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In 2009, 31 provinces will benefit from the ongoing joint donors (Danida, AusAID and the Netherlands) support to the Vietnamese National Target Programme II for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (NTP II). This decision was endorsed by the Government of Vietnam and the three donors in the 2008 annual review meeting for the NTP II on 12th September 2008. The decision was based on the recommendation of the Joint Government Donors’ 2008 Annual Review following their positive assessment of the pilot phase of the NTP II. According to the Review Mission, the progress achieved by the programme especially in terms of the agreed triggers and benchmarks, provided evidence that expansion beyond the pilot provinces could be undertaken with a degree of confidence.

During the meeting, the government and donors agreed that the implementation of the NTP II in 2007 and the first six months of 2008 had achieved encouraging results including improved capacity of the implementing agencies, better coordination among the relevant stakeholders and most importantly an improved and clearer legal framework.
However, there had been delays on some key actions which require strong commitment and swift actions from the government agencies including the promotion of the household sanitation and personal hygiene, more attention on the Operation and Maintenance of water and sanitation schemes, better coordination among provincial departments implementing the programme, etc.

It was also agreed that the 2009 work plan of the NTP II implementing agencies would seriously take into account these problems and weakness. This work plan would specify not only important tasks to be fulfilled but also the time-schedule, the resources needed and the agency/person in charge.

Government representatives at the meeting realized that extending donors’ support to 31 provinces in 2009 would be a huge challenge to all implementing agencies, both at the central and local levels. In the simplest sense, this decision would involve i) a commitment from the provinces to follow the NTP II triggers and benchmarks and ii) an ambitious plan to build the capacity for the provinces and help them improve their performance in delivering water and sanitation to the rural areas.
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