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Report/Evaluation Type:Country Focused ValidationsProject Level Evaluations (PPARs)
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Malawi: Irrigation, Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Development Project, and Agricultural Development Program Support Project (PPAR)

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The World Bank has been supporting the government of Malawi in its effort to promote sustainable growth in agricultural productivity. The Irrigation, Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Development Project (IRLADP) supported irrigation farming through the integrated provision of hardware, mainly irrigation infrastructure, and software, mainly local and institutional capacity building. The Show MoreThe World Bank has been supporting the government of Malawi in its effort to promote sustainable growth in agricultural productivity. The Irrigation, Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Development Project (IRLADP) supported irrigation farming through the integrated provision of hardware, mainly irrigation infrastructure, and software, mainly local and institutional capacity building. The Agricultural Development Program Support Project (ADPSP) addressed the efficiency of decision-making at the institutional agricultural policy and farm input–productivity level. The objective of the Project Performance Assessment Report is to assess how the farm-level support of both projects contributed to sustainable increases in agricultural productivity among smallholder farmers (SHFs). Both projects fostered an integrated approach to increases in agricultural productivity by promoting the uptake of traditional measures to support supply (irrigation, modern inputs, and agronomic knowledge) together with complementary practices of improved land and water management. Ratings for the Irrigation, Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Development Project are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was substantial. Ratings for the Agricultural Development Program Support Project are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy was modest, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation is modest. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) An integrated and participatory approach to agricultural development can initiate sustainable productivity growth among SHFs. In the context of a SHF-dominated agricultural sector and low productivity, traditional support measures of input supply are needed to close agronomic yield gaps. (ii) Agricultural projects with a supply-side focus on productivity growth that ignore market linkages are unlikely to provide the right agribusiness mind-set or incentives for farmers to sustainably invest in longer-term agricultural productivity. (iii) A government’s insufficient capacity and resources for agricultural sector development make it difficult to maintain an innovative but intensive demand-driven approach to service delivery in agriculture. (iv) Sustainable land and water management practices require a comprehensive approach that goes beyond irrigation or demonstration plots. (v) For projects preparing an Agriculture Sector-Wide Approach, monitoring production outcomes without a counterfactual does not allow an understanding of what is driving the anticipated productivity increases.

Bhutan CLR Review FY15-19

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This review of the World Bank Group (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) FY15-19, as updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 8, 2017. Bhutan is a small, land-locked, lower middle-income country. Between 2015 and 2019 the annual real GDP growth has varied between 6.2 percent and 3.7 percent. The country’s Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the period of the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) FY15-19, as updated in the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 8, 2017. Bhutan is a small, land-locked, lower middle-income country. Between 2015 and 2019 the annual real GDP growth has varied between 6.2 percent and 3.7 percent. The country’s economic growth was bolstered in recent years by investments in hydropower. Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is now only ten percent below the threshold for upper middle-income countries. Between 2007 and 2017 the poverty headcount ratio (measured at the US$3.20 poverty line in 2011 purchasing power parity terms) dropped from 36 to 12 percent of the population. The CPS noted that Bhutan needed to sustain macroeconomic stability while creating a business environment to promote private sector growth and job creation. The hydro-led growth had created some short-term macroeconomic imbalances, which called for careful management of fiscal and monetary policies. At the same time, it was critical to provide a better investment climate that would be more conducive to private sector development, diversification of the economy and job creation. Also, Bhutan’s large stock of natural capital called for increasing its sustainable contribution to the economy, while protecting the environment and human well-being. Related challenges included rapid urbanization, low agriculture productivity, limited infrastructure, difficult topography, and vulnerability to disaster and climate change. The 2020 Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) confirmed these development challenges.

Niger: Community Action Program and Community-Based Integrated Ecosystem Management Project Phase I and II (PPAR)

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The World Bank has played a key role in helping Niger to further its rural decentralization aims. The World Bank has supported the implementation of the rural code throughout its history. It approved the Natural Resource Management Project (1995–2003) to help Niger jump-start the code implementation and followed it with the Community Action Program (2004–20), a three-phase adjustable program loan Show MoreThe World Bank has played a key role in helping Niger to further its rural decentralization aims. The World Bank has supported the implementation of the rural code throughout its history. It approved the Natural Resource Management Project (1995–2003) to help Niger jump-start the code implementation and followed it with the Community Action Program (2004–20), a three-phase adjustable program loan designed to empower local governments and communities to progressively achieve their collective local development aims in a participatory and sustainable way. This Project Performance Assessment Report assesses the first and second phases of the Community Action Program (CAP-1 and CAP-2). Ratings for the First Phase of the Community Action Program are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was satisfactory, Borrower performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Ratings for the Second Phase of the Community Action Program are as follows: Outcome was moderately satisfactory, Overall efficacy was substantial, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, Borrower performance was satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was substantial. Lessons from both projects include: (i) Land and resource restoration projects should support—and make evident how they are supporting—existing customary flexible tenure arrangements to ensure distributional benefits among resource users and to mitigate conflict risks. (ii) The success of natural resource restoration depends on the extent to which private or communal resource users are compensated over reasonable, short-term time frames for abstaining from using those resources until the long-term public benefits of resource restoration are achieved. (iii) Projects that support land and resource restoration can ensure that women benefit by addressing participation barriers linked to social and cultural norms. (iv) Socioeconomic and anthropological analyses, conducted before project elaboration, can support the gender aspects of production and marketing better.

