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Viet Nam: Partnership for water supply and sanitation

Hanoi, 23 May 2006 – UNICEF and 13 other international organizations have joined the Government of Viet Nam in signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of Viet Nam Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Partnership, an unique partnership which aims at better coordination and more effective support for the improvement of water supply, sanitation and hygiene situation for rural communities and schools in Viet Nam.

The Minister of Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Cao Duc Phat, was assigned to sign this MoU on behalf  the Government of Viet Nam. Joining Mr. Phat were the ambassadors of Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Netherlands, Heads of the International organizations in Viet Nam as Plan International, CARE International, Church World Services, SNV, International Development Enterprises, Water and Sanitation Programme – East Asia and the Pacific, Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association, World Bank, Asian Development Bank,  and UNICEF.

Signatories to the Partnership share a commitment towards sustainable development of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) in Viet Nam, one of the national priorities. By collaborating, fostering harmonisation of policies and programmes and by promoting sector-wide approaches with reference to the principles laid out in the June 3, 2005 Hanoi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness, Ownership, Harmonisation, Alignment and Results, the Government of Viet Nam and its international partners agreed to work together to ensure that Viet Nam remains on target for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Viet Nam has continued to make steady progress in providing families access to safe water and sanitation. However, much remains to be done to meet national and international goals. Safe water and hygienic sanitation coverage is still low, especially in rural areas. It is estimated that nearly 17 million children (52 percent) have no safe water and twenty million children (59 percent) do not have access to proper sanitation. The figures are much higher in ethnic minority and remote areas. For example, 87.2% of ethnic minority people do not have access to safe water. Ten per cent of children in urban areas have no access to sanitation compared to around forty per cent of children in rural areas.

Launched in May 2006, the goal of the Partnership is to contribute to the reduction of rural poverty and protection of the environment through the more effective implementation of the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Strategy, the Social and Economic Development Plan and the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy. The partnership will, therefore, focus on strengthening the sector's policy, institutional and legal framework; enhanced sector coordination; demand-driven sector planning; equitable access to rural water supply and sanitation services; capacity building; and increased involvement of private sector agents, and as such, it will play an very important role in ensuring progress toward achieving national and MDG targets.

Speaking at the Signing Ceremony, Ms. Maniza Zaman, Officer-in-charge of UNICEF Viet Nam said “The Vietnam National Target Program on Rural Water Supply and Sanitation phase two has clearly set out the goals of increasing rural water supply to 85%, hygienic latrines to 70% and ensuring the use of safe water and hygienic latrines of all rural primary schools, kindergartens by 2010. The goals are ambitious but achievable but hinge on a critical element – partnerships. We are here today committed towards strengthened and harmonized efforts towards common goals – playing our part as duty bearers in ensuring the rights of all Vietnamese to clean water and adequate sanitation. The Rural Water and Sanitation Partnership lays a solid foundation for our work together in the future”.

For further information please contact:

Caroline den Dulk (Ms), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: + 844 942 5706, Mobile: 84 91 4756592 cdendulk@unicef.org.

Chander Badloe (Mr.), Water, Environment and Sanitation Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: + 844 942 5706, Mobile: 84 91 3247891 cbadloe@unicef.org.




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