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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.

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.

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.

Serbia: Consolidated Collection and Pension Administration Reform Project and Delivery of Improved Local Services (PPAR)

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Following the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and a series of regional wars, the Federation of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro rejoined the World Bank in 2001. Serbia experienced solid growth during 2000–2008, followed by a series of severe recessions combined with rapidly rising unemployment and growing public debt over 2008–2014. To improve its growth prospects Serbia embarked on Show MoreFollowing the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia and a series of regional wars, the Federation of the Republics of Serbia and Montenegro rejoined the World Bank in 2001. Serbia experienced solid growth during 2000–2008, followed by a series of severe recessions combined with rapidly rising unemployment and growing public debt over 2008–2014. To improve its growth prospects Serbia embarked on several structural reforms between 2014 and 2017. Growth fundamentals and prospects are now sound, and the underlying growth trend is vibrant. Serbia is at a late stage of demographic transition, characterized by a total fertility rate well below the population replacement rate, and an aging and shrinking population. Demographic and population changes have clear implications for the delivery of health, education, and social assistance services, and for the sustainability of the pension system. In the meantime, Roma, having a much higher total fertility rate, are going to represent a growing percentage of the total Serbian population and the future workforce. This PPAR covers two projects. The first, Consolidated Collection and Pension Administration Reform Project (PARP) and was put in place to (i) develop the framework for the consolidation of collection of all social contributions and, if feasible, personal income taxes; and to (ii) improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the pension system through modernizing and streamlining the institutional capacity in the pension system; improved pension system administration; developing the capacity for policy identification and analysis; monitoring; and increased public understanding of the pension system. The second, Delivery of Improved Local Services Project (DILS) aimed to improve the local delivery of health, education, and social assistance services. Ratings for the PARP project are as follows: Outcome is moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome is moderate, Bank and Borrower performance are both moderately satisfactory. Ratings for the DILS project are as follows: Outcome is moderately satisfactory, Risk to development outcome is moderate, and Bank and Borrower performance are both moderately satisfactory. Eight lessons that could help improve future World Bank operations are identified. The first lesson arises from both projects, followed by three lessons from PARP and four lessons from the DILS project. (i) Clarity around the overall vision and data architecture is needed for successful MIS investments. (ii) A stakeholder analysis can be a useful tool to identify potential supporters and resistance when reforms involve several actors. (iii) The tax administration can be usefully included in the administrative reform process. (iv) Rationalizing the social insurance system takes time. (v) Multisector projects have the advantage of providing bridge financing that allows continuity and deepening of reforms policy, but this design feature may negatively affect other project ratings. (vi) Activities carried out by entities with a clear institutional status can be better sustained than those implemented by ad-hoc bodies. (vii) The employment of contractual staff (consultants) in the project implementation unit does not build sustainable capacity in the ministries. (viii) Projects that aim at strengthening locally delivered services should ensure alignment between local functions, capacities, and financing to succeed.

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.

Turkey: Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Project (PPAR)

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Turkey faces high vulnerability to earthquakes, with Istanbul posing the most serious risk due its high seismic risk and its role as the population and economic center of Turkey. A major earthquake near Istanbul in 1999 led to over 17,000 deaths and damage estimated at $US 5-13 billion. The World Bank supported a post-earthquake reconstruction project over 1999-2006, but vulnerability to Show MoreTurkey faces high vulnerability to earthquakes, with Istanbul posing the most serious risk due its high seismic risk and its role as the population and economic center of Turkey. A major earthquake near Istanbul in 1999 led to over 17,000 deaths and damage estimated at $US 5-13 billion. The World Bank supported a post-earthquake reconstruction project over 1999-2006, but vulnerability to earthquakes remained high, especially for Istanbul. A major earthquake in Istanbul would be catastrophic, and could derail the country’s development trajectory. The government was committed to undertaking disaster risk mitigation, but needed external assistance and support to do so. The World Bank was a suitable partner based on its financing capacity, technical expertise in disaster risk management and mitigation, and credibility and trust in Turkey based on prior disaster risk management engagements. These considerations motivated the creation of the Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Project (ISMEP) as a proactive risk mitigation effort. Ratings for the Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Project are as follows: Outcome is highly satisfactory, Risk to development outcome is negligible, Bank performance is satisfactory, and Borrower performance is highly satisfactory. The project offers the following lessons: (i) A sub-national multisector model can be highly effective for reducing disaster risk in a well-functioning major metropolitan area, even in a country where these approaches are unusual. (ii) A semi-autonomous professional project coordination unit can help to ensure effective and efficient project implementation even when dealing with many stakeholders and beneficiary agencies. (iii) Even highly successful project models may not be replicated if they cannot generate strong government ownership and if they rely on exceptional measures. (iv) The World Bank can achieve large scale impact by creating effective project platforms that are able to attract additional financing from other institutions. (v) The World Bank can offer significant value to clients from financing, access to technology, project management experience, and influence - even in megacities in high capacity upper middle-income countries. (vi) Pilot efforts may not support learning if they do not have monitoring and evaluation systems that assess their contribution to program objectives and draw conclusions for the design of future interventions. (vii) Small grants to support municipalities in digitizing their processes can have a significant impact on efficiency and transparency if coupled with highly motivated municipal leadership.

Gambia CLR Review FY13-16

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This review of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the Second Joint Partnership Strategy (JPS-2), FY13-FY16, for the Gambia. The JPS-2 was a joint strategy of the WBG and the African Development Bank (AfDB).The Gambia is a small, fragile and landlocked country with a GNI per capita income of USD 430 in 2016.The JPS-2 had eight objectives organized around two Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group's (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the Second Joint Partnership Strategy (JPS-2), FY13-FY16, for the Gambia. The JPS-2 was a joint strategy of the WBG and the African Development Bank (AfDB).The Gambia is a small, fragile and landlocked country with a GNI per capita income of USD 430 in 2016.The JPS-2 had eight objectives organized around two pillars or focus areas: (i) enhancing productive capacity and competitiveness; (ii) strengthening the institutional capacity for economic governance and public service delivery. The JPS-2 was aligned with the government's medium term development plan as articulated in its Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) 2012-2016 and the government's long-term plan contained in Vision 2020.The JPS-2 focus areas and objectives were aligned with government's Medium Term Development Plan (PAGE), and its long-term strategy, Vision 2020. The joint strategy and clear division of labor with AfDB provided the foundation for WBG's selectivity. The WBG's program was generally selective in terms of focus areas, objectives and interventions. IEG concurs with some of the key lessons which are summarized as follows: (i) strong donor collaboration is critical but could also have high transactions costs; (ii) country capacity is an important consideration in data collection and quality, and in developing a results framework; and (iii) formal mid-course corrections through the PLR process is even more important in a difficult country circumstances. IEG adds the following lessons: i) Small and fragile countries could benefit from participation in regional integration operations by leveraging limited IDA financing and maximizing development impact. In the case of the Gambia, its participation in regional operations brought benefits to the country in terms of improved technology adoption in agriculture and increased connectivity. ii) To the extent possible, it is important that WBG interventions are aligned to the CPS objectives and their contributions reflected in the results framework. In the case of the Gambia, there were IFC interventions in several areas that were not reflected in the results framework.