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German Institute for Development Evaluation

Wastewater and solid waste management for provincial centres in Vietnam

To achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adequate funding for the policies and infrastructure required to successfully implement the goals will be particularly crucial, as will the establishment of a conducive institutional framework.

Global development policy debate therefore focuses on the increasing importance of sources of funding other than bilateral financial cooperation to fund reliable infrastructure and attain the SDGs. Developing countries of the South are generating increasing revenue of their own. In relative terms, this – paired with alternative sources of funding – is reducing the role of bilateral financial cooperation in funding large-scale infrastructure measures.

Against this backdrop, the question arises as to the extent to which bilateral funding for large‑scale infrastructure programmes can continue to generate added value for partner countries compared with these alternative sources of funding. It would appear that this kind of added value can only be provided if programmes can generate significant additional benefits for partners above and beyond the mere transfer of resources at preferential rates. To ensure that this is the case, DC-funded infrastructure programmes must (now more than ever) provide a coherent overall package of funding and complementary capacity development measures.

This combination of financial and technical cooperation is a defining feature of German development cooperation, at least when compared with bilateral donors.

In 2000, as part of the process to set priority areas, BMZ agreed a programme with the Vietnamese Government to equip provincial capitals (initially six capitals, to be subsequently increased to nine) with central wastewater treatment plants in main urban areas. From 2002 onwards, the programme was planned as a cooperation programme between the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (one of the predecessor organisations of GIZ) and the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The construction of the wastewater treatment plants and the required networks and pumping stations was agreed within the framework of financial cooperation. Technical cooperation pursued a multi-level approach, as part of which the Ministry of Construction was advised on regulatory issues at national level. At provincial level, the authorities were advised on selecting appropriate providers to operate the plants and on introducing wastewater treatment charges that would cover costs in the long term. Finally, at micro level, the operators were trained to maintain and operate the treatment plants.

Even by international standards, the programme in Vietnam is a large and complex one, incorporating innovative technologies and strategies that have an impact at statutory level. It is also a very complex measure from an organisational perspective due to the number of actors involved. On the German side, the stakeholders are KfW and GIZ as well as several German and foreign consulting companies. On the Vietnamese side, at least five ministries are involved at national level, along with the Government Office and the corresponding departments in the nine provinces.

The programme is currently in its fourteenth year of implementation. There have been protracted delays in implementation, some of which lasted several years.

Objectives and purpose of the evaluation

One objective of the evaluation is to clarify which factors influenced (and delayed) implementation ‘according to plan’ of the joint FC/TC programme. It will also identify the framework conditions that need to be put in place to support implementation of a complex infrastructure project involving multiple stakeholders. Finally, the evaluation sets out to identify how BMZ can steer such a complex programme at political level and what mechanisms and processes can be used in this context (particularly with regards to communication). The evaluation of this specific case in Vietnam is therefore exploratory in nature in that it focuses primarily on steering-related issues and not on results.

As at: November 2017