Liberia: Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (PPAR)

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The project development objective of the Liberia Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP) was to improve the budget coverage, fiscal policy management, financial control, and oversight of government finances of the recipient. The project was restructured in 2016, but the project development objective remained unchanged. Four subobjectives are assessed for this review: (i) Show MoreThe project development objective of the Liberia Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP) was to improve the budget coverage, fiscal policy management, financial control, and oversight of government finances of the recipient. The project was restructured in 2016, but the project development objective remained unchanged. Four subobjectives are assessed for this review: (i) improve budget coverage, (ii) improve fiscal policy management, (iii) improve financial control, and (iv) improve oversight of government finances. Ratings for the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy is modest, Risk to development outcome was substantial, Bank performance is moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation is negligible. Lessons from this project include: (i) Effective support for enhancing revenue mobilization and administration can benefit from combining technical assistance with logistical support. (ii) The use of PEFA composite indicators as results indicators is often not advisable. (iii) Superficial reviews and overoptimistic ratings in ISRs can negatively affect project implementation and outcomes. (iv) Effective and sustainable PFM reforms require continuous engagement to overcome political challenges.

Brazil: National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project and Sustainable Cerrado Initiative (PPAR)

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Brazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, holding an estimated one-fifth of all known flora and fauna species. It also contains a wide range of climate types in seven major biomes, including the vast Amazon and now largely depleted Atlantic rainforests, the Cerrado savanna (which covering 2 million square kilometers is second in size only to Amazônia), the semiarid Caatinga, the world’s Show MoreBrazil is the most biodiverse country in the world, holding an estimated one-fifth of all known flora and fauna species. It also contains a wide range of climate types in seven major biomes, including the vast Amazon and now largely depleted Atlantic rainforests, the Cerrado savanna (which covering 2 million square kilometers is second in size only to Amazônia), the semiarid Caatinga, the world’s largest Pantanal wetlands, and an extensive coastline. The National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project (PROBIO 2) was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Its project development objectives were (i) to promote mainstreaming of biodiversity at the national level in key public and private sector planning strategies and practices, and (ii) to consolidate and strengthen institutional capacity to produce and disseminate relevant biodiversity information. The project development objectives of the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative (GEF Cerrado) were to enhance biodiversity conservation in, and improve environmental and natural resource management of, the Cerrado in Brazil’s territory through appropriate policies and practices. Ratings from the National Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Institutional Consolidation Project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Overall efficacy was satisfactory, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Ratings for the Sustainable Cerrado Initiative are as follows: Outcome was moderately unsatisfactory, Overall efficacy was modest, Bank performance was moderately unsatisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was modest. Lessons from the project include: (i) A critical element for the success of projects that seek to promote the mainstreaming of biodiversity across sectors, both public and private, is strong ownership and active participation across the project’s life by the institutions involved. (ii) A firm up-front understanding of the underlying political, economic, and territorial contexts of the geographic area in which a project is seeking to establish new or expand existing protected areas is essential to properly gauge the possibilities of achieving such an objective. (iii) Experience in Brazil (and elsewhere) has shown that government commitment to project objectives and design can shift significantly over time due to changes in administrations, both at the federal and state government levels. (iv) Learning from environment projects that use concessional financing, both successful and unsuccessful, can have policy implications that extend beyond the original project’s intentions.

Lao People's Democratic Republic: Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric and Social and Environment Projects (PPAR)

