Urban Services and Water Supply and Sanitation Sector in Viet Nam

Date: August 2009
Type: Evaluation Reports
Evaluation; Urban development; Water
Series: Sector Assistance Program Evaluation


Once one of Asia’s poorest countries, Viet Nam has transformed itself from a predominantly agricultural economy into an increasingly industrial one, sustaining growth in the 10 years to 2008 at more than 7%. The country has also seen a sharp fall in poverty, from 58.1% in 1993 to 24.1% in 2004.

But success has brought challenges. In  2008, about 30% of Viet Nam’s 83.2 million people lived in rapidly growing cities, where high population densities have brought environmental deterioration and surging demand for infrastructure services.

This sector assistance program evaluation assesses ADBʹs assistance to Viet Nam’s urban services and water supply and sanitation sectors, and identifies key areas for further improving the effectiveness of its operations. ADB has provided the sectors with both lending and nonlending assistance since 1993, including seven loans totaling $427 million and five technical assistance projects amounting to $3 million. Overall, ADBʹs Independent Evaluation Department assessed assistance to the sector assuccessful on the low side.

Among the main findings, the study found that ADB’s sector strategy was aligned with government strategy, with assistance playing a significant role in improving the water supply networks in the provincial capitals and in widening their coverage. There was also a later shift in water supply and sanitation interventions from the major cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi to provincial capital cities.

For future projects, the study recommends measures to shorten the project design process by strengthening feasibility studies; it also recommends developing sector indicators for the institutional reform and financial performance of water supply and urban environment companies.