After a highly successful meeting, representatives from a group of countries from Mekong region reaffirmed their commitment to an initiative by UN-HABITAT aiming to provide water and sanitations to their citizens.
More than 70 representatives from the Governments of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Lao PDR and S.R. Vietnam, the donor community and partner organisations deliberated at the Regional Stakeholders’ Consultations of the Mekong Region Water and Sanitation Initiative (MEK-WATSAN), to obtain broad consensus of participating Governments on the objectives and implementation modalities of the UN-HABITAT supported programme.
At the end of the meeting, the participants appended their signatures to the ‘Hanoi Declaration’, a statement jointly issued by the participating Governments.
This programme was initiated in 2005 in consultation with the respective governments and the Asian Development Bank. The Programme is a regional programme which was initiated at the request of the Governments of the Mekong region – Kingdom of Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR and S.R. Vietnam. The overall objective of MEK-WATSAN is to support the participating countries achieve their water and sanitation related Millennium Development Goals.
The Royal Government of Netherlands has contributed US$ 6.6 million for the roll out phase of the programme.
Among those who contributed during the talks were the Director General of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Construction of the S.R. Vietnam, Nguyen Sinh Hy who thanked UN-HABITAT for expanding the programme in the region.
Andre Dzikus from UN-HABITAT highlighted that the main purposes of the consultation were to develop a better understanding of existing regional initiatives and challenges, to discuss design and implementation mechanisms, and to demonstrate political resolve for implementation with the signing of the Hanoi Declaration.
Also present were Nguyen Phuoc-Thanh, representing the government of Netherlands; John Hendra, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Vietnam and Ayumi Konishi, Asian Development Bank Country Director for Vietnam. Hendra detailed the challenges faced by the secondary urban towns while Konishi commended the efforts taken by UN-HABITAT and other development partners in the region.
During the consultations the participating Governments chalked out action plan to expand the initiative which is currently entering a detailed roll out phase, where it will target investments in at least fifteen more towns spread over Kingdom of Cambodia, Lao PDR and SR Vietnam.