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The Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project (NT2 HPP) was a major undertaking in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) when the country’s energy sector was nascent, the overall economy was transitioning from central planning to greater market orientation, and private participation was limited in the energy sector. The NT2 HPP was developed primarily to export electricity to Thailand to boost Show MoreThe Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project (NT2 HPP) was a major undertaking in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) when the country’s energy sector was nascent, the overall economy was transitioning from central planning to greater market orientation, and private participation was limited in the energy sector. The NT2 HPP was developed primarily to export electricity to Thailand to boost economic growth in Lao PDR in support of the implementation of the country’s Growth and Poverty Elimination Strategy. The project was also designed to be catalytic—a model to guide subsequent exploitation of the country’s extensive hydropower resources. Ratings for the Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Bank performance was moderately satisfactory, and Quality of monitoring and evaluation was substantial. The NT2 HPP—given its scale, complexity, and significance—provides many lessons for consideration in future hydropower development initiatives: (i) A project design to capture more comprehensive development outcomes from hydropower, as recommended in the World Bank’s Water Working Note “Directions in Hydropower: Scaling Up for Development,” needs to balance its ambitions with the corresponding implementation capacity, particularly as it relates to experience with environmental protection and social development that may exceed the capabilities of many hydropower developers (World Bank 2009a). (ii) Strategically catalytic interventions, such as the NT2 HPP, can lead to transformational impacts when there is a commitment to and capacity for implementing follow-on actions such as replicating and mainstreaming its features. In the NT2 HPP, power financing through a PPP was catalytic in helping to develop the sector and fueling export-led growth. (iii) Bank Group (and other IFI) participation, including the use of guarantees, can be instrumental in mitigating risks and enhancing the private sector’s confidence to mobilize in nascent markets with unexploited potential and scalable investment opportunities. (iv) A government’s adherence to its commitment to implement a sound development strategy may be a more significant driver for achieving broader poverty alleviation outcomes than earmarking revenues for specific expenditures that are fungible within a general budget. (v) Hydropower can produce sizable global environmental benefits in terms of combating climate change, although the negative impacts that can arise from greenhouse gas emissions from storage reservoirs should also be accounted for.

Nigeria CLR Review FY14-19

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This review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the original period of the Nigeria Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-17, and the update and extension through FY19 as per the Second Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 2018. The implementation of the CPS program was supported by 26 Bank operations with commitments of US$3.7 billion under Show MoreThis review of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) Completion and Learning Review (CLR) covers the original period of the Nigeria Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), FY14-17, and the update and extension through FY19 as per the Second Performance and Learning Review (PLR) dated May 2018. The implementation of the CPS program was supported by 26 Bank operations with commitments of US$3.7 billion under implementation at the beginning of the CPS and 38 new operations with commitments of US$9.4 billion. IFC invested in 28 projects for US$1.1 billion. MIGA issued three guarantees for US$549 million. The CPS design was well aligned with the challenges the country faced and the stated priorities of government. It also responded well to the challenges that arose during implementation. The CLR drew five lessons. Three of the lessons are: (i) achieving significant impact requires commitment beyond the horizon of a CPS, especially in areas such as energy and conflict mitigation; (ii) it can be difficult to accurately gauge the success or failure of results-based operations since they do not respond to traditional Bank tools for measuring success; and (iii) more care is needed in the selection of CPF objectives and results. In addition, IEG highlights the following two lessons from the CLR and builds on them: (i) The experience from expanding coverage of social assistance programs nationally under a common approach provides lessons that can be used to scale up engagements in other areas. Mainly, to combine the use of federal-level rules, policy coordination mechanisms, monitoring systems and data sharing with state-level program implementation and monitoring systems. (ii) Efforts to address design and implementation challenges included the creation of State Coordination Units to break logjams and the Multi-Sectoral Crisis Response Project (MCRP) to bring together efforts in infrastructure rehabilitation and service delivery in three conflictafflicted states. Further progress could entail absorbing and streamlining within the MCRP sectoral program delivery and institutional structures so as to reduce the number of PIUs and facilitate synergies.

Ethiopia: Sustainable Land Management Project I and II (PPAR)

