-term, one-off technical assistance to help address capacity and governance challenges. It also stressed that giving equal emphasis to active conflict and to institutional fragilities is imperative when implementing ADB’s FCAS-related approaches. It recommended ADB’s country- and project-level monitoring frameworks and indicators to be better tailored to their contexts.

The report viewed resilience in FCAS and SIDS as a multidimensional challenge that requires ADB’s long-term capacity development support and enhanced collaboration with other development organizations. ADB’s partnerships with humanitarian and development agencies are crucial in bridging relief and development, especially in conflict-affected areas.

About Independent Evaluation at ADB

ADB's Independent Evaluation, reporting to the Board of Directors through the Development Effectiveness Committee, contributes to development effectiveness by providing feedback on ADB's policies, strategies, operations, and special concerns in Asia and the Pacific.

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