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April 15, 2021

Pakistan’s SDGs project performance drops to 58pc: ADB

Business

April 15, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan’s project performance related to sustainable development goals dropped to 58 percent in 2018–2020 from 70 percent in 2017–2019 due to poor performance in the public sector management and water sectors, Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

The main factors affecting performance included inadequate project ownership and commitment, weak implementation capacity, and substantial implementation delays and cost overruns, ADB said in the 2021 annual evaluation review.

The sustainable development goals are a collection of 17 designed to be a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. “The challenging political environment and a succession of boom-and-bust economic cycles have hampered Pakistan’s development progress,” said ADB that committed $10 billion in lending to Pakistan under country partnership strategy (CPS) for 2021-2025.

The Pakistan CPS was based on two pillars: infrastructure development to improve economic connectivity and productivity for jobs and better access to basic public services; and institutional reforms to cover policy, regulatory, and administrative systems, as well as public financial management. The program has been more efficient than previously and ADB has improved its ability to manage a large portfolio in the challenging country context.

“However, program effectiveness was affected by gaps in government commitment that resulted in implementation delays, particularly in energy projects,” ADB said in the report prepared by the Independent Evaluation Department. “Sustainability was hampered by uncertain cost-recovery arrangements because of increased fiscal instability. Overall, development impacts were considered less than satisfactory.” ADB said Pakistan is among the countries in the Asia-Pacific region that have established clear SDG coordination structures. Each of the 32 line ministries in Pakistan have been assigned specific SDG goals and indicators depending on their function.

ADB said aliquefied natural gas regassification project in Pakistan was assessed excellent. The project exceeded most of its outcome and output targets. For instance, it provided 400 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of incremental natural gas supply from commencement of operations and increased its output to 600 mmcfd beginning in 2017. In an urban and sanitation sector investment program in Pakistan, ADB said the risk of losing government interest in a key policy reform component (the devolution of governance to regional urban service institutions) could have been reduced had the project design included components to strengthen the role and capacity of the provincial government in urban policy and planning (through the regional urban unit) with a sharp focus on the coordination role of the respective provincial line departments (through program support unit) and on the capacity building of local governments (through municipal administrations). An urban water and sanitation project in Pakistan was discontinued without meeting its objectives due to loss of government commitment to the proposed reforms under the project related to improving efficiency and quality of devolving water and sanitation at the local/city-level units, ADB added.