UN backing aids democratic progress in Vietnam

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam would continue to strengthen its public governance and develop mechanisms to better engage the public and other stakeholders in improving policy making, anti-corruption and citizens’ access to justice, especially those from vulnerable groups.

This statement was made yesterday by Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien at a meeting convened by the United Nations in Viet Nam and the Vietnamese Government.

The United Nations in Viet Nam launched the Delivering as One in 2006 with six mutually reinforcing pillars – one plan, one budget, one leader, one set of management practices, one voice and one UN house – to avoid duplication and improve coherence and co-ordination to help UN agencies work more effectively together.

As part of the initiative, the Vietnamese Government and 17 UN agencies signed the One Plan 2012-16 in March last year which aimed to promote inclusive, equitable and green growth, people’s access to quality social services, and stronger governance and participation.

At yesterday’s meeting between the government and UN agencies, Lien applauded the support of UN agencies, noting that the mechanism had helped the country and the agencies to maximise resources and jointly address pressing issues in Viet Nam.

For example, in-depth research on key amendments to the Constitution include local governance, human rights provisions, the change from four months to six months maternity leave in the Labour Code and a new ban on advertising breast milk substitutes for children aged below 24 months in the Law on Advertising.

UN agencies also helped speed up the introduction and adoption of laws including the Law on the Handling of Administrative Violations, the Law on the Prevention and Combating of Human Trafficking, and the Law on Persons with Disabilities.

The UN annual report, titled “Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index”, captured public opinion about the country’s administrative performance through their own experiences.

Director of Criminal and Administrative Laws under the Justice Ministry Nguyen Kim Thoa said that Viet Nam wanted to put human rights at the heart of any policy making process to develop the legal system.

She noted that there was gap between laws and regulations and law enforcement in the country, and that UN support helped translate and implement laws more effectively.

Thoa said that limited funding and experience were major challenges for the country to overcome.

As a Co-chair of the Focus Area Coordination Group 3 of the One Plan 2012-2016 on Governance and Participation, the country manager of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Zhuldyz Akisheva, said the UN had a unique role to play in helping the Government to leverage resources, using its convening power and normative role to ensure resources were utilised effectively in the interests of the ultimate beneficiaries – the Vietnamese public.

Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, a governance adviser from the UK Department for International Development, said that as Viet Nam became a middle income country, donor assistance may fall or be redirected from capacity building to policy making and technical aid.

However, she said so far, State agencies were still hesitant to seek advice from civil societies and organisations.

She said the UN agencies should create forum in which civil societies could join.

SOURCE www.vietnamnews.vn