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Serious long-term degradation of communal areas and farmlands results in substantial losses to the economy. The combination of fragile soils, steep slopes, agroclimatic conditions, environmentally unsustainable intensification of agriculture, and traditional cultivation techniques practiced by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia over many decades has led to excessive soil erosion and land degradation Show MoreSerious long-term degradation of communal areas and farmlands results in substantial losses to the economy. The combination of fragile soils, steep slopes, agroclimatic conditions, environmentally unsustainable intensification of agriculture, and traditional cultivation techniques practiced by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia over many decades has led to excessive soil erosion and land degradation. Two sequential projects were designed and implemented to achieve the SLMP’s objectives. Sustainable Land Management Project Phase I (SLMP I) introduced SLM practices in selected areas of the country to rehabilitate previously uneconomical and unproductive degraded areas within 45 critical watersheds situated in six regional states. SLMP II sought to scale up this support by expanding the geographical coverage to 135 watersheds and continued addressing poor farmland management practices, rapid depletion of vegetation cover, unsustainable livestock grazing practices, and land tenure insecurity. SLMP II also sought to integrate new activities targeting land productivity, deforestation, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Ratings for the Sustainable Land Management Project I are as follows: Overall outcome is satisfactory, Risk to development outcomes is moderate, Bank performance is moderately satisfactory, Borrower performance is moderately satisfactory, and Quality of M&E is negligible. For Sustainable Land Management Project II, they are as follows: Overall outcome is satisfactory, Overall efficacy is substantial, Bank performance is moderately satisfactory, and Quality of M&E is modest. Lessons from these projects include: (i) Watershed management programs can lead to significant land restoration outcomes when appropriate structural and biological measures are introduced to treat the affected landscape with active participation of the local community. (ii) Area closures are relevant for the restoration of degraded lands but require increased investments for alternative supply of forages to convince the local communities to forgo livestock grazing and other benefits during the process of natural regeneration. (iii) Farm productivity growth requires arresting both the on-site and off-site soil erosion to prevent the degradation of farmlands and enable investments in modern farm inputs. (iv) Effective demonstration of upfront economic and livelihood benefits is fundamental for smallholder farmers to protect and maintain the SLM practices introduced on their lands through project support. (v) In drought-prone areas, small-scale irrigation is the key enabler for translating the benefits of land restoration into reduction in household vulnerability to climate shocks through income diversification and protection against droughts. (vi) Market-oriented agroforestry interventions (for example, Acacia decurrens) that provide sustainable income for smallholders can be vital ingredients in creating incentives for the adoption of biological measures for land restoration and improving household resilience to climate shocks.

Nicaragua: Fourth Roads Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project and Rural Roads Infrastructure Improvement Project (PPAR)

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The World Bank has supported the road sector in Nicaragua since early 1990. It has helped remove road infrastructure bottlenecks, introduced innovations in road work delivery and maintenance, and strengthened capacity and institutions in the sector. In the course of this three-decade collaboration, cooperative-based road maintenance enterprises, concrete block roads, and concrete block surfacing Show MoreThe World Bank has supported the road sector in Nicaragua since early 1990. It has helped remove road infrastructure bottlenecks, introduced innovations in road work delivery and maintenance, and strengthened capacity and institutions in the sector. In the course of this three-decade collaboration, cooperative-based road maintenance enterprises, concrete block roads, and concrete block surfacing through communitybased surfacing units have become salient features of the World Bank’s engagement in the sector. Both projects in this assessment, the Fourth Roads Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project and the Rural Roads Infrastructure Improvement Project, approved in 2006 and 2011, respectively, were preceded by the original Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project and the Second and Third Road Rehabilitation and Maintenance Projects. These projects were approved by the World Bank between 1996 and 2001. They were followed by the ongoing Urban Access Improvement Project, which was approved in 2017. Ratings for the Fourth Roads Rehabilitation and Maintenance Project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Risk to development outcome was moderate, Bank performance was satisfactory, and Borrower performance was satisfactory. Ratings for the Rural Roads Infrastructure Improvement Project are as follows: Outcome was satisfactory, Risk to development outcome was substantial, Bank performance was satisfactory, and Borrower performance was substantial. This assessment offers the following lessons: (i) Rigor in the selection of roads to be financed and continued support for road planning can help countries use resources effectively and create a planning culture. (ii) Contract features and strict enforcement appear critical to taking full advantage of performance-based routine maintenance contracts. (iii) Upgrading rural roads to all-weather access needs to be comprehensive. (iv) Providing limited technical assistance support in many areas with little upfront preparation might restrict project results. (v) Close stakeholder involvement and post-completion outreach strategies might increase the usefulness of project-financed studies. (vi) A strong results framework is likely to facilitate results measurement.

Comoros CLR Review FY14-19

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This review of the Comoros Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY19, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of December 2018. This is the first CPS for Comoros following a series of Interim Strategy Notes (ISNs), the latest of which was prepared in 2010. The WBG programs under the ISNs were Show MoreThis review of the Comoros Completion and Learning Review (CLR) of the World Bank Group (WBG) Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) covers the CPS period, FY14-FY19, and the Performance and Learning Review (PLR) of December 2018. This is the first CPS for Comoros following a series of Interim Strategy Notes (ISNs), the latest of which was prepared in 2010. The WBG programs under the ISNs were limited in scope reflecting the high level of political instability, serious governance issues and related low IDA allocations. The CLR highlighted several lessons about a need to ensure a streamlined project design and flexibility in implementation; value of increased WBG presence on the ground; importance of donor coordination; and a need for greater realism and selectivity in the program. IEG particularly agrees that there is need for greater realism and selectivity in the program, throughout the program, beyond the governance area on which the lesson in the CLR focuses. Being excessively ambitious with respect to institutional targets in a fragile environment increases the risk of program underperformance. IEG adds the following lesson: The decision on a large program expansion at the PLR stage requires a detailed discussion and careful justification in the PLR document because it poses a longer-term implementation risk.