In 2001, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved its policy on water - water for all : the water policy of the Asian Development Bank. One of the
provisions of this policy is to conduct an in-house review of its implementation in the third year and a comprehensive review after five years (ADB, 2001). The policy review to be carried out by ADB provides an opportunity for WaterAid (WA) and its partners to exert influence to increase resources
committed to water and sanitation and influence how these resources are allocated and managed. Hence, it is engaged in the review along with its
partners and other non-government organisations to examine the effectiveness of a sample of ADB supported water and sanitation projects in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. The case study tries to look at the relevance, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of sampled ADB funded projects in WSS sector in Nepal. The case study also examines the debt burden created by ADB loans at various levels. By examining ADB’s existing procedures for monitoring and evaluation, this study also recommends measures for future improvements. ADB’s involvement in the WSS sector in Nepal ADB has been a leading multilateral lending agency in Nepal. One main area that it has focused its involvement has been the WSS sector, where to date, loans totalling more than US$ 85.25 million for rural WSS projects and US$ 225 million for urban WSS projects have been approved. In addition, TAs worth US$ 5.6 million have also been provided. Providing assistance to improve water supply and sanitation in the Developing Member Countries (DMC) has been an important focus of the ADB. This has been highlighted as one of the main strategies in its Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Nepal (2005-2010). According to the CSP, investment in the social infrastructure, which constitutes the WSS loans, is on the rise. It mentions that within the past decade, lending in the sector has doubled and at present there are two WSS projects that are being proposed. They are: (i) Community-based
Water Supply and Sanitation Sector II and (ii) Secondary Towns Urban Environmental Improvement project. Rural projects funded by the ADB have
focused on areas in which ADB had previously been involved, principally to consolidate the gains made by the earlier projects. Interestingly in rural
projects, projections for the targeted beneficiaries were always lower than the actual beneficiaries at the completion of the project. Studies have also shown that the per capita cost of the ADB projects are higher than those undertaken by other agencies. The projections reveal that in order to achieve the MDTs, ADB will contribute 30 percent of the rural water target, 11 percent of the rural sanitation target and 40-50 percent of the urban water target.
Due to a lack of data the contribution to urban sanitation can not be calculated however it is clear that this sector receives less priority, despite significant investment requirements. ADB’s involvement in the WSS sector has also had influence on the WSS sector policies and practice. The ever
increasing loans and the close working relationship with the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) has allowed the ADB the leverage to be influential on policy matters. Over the years, ADB’s assistance in the WSS sector has also provided valuable lessons that have been incorporated into the national policies and practices. For example, the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1992-1997) laid down the principles of participatory development and provided the guidelines that WSS development programmes be demand driven, which were the lessons learned from ADB’s first two rural WSS projects. Similarly, recommendations of the TA (TA No. 1717-NEP) provided to the Third RWSSSP were instrumental in formulating the National
Water Supply Sector Policy and Drinking Water Regulations, which were both approved in 1998. In 2004, the ADB was also involved in formulating the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Policy 2004, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Strategy 2004 and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Action Plan 2004. More recently, the ordinance promulgated in 2005 on the establishment of a Drinking Water Management Board is attributed to ADB influence.
Besides the influence on national policies, practices have also been affected by ADB interventions. However, if one were to compare between the two,
then ADB seems to have greater leverage on policy matters than it has on actual practices.