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Montenegro: Institutional Development and Agriculture Strengthening Project (MIDAS) (PPAR)

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The original project development objective was to “improve delivery of government assistance for sustainable agriculture and rural development in a manner consistent with the EU pre-accession requirements.” Original financing was expected to be a $15.7 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and a $4 million grant from the Global Environment Facility ( Show MoreThe original project development objective was to “improve delivery of government assistance for sustainable agriculture and rural development in a manner consistent with the EU pre-accession requirements.” Original financing was expected to be a $15.7 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and a $4 million grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Global Environment Objective was to “mainstream sustainable land use and natural resource management into MAFWM’s [the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management] policies, programs and investments” (World Bank 2009). Ratings for this project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was substantial. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) A clear articulation of the expected transformation of the agriculture sector, and a logically associated and well-defined path to follow at the institutional and production level, is crucial in justifying reforms and achieving desired outcomes. (ii) A practical “learning by doing” pilot approach can help identify and address bottlenecks and prepare the sector for new practices and procedures. (iii) Sector weaknesses need to be addressed in a holistic manner at institutional, administrative, regulatory, and production levels to comprehensively foster a country’s agriculture sector competitiveness. (iv) Projects supporting compliance with market standards can help beneficiaries meet necessary conditions for market participation, but they do not guarantee market inclusion or expansion without connection support for new market linkages. (v) Access to finance for agricultural producers should be assessed at appraisal to test the extent to which limited credit is an overarching constraint to broader sector development.

World Bank Group Engagement with Morocco 2011–21 (Approach Paper)

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This Country Program Evaluation aims to assess the World Bank Group’s contribution to Morocco’s development trajectory over the past decade (fiscal years 2011–21) and is timed to inform the next Country Partnership Framework and future Bank Group engagements in the country. The Country Program Evaluation will use a range of methods to assess how the Bank Group has supported Morocco’s efforts to Show MoreThis Country Program Evaluation aims to assess the World Bank Group’s contribution to Morocco’s development trajectory over the past decade (fiscal years 2011–21) and is timed to inform the next Country Partnership Framework and future Bank Group engagements in the country. The Country Program Evaluation will use a range of methods to assess how the Bank Group has supported Morocco’s efforts to tackle major constraints to achieving its objective of reaching upper-middle-income-country status. The evaluation will focus on three outcome areas: (i) fostering private sector–led growth that absorbs a growing labor force; (ii) strengthening inclusive human capital formation and addressing the obstacles to women and youth labor force participation; and (iii) reducing climate risks and natural resource depletion and addressing their combined effects on the most vulnerable people, especially in rural areas.

Côte d’Ivoire: First, Second, and Third Poverty Reduction Support Credits (PPAR)

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The Côte d’Ivoire Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) series provides an opportunity to test the hypothesis that a DPO series can effectively help restore a post-conflict country to growth and catalyze longer-term reforms when there is a sound underlying macroeconomic framework and capable administration. The PPAR adds value to the initial Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) validation of this Show MoreThe Côte d’Ivoire Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) series provides an opportunity to test the hypothesis that a DPO series can effectively help restore a post-conflict country to growth and catalyze longer-term reforms when there is a sound underlying macroeconomic framework and capable administration. The PPAR adds value to the initial Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) validation of this programmatic series by reviewing the sustainability of reforms undertaken, applying the new Implementation Completion and Results Report Review methodology for development policy financing, and incorporating views of a wider range of stakeholders to draw lessons. Ratings for these projects were as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Risk to development outcome wash, Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory, and the Quality of monitoring and evaluation was moderately unsatisfactory. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) Designing DPO series with too many unrelated prior actions may undermine achievement of results. (ii) A clear results chain is needed to prioritize critical actions and monitor results. (iii) Critical reforms that require sequencing over an extended period for effective implementation should be complemented by institutional measures for sustained implementation and technical assistance projects to build capacity. (iv) In post-conflict situations, the need for budget support provides an opportunity for introducing and accelerating reforms.

