||Following the successful implementation of the Rural Infrastructure Sector Project (RISP), the Government of Viet Nam (the Government) had received this technical assistance (TA) to prepare an investment project for sustainable rural infrastructure development in the 15 provinces of the northern mountain region. The planned investment project will aim to reduce poverty among severely disadvantaged ethnic minority communities in the target area through providing basic rural infrastructure, for improved access to markets, services, social amenities, and health and education. It is also expected to contribute to increased productivity of agriculture, increased incomes, diversification of employment opportunities through increased private investments in isolated areas, as well as improved school attendance of children, and reduced workloads of women and girls.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The Government is keen to address the problems posed by the persistence of poverty and hunger among ethnic minority populations in the northern mountain region. In its Five-Year Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2006-2010, the Government enunciated its goals of rapid socioeconomic development for the northern mountain region, with respect to hunger eradication and poverty reduction, and reduced economic disparities across regions and among ethnic groups. For the northern mountain region in particular, the SEDP targets a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of $460-$530 by 2010, as compared to $250-$300 in 2008. The SEDP identifies a clear role for rural transport, water supply and other rural infrastructure in support of various sector objectives, by using the government budgets to focus on critical areas (e.g., irrigation, transport, and clean water supply) as means to agriculture and rural development and fundamental to transformation of production structures.
The ADB assisted RISP, which supported rural infrastructure improvements in 23 provinces in the country (including several mountain provinces), demonstrates that improved
access to rural infrastructure is an effective means of improving livelihoods and living conditions, and reducing rural poverty. The lessons from the RISP, to those of the World Bank assisted project, highlight the importance of the following: (i) an integrated investment approach to address the development needs of poor communities more effectively; (ii) active beneficiary participation in all aspects of subproject design and implementation; (iii) appropriate technical, institutional, and financial arrangements for each type of infrastructure; (iv) coordination among concerned provincial institutions; (v) compliance with safeguard policies; (vi) an adequate O&M budget; and (vii) the importance of ensuring the availability of productive resources and support services to enable target groups to increase their productivity and utilize rural infrastructure to its full potential. Further, the evaluation of earlier national targeted programs demonstrates the importance of community participation in planning, supervision, and monitoring of rural infrastructure; improving transparency and governance; poverty targeting; and better process monitoring and impact evaluation.
As envisaged in the country strategy and program, SEDP, and associated provincial master plans, there is a need to increase agricultural production and enhance the marketability of local produce to reduce poverty in the region. Investments for upgrading rural infrastructure are critical to facilitating equitable socioeconomic development and enhancing the well-being of poor ethnic minorities. In view of these priorities in the northern mountain provinces, the Government has requested ADB to provide technical assistance (TA) to develop an investment project for sustainable rural infrastructure development. The PPTA is included in the Country Program and Strategy ADB's country strategy and program for Viet Nam (2007-2010)which recognizes the increasing complexity of poverty in the northern mountain provinces, as well as the need for promoting national investments to support sub-regional development.