GEORGIA: Review of Georgia’s Three Road Sector Performance Based Contracting Models and Integration of Gender and Climate Change Considerations
Georgia’s mountainous terrain makes building and maintaining its road system difficult, especially in rural areas. But now, its road network faces a new, formidable challenge: climate change.
In recent years, temperatures have been warmer and heavy precipitation more frequent. The government estimates that nearly 70 percent of its territory—home to 57 percent of the population—is at risk from climate-related disasters, including avalanches, erosion, flooding, landslides, and mudflows. Landslides alone have increased by 63 percent since 1987.
Climate and gender in road rehabilitation projects
With over 40 percent of Georgia’s population living in villages and small towns, secondary roads are critical for accessing markets and job opportunities. Georgia’s government has invested in its road infrastructure, with some success: the number of secondary roads in good or fair condition increased from 30 percent in 2004 to around 63 percent in 2017. But significant efforts will be necessary to preserve and sustainably manage the country’s vital secondary road network.
To address this challenge, the World Bank is funding the Georgia Secondary Road Asset Management Project. Under this initiative, the Bank is working with Georgia’s Roads Department to promote the use of performance-based contracts (PBCs). PBC was piloted under a precursor World Bank-financed Project that helped the Roads Department improve its asset management practices through PBCs for secondary roads. Roads are to be rehabilitated and maintained in a climate-resilient way that maximizes the socio-economic benefits for communities—especially for women, who are significantly underrepresented in the labor force (according to UNDP, 57.3 percent of women participate in the labor force, compared to 78.4 percent of men).
Three PBC models have been developed in Georgia: two of them fully performance-based and one, a hybrid consisting of performance- and input-based elements.
The Georgian government requested assistance from PPIAF to develop policies to mainstream a cost-efficient, gender-inclusive, and climate risk-integrated PBC model that ensures sustainable road asset management countrywide. Georgia’s Road Department, which monitors road sections prone to natural disasters, also agreed to explore opportunities to integrate gender considerations throughout its road sector operations.
PPIAF analyzed three PBC models: a first, which was already under implementation under the earlier World Bank-financed Project; second model developed directly by the Roads Department based on the experience of the first model; and a third being designed as part of a new World Bank project that could possibly be rolled-out nationwide with the state budget, following the completion of contracts under the second model. The study aimed at advising the government of Georgia in developing recommendations for mainstreaming of a cost-efficient, gender-inclusive, and climate risk integrated PBC model to ensure sustainable road asset management countrywide and strengthen the capacity of the government to integrate gender considerations throughout their operations in the road sector.
PPIAF made specific recommendations for improving the three PBC models that could better address risks and improve their attractiveness for the private sector. PPIAF also advised the government on how climate risk management could be integrated into the second PBC model to increase climate resilience of secondary roads, with the potential of adopting this approach in other secondary road projects.
As part of this effort, PPIAF examined obstacles to women’s participation in road projects under the three PBC models and made recommendations to better facilitate their inclusion in road works from amending contractual obligations to recruiting and training women to addressing gender-specific workplace health and safety concerns.
Finally, PPIAF raised the government’s awareness about the impact of climate change vulnerability on the management of its secondary road assets and helped the government revisit its approach to multi-year programming and annual planning to plan for and implement adaptation and resilience measures for sustainability of its road assets.
Whilst the ongoing COVID-19 has prevented the task team from implementing the gender recommendations of recruiting and training women for road works in Guria, PPIAF and the World Bank retain hope that the recommendations and the proposed action plan resulting from the gender assessment will be incorporated into future road projects in Georgia and beyond, as and when relevant.