Republic of Congo: Support for Economic Diversification Project (PPAR)

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The original objective of the Support for Economic Diversification Project as stated at appraisal stage was “to promote private sector growth and investment in the non-oil sectors in the Republic of Congo.” The revised objective of the project after the 2014 restructuring was “to promote private investment in select non-oil value chains and to support SME [small and medium enterprise] development Show MoreThe original objective of the Support for Economic Diversification Project as stated at appraisal stage was “to promote private sector growth and investment in the non-oil sectors in the Republic of Congo.” The revised objective of the project after the 2014 restructuring was “to promote private investment in select non-oil value chains and to support SME [small and medium enterprise] development.” Ratings for this project were as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy was negligible for original PDO and modest for revised PDO, Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) When working with low-capacity clients, especially in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence, design should be simple with a minimum of components and limited requirements for coordination. (ii) For investment climate reform type projects, particularly in countries with strong centralized power dynamics, a key champion at the highest level of the government and coordination among the various ministries are crucial to bringing the public and private sectors together and helping identify and implement the reforms needed to improve the investment climate and competitiveness. (iii) It is crucial for projects involving large counterpart funding, especially in countries where public revenues are highly dependent on natural resources, to consider the risk of commodity price fluctuations for counterpart funding at the time of appraisal and seek to mitigate such risk. (iv) A matching grant scheme should clearly identify the needs of the beneficiaries at the time of the project design, especially in countries similar to the Republic of Congo that lack an entrepreneurship mind-set, have a large informal sector, and lack funding from financial institutions to firms.

Preserving rangelands for people and climate: Lessons from Mongolia

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Jalamchagna Dolgoon, 30, and his friends rest while their cows drink from at a water pump in the countryside surrounding Khairkhandulan Photo Credit: DAWNING, Rafe H. Andrews, Raul Roman
In Mongolia, the word “rangeland” is synonymous with “homeland.” It is a clue to the importance of rangelands in a country where a quarter of Mongolians are herders, and the wider livestock economy provides sustenance, income, and wealth to nearly half of the population. For many nomadic societies herding is at the core of their life. Around the world, rangelands support the livelihoods, social Show MoreIn Mongolia, the word “rangeland” is synonymous with “homeland.” It is a clue to the importance of rangelands in a country where a quarter of Mongolians are herders, and the wider livestock economy provides sustenance, income, and wealth to nearly half of the population. For many nomadic societies herding is at the core of their life. Around the world, rangelands support the livelihoods, social traditions, and resilience of 500 million people, primarily in low-income countries. Yet the rangelands that these communities rely on for their livelihoods face a combined threat of overexploitation and climate change. The quickening pace of rangeland degradation in Mongolia is driven by increased livestock numbers and reduced livestock mobility. In a 2018 report, 12% of Mongolian rangelands were heavily degraded and potentially irreversibly damaged, and another 16% would take up to 10 years and significant effort to recover. This continuing trend has been exacerbated by erratic weather patterns associated with climate change. This includes the increasing frequency and duration of extreme events like drought, floods, wildfires and dzuds (severe winter weather disasters that can lead to catastrophic livestock mortality), that are harming both rangelands and herder livelihoods. This dual threat is impacting rangelands around the world, especially in drylands, where most rangelands occur, and where 73% are degraded. Evolution of livestock sector in Mongolia Following liberalization in the 1990s, the livestock sector in Mongolia witnessed a dramatic increase of the national herd size and a change in herd composition in favor of goats (for cashmere). This was coupled with an increasing concentration of livestock in areas close to markets and services, and a decrease in nomadic practices and animal mobility. These changes have also included increased out-of-season grazing, trespassing on reserved pastures, and an associated rise in local conflict.   