Better Water and Sanitation to the Poor

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) emphasized the need to target the poor population in future water and sanitation activities at a national workshop recently held in Hanoi.


The main purposes of the workshop were to review the results of the phase 2 of the national programme for rural water supply and sanitation (2006-2010) (NTP 2) and to discuss the new focuses for the phase 3 of the programme.


On behalf of the donors providing budget support to the NTP 2 including Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands and the U.K, the Danish Ambassador, Mr. John Nielsen, congratulated the government for the results and achievements of the NTP 2. The four donors in total jointly provided about 120 million US dollars of budget support to the government for the implementation of the NTP 2 programme.


The NTP 2 programme has made good results and achievements during the past five years. With the coverage estimated at 83% by end of 2010, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water supply is well on track. However, with only around 60% of the rural population having access to latrines by end of 2010, sanitation is one of the two off-track MDGs in Vietnam.


With the time to come, promotion of sanitation and personal hygiene will become more difficult when the programme has to reach the poor and the ethnic minorities in remote areas. Without special efforts and commitment from the government, sanitation targets will not be met.


“Access to water supply and sanitation is an issue that affects the poor and the better off differently. In Vietnam for example, according to 2008 Vietnam Living Standard Survey, the poorest 20% are 5 times less likely to have hygienic latrines than the richest 20%. The gap in access to safe water is about 3 times. It is therefore important to target the government and donors’ resources, which are limited, to the poor and the vulnerable groups of people” said Danish Ambassador John Nielsen on behalf of the donors at the workshop.


Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Cao Duc Phat, confirmed to donors the continued commitment of the government to the rural water supply and sanitation sector. He also emphasised that ‘The NTP 3 programme will focus on pro-poor targeting, sanitation, the sustainability of the schemes and the updating of the Monitoring and Evaluation database’.


Denmark, together with Australia and the U.K, are considering to jointly finance the NTP 3 programme from 2012.


 

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