UNDP publishes annual Overview of Official Development Assistance: ODA implementation on the rise

14 Dec 2000

Ha Noi - According to the Overview of Official Development Assistance in Viet Nam, released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today, annual ODA disbursements increased to over US$1.3 billion in 1999, and increased further to an estimated US$1.6 billion in 2000.

Disbursements in 1999 rose by twelve per cent compared to the previous year. Most notable was the rapid increase in the implementation of capital investment programmes œ particularly in the energy and transport sectors œ by more than twenty per cent, to US$940 million. Free-standing technical assistance, mostly on a grant basis, constituted the second largest type of ODA, with disbursements of US$280 million in 1999.

According to UNDPÿs annual survey of donors, total disbursements over the period 1993-1999, amounted to nearly US$6 billion, increasing to almost US$7.6 billion if the estimate for 2000 is included. Of the existing commitments over the period 1993-1999, a sum of US$6-6.5 billion remains to be implemented. The news comes as the Government and its international partners prepare for the Consultative Group (CG) meeting in Ha Noi this week.

"It is good news that existing commitments, to an increasing extent, translate into actual disbursements for concrete programmes and projects in the country," said Mr Edouard Wattez, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme. "But we also need to collectively ensure that ODA is targeted to improve the overall well-being of the Vietnamese people in a sustainable manner, especially the poorest. It is not always simple to spend money effectively, in a fast manner."

A recurrent theme in the report is that aid is more than just money. In order to be effective and sustainable, aid should be a combination of ideas and money. The report argues that the situation should be avoided where money starts to dominate the generation and absorption of new ideas, which is essential for keeping up the pace of reforms.

The Overview reports that the structure of ODA in financial terms is changing. The share of loans in ODA was at its lowest level in 1993, amounting to only ten per cent, but climbed to 54 per cent in 1996-1997, and amounted to 69 per cent in 1999.

The Overview also finds that the general increase in ODA benefited all regions, albeit not to the same extent. Particularly during the last three years, ODA figures per capita reveal somewhat growing regional disparities. While the northern upland regions greatly improved their share of ODA disbursements, ODA per capita remained low in the Mekong Delta and the northern Central Highlands. Nearly two-thirds of the poor live in these three regions.

According to UNDPÿs annual survey of donors, total disbursements over the period 1993-1999, amounted to nearly US$6 billion, increasing to almost US$7.6 billion if the estimate for 2000 is included. Of the existing commitments over the period 1993-1999, a sum of US$6-6.5 billion remains to be implemented. The news comes as the Government and its international partners prepare for the Consultative Group (CG) meeting in Ha Noi this week.

"It is good news that existing commitments, to an increasing extent, translate into actual disbursements for concrete programmes and projects in the country," said Mr Edouard Wattez, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme. "But we also need to collectively ensure that ODA is targeted to improve the overall well-being of the Vietnamese people in a sustainable manner, especially the poorest. It is not always simple to spend money effectively, in a fast manner."

A recurrent theme in the report is that aid is more than just money. In order to be effective and sustainable, aid should be a combination of ideas and money. The report argues that the situation should be avoided where money starts to dominate the generation and absorption of new ideas, which is essential for keeping up the pace of reforms.

The Overview reports that the structure of ODA in financial terms is changing. The share of loans in ODA was at its lowest level in 1993, amounting to only ten per cent, but climbed to 54 per cent in 1996-1997, and amounted to 69 per cent in 1999.

The Overview also finds that the general increase in ODA benefited all regions, albeit not to the same extent. Particularly during the last three years, ODA figures per capita reveal somewhat growing regional disparities. While the northern upland regions greatly improved their share of ODA disbursements, ODA per capita remained low in the Mekong Delta and the northern Central Highlands. Nearly two-thirds of the poor live in these three regions.

According to the UNDP report, Japan has strengthened its position as the largest donor, disbursing US$531 million in 1999. The Asian Development Bank disbursed the second largest amount of ODA funds (US$199 million), followed by the World Bank (US$158 million), France (US$71 million) and the agencies of the United Nations (US$52 million). Total assistance provided by international NGOs is estimated at US$82 million.

Contact Information

UNDP Public Information Unit at (04) 942 1495