IEG recently conducted an assessment of World Bank support for natural resources management, such as rangelands, to assess the impact of these programs on the vulnerabilities of the millions of resource-dependent people. In addition to supporting livelihoods, rangelands have a vital role to play in mitigating climate change as they are natural carbon sinks, sequestering substantial amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the form of soil organic carbon. In drylands, the soils already store more than one third of the world’s soil carbon, with even higher potential under improved management. While evaluating the World Bank’s support for addressing the natural resource management and vulnerability nexus, IEG conducted an extensive field assessment in Mongolia. The following lessons emerged from this experience that can help inform future investments in rangelands: 1. Solutions need to be best fit for the local context to ensure sustainable and equitable outcomes Rangelands are often common pool resources: accessible to everybody, policed by nobody. A common approach to addressing the degradation of common pool resources is to give people individual ownership to increase their incentive to not overexploit the resource. Enclosures (i.e., fencing land and assigning individual plots) were used by the World Bank in Inner Mongolia, China, but this practice had unintended outcomes. In some cases, it increased degradation as restricted herder movement caused continued overgrazing in already overexploited pastures. It also increased inequality as powerful herders managed to claim the best land when it was divided. This approach fundamentally changed local nomadic culture while yielding disappointing productivity and restoration benefits because it was not aligned with local socio-ecological conditions. In Mongolia, the World Bank instead appropriately used Community-Based Rangeland Management (CBRM). CBRM supports local agreement on livestock mobility and storage-related practices, including seasonal pasture rotation that allows for rest and recovery without fencing. The approach is rooted in adaptive strategies that are traditionally used by Mongolian herders to prepare for and respond to pasture and climatic conditions. 2. Governments need to establish an incentive structure that addresses the drivers of degradation and encourages ecologically responsible behavior The governance of natural resources such as rangelands remains a challenge globally. In Mongolia there is little governance of the rangelands: there is no institution responsible for pasture management, and implementation of the existing land law is weak. Additionally, until very recently, there was no taxation of the livestock sector, and thus no disincentives against overexploitation. In the absence of incentives for sustainable management of open access rangelands and disincentives against overexploitation, herders are driven to ever-increasing herds to meet their consumption needs. Extensive interviews in Mongolia found that most herders are aware of pasture degradation, including their own part in it, but they feel the current system leaves them no choice in this tragedy of the commons. They expressed support for a grazing fee or livestock tax, which would incentivize all herders to favor the common good over individual short-term self-interest. Strong institutions at the central and local level, complemented with appropriate governance measures, are crucial to create the incentive structures that help herders make decisions that support healthy rangelands and their own long-term self-interest. Since July 2021, the Government of Mongolia has implemented a tax on livestock ownership, the revenue of which should be directed to rangeland and livestock management activities. Although a noteworthy development, successfully implementing and enforcing this law will require substantial political will and local governance capacity. As of now, it is too early to tell whether it will prove effective in incentivizing smaller herds and facilitating rangeland recovery. 3. Markets must be reshaped to put a premium on quality over quantity to support both rangeland health and improved livelihoods In developing countries, and especially among nomadic herders, livestock supply chains are fraught with technical challenges in meeting basic quality, animal health, and sanitation standards. In Mongolia, as elsewhere, this undermines market access, including export potential. Specifically, the livestock sector suffers from unpredictable trade policies when China closes its border to Mongolian livestock products for fear of livestock diseases. Without access to markets that place a premium on quality, demand is lacking for the high-quality or sustainably produced livestock products that could incentivize better livestock management and smaller herds. This in turn traps poor herder households in a low investment, low productivity, and low-income cycle. Therefore, value chain approaches that address market access, trade facilitation, livestock extension services, and price-quality relationships, are a key part of protecting rangelands and improving livelihoods. Rangelands are currently neglected in the growing global restoration agenda, yet they are a major store of carbon and offer great possibilities for achieving both environment and development goals. By addressing the local incentive structures, markets and socio-cultural practices through the use of best fit solutions, which are also adapted to local socio-ecological conditions, rangeland regeneration and the protection of local livelihoods can go hand-in-hand to achieve development, biodiversity and climate outcomes. Sources can be found in the corresponding sections of the assessment of World Bank support for natural resources management. Note: On Nov. 17, 2021, the blog was edited to include a link to a 2018 report, as well as to provide an update about a tax on livestock ownership implemented in July of 2021. Pictured at top: Jalamchagna Dolgoon, 30, and his friends rest while their cows drink at a water pump in the countryside surrounding Khairkhandulan Photo Credit: DAWNING, Rafe H. Andrews, Raul Roman  

