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Nepal CLR Review FY14-18

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This review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-FY18, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of February 21, 2017. This is the first CPS following three consecutive Interim Strategy Notes (ISN) in FY07, FY09, and FY11. Nepal is a low-income country with an average GNI per capita of $ Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-FY18, and updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of February 21, 2017. This is the first CPS following three consecutive Interim Strategy Notes (ISN) in FY07, FY09, and FY11. Nepal is a low-income country with an average GNI per capita of $733 (2014-2016) and a population of 28.9 million in 2016. GDP per capita growth slowed to 0.6 percent in 2016 and inflation peaked at 12 percent in 2015/2016. The IMF estimates GDP growth at 7.5 percent for 2016/2017, and 5 percent in 2017/2018. The 2016 UNDP Human Development Index ranks Nepal 144 out of 188 countries. Poverty incidence fell from 46 percent in 1996 to 15 percent in 2011; and, it has continued to fall since then according to the Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD, 2017). From 2004 to 2011, the consumption of the bottom 40 grew twice as fast as the top 60. But, inequality across regions and ethnic groups has been a source of political upheaval. During the CPS period, the country experienced two exogenous shocks and major political transitions. Two earthquakes (April and May 2015) took 9,000 lives and destroyed or damaged assets for approximately one quarter of the country’s GDP. Trade and fuel disruptions in 2015 further impacted economic activity. After the conflicting parties signed a peace treaty in 2006, Nepal has undergone a critical political transition, which culminated in 2015 with a new constitution that veers towards federalism.

Bangladesh and Nepal: Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia (PPAR)

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South Asia is home to 13–15 percent of the earth’s floral and faunal biodiversity, including some of its most iconic and endangered wildlife species. In recent decades, the region has experienced a rapid loss of critical natural habitats for those species, increasing poaching of wildlife and an expanding illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products driven largely by consumer demand in East Show MoreSouth Asia is home to 13–15 percent of the earth’s floral and faunal biodiversity, including some of its most iconic and endangered wildlife species. In recent decades, the region has experienced a rapid loss of critical natural habitats for those species, increasing poaching of wildlife and an expanding illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products driven largely by consumer demand in East Asia. The World Bank project, Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection in Asia (SRCWP), intended to contribute to the long-term goal for the South Asia Region of stabilizing and increasing the populations and habitats of critically endangered animals (e.g. tigers, snow leopards, rhinos, and elephants). Collaboration in a regional approach to building institutional capacity for curbing the illegal wildlife trade and strengthening management of critical wildlife habitats in national protected areas was the way to achieve that long-term goal. The SRCWP was designed as the first phase of a horizontal (multi-country) adaptable program loan (APL) that, in its second phase, included a similar project in Bhutan. A separate PPAR will be prepared for the project in Bhutan. Ratings for this project are as follows: Outcome is satisfactory, Risk to outcome is moderate, World Bank performance is moderately satisfactory, and Borrower performance is moderately satisfactory. IEG’s review of the SRCWP’s experience suggests the following lessons: (i) Given their design and implementation challenges, regional projects focusing on global public goods require adequate preparation time to conduct a thorough analysis of participant capacities and commitments. (ii) Regional projects aiming to pilot new approaches to collaboration on transboundary wildlife management and illegal wildlife trade require a carefully designed results framework. (iii) Regional projects designed to build institutions and capacity for collaboration on transboundary wildlife management and illegal wildlife trade require a long-term investment to ensure success in achieving results.

Romania CLR Review FY14-18

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This review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Report (CLR) covers the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated November 3, 2016. The original CPS period (FY14-17) was at the PLR stage extended by one year to cover FY14-18. The CLR and this review cover this extended period. Romania is an upper middle-income country with a GNI per Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s Completion and Learning Report (CLR) covers the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated November 3, 2016. The original CPS period (FY14-17) was at the PLR stage extended by one year to cover FY14-18. The CLR and this review cover this extended period. Romania is an upper middle-income country with a GNI per capita of $9,480 in 2016 and a population of 19.7 million. Romania’s per capita GDP had grown rapidly up to 2009, reducing poverty, but the global financial crisis of 2008 triggered a severe recession. The IMF Article IV report (May 2017) notes that Romania strengthened its economy considerably after the global financial crisis. Romania registered an average annual GDP growth of 3.9 percent during the review period (2014-2016). Public debt and fiscal and current account imbalances are moderate compared to many emerging markets, but significant challenges remain and the momentum of progress in policies has waned. Income convergence with the EU has slowed and poverty is among the highest in the EU. Romania has a Human Development Index (HDI) of .802 in 2015, placing the country in the very high human development category and ranking 50 (of 188) in HDI in 2015. Its Gini coefficient is 28.3 in 2016 (from around 35 in 2010) and its poverty headcount ratio based on the national poverty line is 25.4 percent (average 2014-2016).

