In order to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it will be essential not only to establish the necessary institutional conditions, but also to fund the policies and infrastructure that are necessary for the successful implementation of the objectives.
Global development policy debate is therefore placing an emphasis on the increasing significance of funding sources other than bilateral FC for financing a reliable infrastructure to achieve the Global Development Goals. The increasing domestic revenues of developing countries of the South and alternative funding sources are reducing the relative importance of bilateral financial cooperation to fund extensive infrastructure measures.
This background situation poses the question as to the extent to which the bilateral funding of major infrastructure programmes can continue to generate added value for the partner countries compared to these alternative funding sources. This appears to be the case only if corresponding programmes are able to provide the partners with decisive additional benefits beyond the simple, subsidised transfer of resources. To ensure this, it is (more than ever) necessary for DC-funded infrastructure programmes to provide a coherent overall package of funding and accompanying capacity development.
Precisely this combination of financial and technical cooperation is a particular feature of German DC, at least in comparison to bilateral donors.
In the context of a defined priority area, the BMZ agreed on a programme with the Vietnamese government in 2000 with the aim of installing central sewage treatment plants in the core area of six provincial capitals to begin with, and three others later on. The project was planned from 2002 onwards as a cooperation project between the KfW and what was then GTZ.
The construction of the sewage treatment plants and the associated networks and pumping stations was agreed as part of the financial cooperation. The technical cooperation pursued a multi-level approach, advising the Ministry of Construction with regard to regulatory issues at national level and, at provincial level, advising the local authorities on aspects such as selecting suitable operators for the plants and introducing sewage fees that cover costs in the long term. Finally, at micro level, the operators were trained to maintain and operate the sewage treatment plants.
The Vietnam programme is also a large and complex project compared to others on an international scale (with new technologies, strategies and legislative effects). At the same time, the large number of stakeholders involved makes the wastewater programme a highly complex measure from an organisational viewpoint too. On the German side, this includes not only the BMZ, KfW and GIZ, but also several German and foreign consulting companies. On the Vietnamese side, at least five ministries at national level, the Government Office of the Prime Minister and the respective departments of the nine provinces are involved.
The programme is currently in its 14th year of implementation. There have been some rather long delays, sometimes lasting several years, in the implementation of the planned measures.