Addressing Gender Inequalities in Countries Affected by Fragility, Conflict and Violence: An Evaluation of WBG Support (Approach Paper)

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The WBG recognizes that achieving gender equality is particularly challenging in those settings, but it is critical to make progress in peace building and resilience to crisis. Addressing gender gaps is a priority in FCV-affected countries because fragility and conflict disproportionally affect women and girls and exacerbate gender inequalities. The World Bank Group recognizes that effective Show MoreThe WBG recognizes that achieving gender equality is particularly challenging in those settings, but it is critical to make progress in peace building and resilience to crisis. Addressing gender gaps is a priority in FCV-affected countries because fragility and conflict disproportionally affect women and girls and exacerbate gender inequalities. The World Bank Group recognizes that effective responses to gender inequalities in FCV-affected countries need to be context-specific, country-owned, systemic, and sustainable. The goal of this formative evaluation is to provide lessons on what worked well, less well, and why, regarding the World Bank Group’s support to FCV-affected countries to achieve transformational change towards gender equality in two areas: women’s and girls’ economic empowerment and gender-based violence.

Azerbaijan: ARP II Integrated Solid Waste Management Project (PPAR)

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This assessment seeks to identify what worked and what did not work under the Absheron Rehabilitation Program II Integrated Solid Waste Management Project in Azerbaijan. The project was designed in 2008 to support the reform of the Greater Baku area solid waste management. Its project development objective was to support (i) improving solid waste disposal management; (ii) increasing waste Show MoreThis assessment seeks to identify what worked and what did not work under the Absheron Rehabilitation Program II Integrated Solid Waste Management Project in Azerbaijan. The project was designed in 2008 to support the reform of the Greater Baku area solid waste management. Its project development objective was to support (i) improving solid waste disposal management; (ii) increasing waste collection coverage; and (iii) enhancing waste data information and financial management capacity in the Greater Baku area. The project closed in 2018, after 10 years of implementation and $76.6 million disbursed under the two International Bank for Reconstruction and Development loans. Ratings for this project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Bank performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. This project performance assessment offers the following lessons: (i) Significant spending on modern waste facilities alone is not sufficient to ensure an effective municipal solid waste disposal system. (ii) Closing illegal dumps is likely to be ineffective without complementary measures to strengthen institutional accountability and achieve behavior change. (iii) It is important to think through the sequencing of sector interventions in unreformed sectors to prioritize interventions that ensure a minimum threshold of viability and reforms that may enable meaningful progress.

Reducing Disaster Risk from Natural Hazards – An Evaluation of World Bank Support 2010-20 (Approach Paper)

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Disasters caused by natural hazards are a threat to development, and their costs are rising. Climate change is exacerbating the costs of disasters and putting more people at risk from more powerful, more frequent, and more severe storms, floods, and droughts. People in developing countries, and particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, are most at risk of losing their lives and livelihoods Show MoreDisasters caused by natural hazards are a threat to development, and their costs are rising. Climate change is exacerbating the costs of disasters and putting more people at risk from more powerful, more frequent, and more severe storms, floods, and droughts. People in developing countries, and particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, are most at risk of losing their lives and livelihoods from disaster-related events. Reducing disaster risk from natural hazards, the focus of this evaluation, can reduce the negative effects that disasters have on society and people’s lives. DRR is at the core of the World Bank’s approach to support green, resilient, and inclusive development. The purpose of this evaluation is to learn how the World Bank has helped client countries undertake DRR from natural hazards and how and how well it has achieved DRR outcomes. The evaluation will focus on disaster risks caused by natural hazards rather than other types of hazards or chronic stresses.

Addressing groundwater depletion: Lessons from India, the world’s largest user of groundwater