Mauritania CLR Review FY14-16

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This completion and learning review (CLR) covers the period FY 14-16. The country partnership strategy (CPS) consisted of two pillars (or focus areas): (1) Growth and diversification; and (2) economic governance and service delivery. The CPS work program was aligned with pillars I-IV of the third poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP3): (i) accelerating economic growth; (ii) anchoring growth in Show MoreThis completion and learning review (CLR) covers the period FY 14-16. The country partnership strategy (CPS) consisted of two pillars (or focus areas): (1) Growth and diversification; and (2) economic governance and service delivery. The CPS work program was aligned with pillars I-IV of the third poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP3): (i) accelerating economic growth; (ii) anchoring growth in the economic sphere directly benefiting the poor; (iii) developing human resources and facilitating access to basic infrastructure; and (iv) promoting real institutional development supported by good governance. Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) concurs with some of lessons provided in the CLR summarized as follows: (i) for a CPS program to yield results, the time to implement the program must be long; (ii) CPS programs need to take a wider approach to sectors, as in the in case of the Banda Gas and associated transmission project; and (iii) the Bank needs to invest in capacity building, both in individual operations and in long-term reform and modernization.

Armenia: Municipal Water Project (PPAR)

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Armenia enjoys abundant water resources averaging 10.2 billion m3 per year, of which 2.4 billion are used for drinking water. Drinking water is provided by five state water companies1. Demands on water production are high because of excessive levels of non-revenue water (NRW) of up to 85 percent. In 2012, at the time of the appraisal of the Municipal Water Project (MWP), Armenia had recorded Show MoreArmenia enjoys abundant water resources averaging 10.2 billion m3 per year, of which 2.4 billion are used for drinking water. Drinking water is provided by five state water companies1. Demands on water production are high because of excessive levels of non-revenue water (NRW) of up to 85 percent. In 2012, at the time of the appraisal of the Municipal Water Project (MWP), Armenia had recorded significant legislative and institutional achievements in terms of water resources management in cooperation with international institutions, including the World Bank. The water sector reforms were aimed at decentralizing the water resources management function for the benefit of water users and best use of water resources. However, water tariffs have been low since 20092 and revenues insufficient for asset rehabilitation to reduce NRW. The MWP’s project development objective (PDO) was to support improvement of the quality and availability of the water supply in selected areas of the Armenia Water and Sewerage Company (AWSC)—a state water company owned by the State Committee of Water Economy (SCWE). Ratings for the Municipal Water Project are as follows: Outcome is moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome is high, Bank performance is moderately satisfactory, and Borrower performance is moderately satisfactory. In terms of lessons, the implementation of the MWP suggests the following: (i) The sustainability of development outcomes is enhanced when the World Bank maintains its strategic and operational engagement over time, especially when social and political risks are high. (ii) The World Bank’s continuous advice and technical assistance, provided in parallel with lending and in coordination with other donors, can result in effective partnership with the government and the private sector. (iii) Tailoring the Enhanced Management Contract to the conditions of the local service area can help achieve results.

Brazil: Bahia Poor Urban Areas Integrated Development Project - Viver Melhor II (PPAR)

