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.