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vufo July 12th, 2009 04:34 PM

MEK-WATSAN - Vietnam
Vietnam has experienced relatively high economic growth in recent years, with rapidly developing urban centers. Much of this urbanization is based on newly arrived rural migrants who place considerable demands on the town’s urban services.

The government is working to address this problem through its comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, which targets eighty per cent coverage for urban water supply and one hundred per cent coverage for sanitation by 2010. It is widely recognized however that these targets are overly optimistic and will need to be revised. It is expected that of the estimated $8billion required to meet the 2010 development targets, only $230million/annum is being invested at this stage.

Location: Vietnam
Branch: Water, Sanitation and Infrastructure
Partner: Asian Development Bank
Donor: -HABITAT Water and Sanitation Trust Fund
Theme: Water and Sanitation

The institutional and enabling frameworks have not attracted much private sector interest at this stage. Consequently, the government is considering a concept that involves unbundling existing water utilities and privatizing them, with a view to improving their performance.

Based on rapid technical and institutional appraisals, four towns in Vietnam have been identified for participation in the Mekong Water and Sanitation Initiative. The two most fundamental criteria for selection were need (level of service coverage) and the incidence of poverty. The town appraisals included stakeholder consultations and workshops, as well as key informant interviews.

To build country level capacity in Household Water Treatment Systems (HWTS) for Vietnam, UN-HABITAT is collaborating with the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CWAST) of Canada with the two partners contributing equally to funding for capacity building, information dissemination, demonstration and promotion of HWTS. The Household Water Treatment Programme does not require high capital costs and is, therefore, affordable for small community organizations and cash strapped government agencies. The project, whose main objective is technology transfer, includes training, education, technical consulting and network building. It will also encourage and empower independent organizations to implement similar programmes on a small-scale.

UN-HABITAT is in discussions with the government of Vietnam to implement all or part of the investment plan for one of the selected towns, using a non-profit organization. There are few non-profit organizations experienced in urban service provision in the country, and this is a good opportunity to build capacity in this area. UN-HABITAT also has a preliminary agreement with Asian Development Bank to provide capacity building assistance to its upcoming Central Region Water Supply and Sanitation Project, as well as a proposed public private initiative in the old capital of Hue.

(Source: UN-Habitat)

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