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This is a project performance review of the Bahia Poor Urban Areas Integrated Development Project financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and implemented between 2005 and 2013 in two cities in the state of Bahia: Salvador and Feira de Santana. The project sought to reduce urban poverty sustainably in the poorest and most vulnerable sections of Salvador by Show MoreThis is a project performance review of the Bahia Poor Urban Areas Integrated Development Project financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and implemented between 2005 and 2013 in two cities in the state of Bahia: Salvador and Feira de Santana. The project sought to reduce urban poverty sustainably in the poorest and most vulnerable sections of Salvador by providing access to basic services and improved housing and social support services. It was designed when Bahia had the highest quantitative housing deficit in absolute numbers and the highest number of people living in slums in the country. The project follows a series of previous World Bank–financed urban development operations in Bahia that focused on integrating physical infrastructure and social services delivery in low-income communities. This project represents the World Bank’s first large-scale investment supporting urban upgrading at a state level. Outcome is moderately unsatisfactory, Risk to development outcome is significant, Bank performance is moderately unsatisfactory, and Borrower performance is moderately unsatisfactory. Lessons from the project include: (i) Adaptability to local needs, retaining beneficiaries in the territory, and integration between different types of interventions are key features in slum upgrading and social housing. (ii) Weakness in social service delivery can jeopardize expected outcomes and sustainability. Flexible designs and adequate sequencing of activities might help ensure results. (iii) It is crucial in slum upgrading projects to guarantee delivery of all outputs in the social activities cycle because even small failures can jeopardize the expected outcomes. (iv) Adoption of multiphase projects or a programmatic long-term approach in slum-upgrading projects might be appropriate when social capital strengthening is considered necessary to achieve long-term results. (v) Appropriate timing in the preparation of slum-upgrading projects is crucial. Studies and diagnostics require sufficient time (though not too long) to avoid frustrating local expectations or hampering integration. (vi) Continuity in project management is a success factor in complex institutional development and social capital–strengthening projects, allowing familiarity with the local context and building mutual trust with the affected communities. (vii) It is important for World Bank project management to ensure that slum-upgrading projects in urban areas are consistent with existing city plans and are integrated seamlessly into World Bank Group sectoral and thematic operations.

Georgia: Public Sector Financial Management Reform Support (PPAR)

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This Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) evaluates the Public Sector Financial Management Reform Support Project for Georgia, including a grant in the amount of $3 million and funds contributed by other donors: $2.1 million by the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation; $4.5 million by the Swedish International Cooperation Agency; and $4.5 million by the U.K. Department for Show MoreThis Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) evaluates the Public Sector Financial Management Reform Support Project for Georgia, including a grant in the amount of $3 million and funds contributed by other donors: $2.1 million by the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation; $4.5 million by the Swedish International Cooperation Agency; and $4.5 million by the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID). The project’s development objectives were to enhance governance, particularly in the public financial management domain. Ratings for the Public Sector Financial Management Reform Support are as follows: Outcome is moderately unsatisfactory, Risk to development outcome is low, Bank performance is moderately unsatisfactory, and Borrower performance is moderately satisfactory. Lessons from the project include: (i) Creating a decision-making environment with continuous results monitoring and course correction based on experience would be a more promising approach to complex reforms. (ii) The costs of building and upgrading a PFMIS when a country’s needs are evolving should be carefully assessed. (iii) An alternative design option for PFM modernization projects would involve a two-stage approach. (iv) Project implementation may be hindered by uneven institutional capacity.

Nicaragua: Offgrid Rural Electrification (PERZA) Project (PPAR)

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The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group prepared this Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) on the Nicaragua Offgrid Rural Electrification Project. PERZA’s development objectives were to support Nicaragua in increasing the sustainable provision of electricity services and associated social and economic benefits in selected rural sites in its territory; and Show MoreThe Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group prepared this Project Performance Assessment Report (PPAR) on the Nicaragua Offgrid Rural Electrification Project. PERZA’s development objectives were to support Nicaragua in increasing the sustainable provision of electricity services and associated social and economic benefits in selected rural sites in its territory; and strengthening its institutional capacity to implement its national rural electrification strategy. The World Bank’s financing for the project was $13.47 million of the actual project cost of $26.26 million. The Global Environment Facility financed $3.94 million. The project was appraised on April 23, 2003, approved by the World Bank’s Board on May 15, 2003, and declared effective on November 28, 2003. The project was designed for execution in five years, and the original closing date was December 31, 2008. The project closed on December 31, 2011 after two project closing date extensions of 18 months each and an implementation period of eight years. Ratings for the Offgrid Rural Electrification (PERZA) Project are as follows: Outcome is moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome is substantial, Bank performance is moderately satisfactory, and Borrower performance is moderately satisfactory. Lessons from the project include: (i) Complementary infrastructure development, especially road connectivity to local markets, can further increase the welfare impacts of electrification in rural communities. (ii) Solar home systems can be a successful solution for the provision of basic electricity services to poor rural communities outside the reach of the grid if the initial investment cost is subsidized appropriately to make it affordable to the beneficiaries while promoting ownership. (iii) A pilot project consisting of numerous but well-integrated learning-by-doing project activities can improve a client institution’s capacity to implement larger projects in the future successfully.

