Description / Abstract

1. On 16 January 2001, the Board of Directors of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved the policy on water - Water for All: The Water Policy of the Asian Development Bank. This was based on extensive consultations with stakeholders over several years starting with a regional consultation workshop in May 1996 at ADB headquarters.

2. As stipulated in the Water Policy, an in-house review of policy implementation has been undertaken in the third year, and this review is reported to the Board in this information paper. ADB’s Water Sector Committee (WSC)1 undertook the in-house review and the preparation of this paper.

3. The purpose of the review is to assess whether the Water Policy has been consistently integrated into ADB operations to verify achievement, take stock of how much work has been accomplished, and derive lessons for ongoing and future operations. The review hopes to stimulate improvements in project design and implementation.

4. The paper recalls the principal elements of the Water Policy, sets out the methodology and scope of the review, provides an assessment of how well the policy has been implemented, and presents conclusions and recommendations for the further implementation of the policy. A detailed description of the methodology and analysis is provided in Appendixes 1 to 11 and in supplementary appendixes (available on request).

5. There are inherent limitations and constraints to an in-house policy review based on desk analysis (paras. 10 and 11). Given the relatively short period since adopting the policy, the review is essentially limited to assessing the preparation of loan and technical assistance (TA) projects. In addition, ADB’s internal water policy actions were reviewed, as well as the effects on policy implementation from ADB’s reorganization and the establishment of the Cooperation Fund for the Water Sector. Nevertheless, the in-house review should provide a “progress report” and a basis for the comprehensive water policy review scheduled for 2005, 5 years after approval of the Water Policy. As stipulated in the policy paper, an expert group to be commissioned by ADB will conduct the comprehensive review.

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