Asian Development Bank Seminar Emphasizes Need for Effective Monitoring and Evaluation in Pacific Development Projects

In a seminar titled “Supporting Development Projects in Fiji and the Pacific,” organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), experts emphasized the critical importance of systematic and objective monitoring, evaluation, and learning for the successful implementation of projects in Pacific developing member countries.

ADB’s Deputy Director General of the Independent Evaluation Department, Sona Shrestha, highlighted the steady expansion of support from international finance institutions in terms of financing and the number of projects over the years. However, she stressed that translating increased development assistance into tangible results for the people of the Pacific requires a stronger focus on project design, implementation capacity, and early identification and mitigation of risks.

Pacific countries, with their unique development challenges and opportunities, aim to achieve their development goals amid increasing support from major partners. Both ADB and the World Bank have expanded their portfolios in the Pacific, each exceeding $3 billion. Grant resources from concessional windows, including the Asian Development Fund and International Development Association, as well as bilateral partners like Australia, have also witnessed significant growth.

ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office Regional Director, Aaron Batten, highlighted the institution’s commitment to working closely with Pacific partners to strengthen project implementation. Batten emphasized the need for more resources dedicated to project design quality and readiness, capacity building in project management, and strategic collaboration with development partners for larger and more impactful programs.

Despite these efforts, evaluations reveal that delivering projects and programs successfully and sustainably remains a significant challenge in the Pacific. The seminar raised crucial questions for governments, development partners, and regional organizations on how operations can be better designed and implemented to deliver tangible results.

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary of Finance, Shiri Gounder, stressed the importance of organizational capacity, project readiness, and policy-based loans to support reforms and address institutional constraints from the government’s perspective. The panel discussions centered around identifying ways stakeholders can enhance project outcomes, aligning them with the aspirations outlined in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent recently adopted by regional leaders.

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