Bulgaria: Social Inclusion Project (PPAR)

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Bulgaria is a middle-income country that joined the European Union (EU) in 2007. After setbacks in social well-being and economic growth precipitated by the 2008 global economic crisis, Bulgaria has recently made progress in improving economic performance and reducing poverty. However, it faces the formidable challenge of addressing persistent pockets of poverty and social exclusion. Poverty in Show MoreBulgaria is a middle-income country that joined the European Union (EU) in 2007. After setbacks in social well-being and economic growth precipitated by the 2008 global economic crisis, Bulgaria has recently made progress in improving economic performance and reducing poverty. However, it faces the formidable challenge of addressing persistent pockets of poverty and social exclusion. Poverty in Bulgaria is linked with low levels of education, high unemployment, rural residence, belonging to an ethnic minority, female gender, and old age. Social exclusion is both a cause of poverty and a consequence. Fighting poverty and social exclusion is a priority of Bulgaria, and education a key component of its national policies. The objective of the Social Inclusion Project (SIP) is “to promote social inclusion through increasing the school readiness of children below the age of seven, targeting low income and marginalized families, including children with a disability and other special needs” (World Bank 2008a). The objective did not change during the life of the project. Ratings for the Social Inclusion Project are as follows: Outcome is moderately satisfactory, risk to development outcome is moderate, Bank and Borrower performance are both moderately satisfactory. The following lessons, offered to this end, are relevant to both the World Bank and the government: (i) Official databases are important, but may need to be complemented with mapping of target communities and households and their needs, priorities, motivations, and dynamics, undertaken by those with intimate knowledge of the community and with community development expertise. (ii) Mobile services and mediators face challenges in reaching target populations, especially when mediators are few relative to their target populations and have heavy workloads, and they do not always share the language, culture, and living conditions of those populations. (iii) Low appreciation of evidence for learning, program refinement, and policymaking can undermine the effectiveness of programs and policies, especially where piloting is intended. The development of M&E capacities could provide MLSP with a critical management tool for ensuring continuous learning and accountability for ECD results and increase its potential for resource mobilization and future replication. (iii) Experience under the SIP reveals the scope and opportunity to clarify roles and responsibilities to optimize comparative advantages and synergies of the many actors involved both horizontally (across partners at each level of the system) and vertically (up and down the various levels of decentralized government). (iv) Investments in ECD and social inclusion activities targeted to low-income and marginalized children ages 0–7 years and their parents are necessary, but they are insufficient to ensure the children’s success and inclusion in primary school and beyond.

Colombia: Peace and Development Project (PPAR)

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Colombia has experienced internal armed conflict for the last 50 years. The conflict has been waged primarily in rural areas and over control of territory, particularly in regions characterized by weak institutions and, in many cases, corruption and cronyism, impunity, expansion of illicit crop cultivation, and weak civil society links to state institutions owing to lack of opportunities for Show MoreColombia has experienced internal armed conflict for the last 50 years. The conflict has been waged primarily in rural areas and over control of territory, particularly in regions characterized by weak institutions and, in many cases, corruption and cronyism, impunity, expansion of illicit crop cultivation, and weak civil society links to state institutions owing to lack of opportunities for participation (World Bank 2013:1). Over time, the conflict has spawned a complex array of non-state actors who have waged terror as a weapon of war. Specifically, their modus operandi has included systematic large-scale human rights violations, such as public executions, disappearances, massacres, town take-overs, extortions, assassinations, kidnappings, and forced recruitment of children. Against this backdrop of conflict and violence, the World Bank provided support through the Peace and Development Project (PDP) to assist vulnerable, low-income and displaced populations in rural and urban communities in the conflict-affected regions to reduce the risk of their exposure to conflict and mitigate the negative impact of possible derived effects. Ratings for Colombia Peace and Development Project are as follows: Outcome is moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome is significant, Bank performance is satisfactory, and Borrower performance is moderately satisfactory. The findings from the performance assessment of the PDP suggest the following lessons: (i) Identifying and supporting activities that create lasting shared interest among community members is a critical building block for generating a community response to conflict. (ii) Having separate but similar activities for IDPs and host communities is not advisable in a CDD project since such separation deters social cohesion via competition for resources. (iii) The support of a respected and neutral third party organization can be key for the successful implementation of a CDD project in a conflict-affected area. (iv) Projects that seek to deter displacement may not necessarily reduce exposure to conflict since displacement can sometimes be the only option for citizens whose lives or livelihoods are severely threatened. (v) Socioeconomic stabilization and a strengthened social fabric can deter preventive displacement but both are insufficient to deter reactive displacement which is driven by direct threats. (vi) Projects with participatory approaches implemented in conflict-affected situations that elevate the role of community members can put them in harm’s way and, for this reason, must include protocols to mitigate the risk of leaders suffering victimization acts.