The objective of this CDTA is to help prepare, support and advise the Central and Local Government Agencies for the implementation of large scale programmes and projects that are to bring environmental improvements to urban areas, by planning and implementing appropriate interventions in the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater. The CDTA will assist Central Government and Provincial and City People's Committees in providing a better understanding of the range of options available in wastewater collection treatment and disposal, and their financial, institutional, social and environmental implications. The CDTA should result in better informed project preparation, and more focused and effective implementation of environmental infrastructure projects.
With less than 10% of the country being sewered and Viet Nam being one of the top five countries subject to severe impact due to climate change, the development of the sanitation sector is not keeping pace with the national and local economic development , and with the improvement made in urban water supply services. As indicated in the ADB's financed water sector review technical assistance completed in March 2009, considerable effort and investment are still required to achieve these targets and protect essential water resources
In developing programmes and projects for sanitation improvements, many strategic technical and financial options are available. Constructing conventional sewerage systems in existing built-up urban areas is extremely complex, disruptive and costly. Pragmatic alternatives therefore need to be considered. Options need to include considerations on a mix of conventional sewerage and low cost sanitation, centralized or de-centralized systems, separate or combined wastewater and stormwater systems, combining or separating municipal and industrial wastewater. Other programme components may involve dedicated programs for schools, re-use of water and organics, strengthening community awareness. Choices will depend on the socio-geographical environment, population density, levels of water usage, affordability, institutional arrangements and access to skills, etc.
Many cities located in the coastal zone of Viet Nam are likely to experience early impacts of climate change, in particular due to sea level rising. As a result, schemes for the drainage of urban stormwater and wastewater, and for flood protection, have to be designed based on a revised assessment of risks. Climate change therefore needs to be at the core of the urban environment planning process.
The CDTA will be delivered by working directly with relevant levels of government (at central, provincial and city level) in the development, planning and implementation of pragmatic and affordable urban environmental improvements. Lessons will be learned from the impact of recent wastewater management programmes in urban areas in Viet Nam.
Government's strategies on urban sanitation improvement are formulated in Decree 88/2007 which requires sanitation to be charged through the water tariff at a minimum of 10% to achieve cost recovery and large subsidies for capital investment. Government policy has set clear targets and new directives on sanitation: Under the umbrella of Decree 88/2007, the recently approved (November 2009) Orientation Plan for Urban Sanitation to 2025 sets ambitious targets of 70% sewerage collection in large cities by 2025 as well as on industrial wastewater management.
The Vietnamese Development Goals target relevant to Sanitation "ensuring that all wastewater in towns and cities is treated by 2010" will not be reached. Some statistics will count "access to sanitation" as having achieved a target of safe disposal. In reality the still wide-spread use of not-maintained septic tanks in urban areas and latrines in rural areas does not represent a safe or final form of treatment in areas with high population densities. Future programs will therefore need to target human waste disposal in such areas. The scale of such future programs will have to be considerable, to have any significant impact. Efforts by Government and development partners alike therefore aim to increase the spending on urban wastewater management programmes in the coming decade.
Against this background, ADB's Country Support Program 2007-2010 aimed to ensure the delivery of sustainable investment reform and capacity building in urban water services to support sustainable local economic development in cities. Investment lending is therefore dedicated to cities and peri-urban areas, to (i) support the rehabilitation, upgrading, and expansion of water supply and sanitation in the urban centres to improve the investment environment and private sector participation; (ii) ensure equitable access to safe water supply and sanitation facilities and improve the health profile of the urban residents, including women and ethnic minorities; and (iii) encourage policy changes and institutional reforms at central and provincial levels to enable sustainable development by making Urban Environmental Companies (URENCOs) and water supply companies financially viable through enforcement of local regulation on full cost recovery and definition of performance indicators through benchmarking. The Draft Socioeconomic Development Plan 2011 -2015, in which ADB's next Country Strategy Framework will be based, makes environmental protection a cornerstone of the economic growth.
Government's Decree 131 has delegated the responsibility for the design and implementation of development projects to the City Peoples Committees (CPC) and Provincial People's Committees (PPCs). The responsibility of the implementation of urban environmental infrastructure programmes lies with CPC, PPCs, District People's Committees (DPCs), water supply companies and URENCOs.