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pictured above: Women draw water from a well in the drylands of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. By Yavuz Sariyildiz via Shutterstock (November 9, 2014).
India is home to 16% of the world’s population, but only holds 4% of the world’s freshwater resources. Not only is water scarce in India, but the extraction of groundwater has been on the rise for decades. Since the 1960s, the government’s support for the “green revolution” to ensure food security has increased the demand for groundwater for agriculture. Rapid rural electrification combined Show MoreIndia is home to 16% of the world’s population, but only holds 4% of the world’s freshwater resources. Not only is water scarce in India, but the extraction of groundwater has been on the rise for decades. Since the 1960s, the government’s support for the “green revolution” to ensure food security has increased the demand for groundwater for agriculture. Rapid rural electrification combined with the availability of modern pump technologies has led to an increase in the number of borewells to meet that demand. Over the last 50 years, the number of borewells has grown from 1 million to 20 million, making India the world’s largest user of groundwater. The Central Groundwater Board of India estimates that about 17% of groundwater blocks are overexploited (meaning the rate at which water is extracted exceeds the rate at which the aquifer is able to recharge) while 5% and 14% , respectively, are at critical and semi-critical stages. The situation is particularly alarming in three major regions – north-western, western, and southern peninsular. Groundwater pollution and the effects of climate change, including erratic rainfall in the drier areas, put additional stress on groundwater resources which serve about 85% of domestic water supply in rural areas, 45% in urban areas, and over 60% of irrigated agriculture. Current overexploitation rates pose threats to livelihoods, food security, climate-driven migration, sustainable poverty reduction and urban development. The World Bank has been working with the Government of India to enhance groundwater management in affected areas. The lessons below stem from the experience of World Bank groundwater management projects in India, and are part of a broader IEG evaluation of the World Bank’s support for sustainable and inclusive natural resource management.   Integrated demand and supply side solutions offer the best option for sustainable use. IEG case studies in Rajasthan, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh showed that the success of supply-side measures, such as watershed management programs, aquifer recharging and tank rehabilitation activities, did not lead to sustainable use in the absence of demand-side action. Measures such as surface water harvesting through farm ponds and check-dams, the installation of water-efficient irrigation systems (e.g. more efficient drips and sprinklers) and growing less water intensive crops, need to be integrated on the demand side for improved management and reduced depletion. Weak regulatory action to limit demand for groundwater can hinder the success of programs in reversing groundwater depletion. Weak regulations result in the expansion of groundwater irrigated areas and drilling of additional wells. This can more than offset water savings created by demand-side measures, or the water increases created by supply-side measures, leading to further depletion. The government of India regulates groundwater exploitation in water-stressed states through “notification” of highly overexploited blocks that restrict development of new groundwater structures (except those for drinking water). However, only about 14% of the overexploited blocks in the country are currently notified. Local level regulatory action in all threatened blocks before they reach the “overexploited” stage is vital to avert depletion. Strengthening community participation and rights in groundwater governance can improve groundwater management. World Bank projects in peninsular India, where more spread out and specifically defined hydrological sites prevail, were successful on several fronts by implementing the Participatory Groundwater Management approach (PGM). The PGM approach empowers communities in a defined aquifer area by providing governance rights, community awareness, capacity development, and knowledge and motivation for social regulation and the implementation of coordinated actions. However, there are limits to the success of the PGM approach. It did not work when local institutions were weak, supply-side interventions failed to replenish groundwater or when tanks failed to store water due to recurrent droughts, leading to increased overexploitation. The approach is also unlikely to work in areas with extensive alluvial aquifers that require coordination among large numbers of users. World Bank interventions support local institutional capacity for groundwater governance, but such institutions are often not viable after the end of the project. Two local institutions are mainly involved in groundwater management in India: Water User Associations (WUA) and groundwater management committees (GWMC). WUAs are formal institutions with a wider mandate to manage irrigation systems (surface and groundwater) and have budget allocations for maintaining the systems and collecting user charges. In contrast, GWMCs are informal groups created through World Bank–supported projects to facilitate PGM. These committees become dormant and dysfunctional once projects close. The key institutional challenge for groundwater governance is strengthening local institutions and helping the informal groups to remain viable during the post-project phase. Power subsidies for pumping groundwater accelerate the depletion of aquifers in stressed areas. Several states affected by depletion of groundwater provide free or heavily subsidized power (including solar pumps) for pumping groundwater for irrigated agriculture. This creates perverse incentives that enable overexploitation and depletion of scarce groundwater resources. In the long-run, sustainable groundwater management will depend on cross-sectoral reforms to address the water-energy-agriculture nexus and providing the right incentives to resource users. This requires better coordination of policy, market and regulatory measures as well as repurposing current distortive public support to more climate-smart solutions. Strengthening World Bank analytical support and investments in these directions would be useful for future. Groundwater extraction has allowed rural families to reduce short-term vulnerability but may incur trade-offs and increase the risk of depletion and ultimately increase vulnerability in the long term. Increased access to groundwater resources and extraction allows households to boost agricultural production in the short term. Many farm households owning wells indicated that their vulnerability is lower partly because of income growth and diversification and buffers provided by social safety nets. However, without sufficient regulation or replenishment of aquifers, the increased access to and use of groundwater for irrigation could lead to declining water tables and increasing water scarcity, which risks escalating long-term vulnerability. pictured above: Women draw water from a well in the drylands of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India. By Yavuz Sariyildiz via Shutterstock (November 9, 2014).

World Bank Group Support to Energy Efficiency: An Independent Evaluation of Demand-side Approaches (Approach Paper)

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Energy efficiency contributes, first and foremost, to addressing climate change, but it also to addressing three other critical development challenges: firm productivity, energy security, and household energy affordability and access. The purpose of the evaluation is to assess how well the World Bank Group is supporting client countries to scale up demand-side energy efficiency to achieve Show MoreEnergy efficiency contributes, first and foremost, to addressing climate change, but it also to addressing three other critical development challenges: firm productivity, energy security, and household energy affordability and access. The purpose of the evaluation is to assess how well the World Bank Group is supporting client countries to scale up demand-side energy efficiency to achieve development outcomes. This evaluation will cover IBRD, IDA and IFC, including lending, advisory, analytics and knowledge products for the period FY2011–20 and build on the findings of the previous IEG evaluations on related energy topics.