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The U.S. Role in Vietnam’s Governance - The Asian country’s lofty goals are more likely with open budgets and good governance



[By Vivel Ramkumar | Contributor]

When President Obama arrives in Vietnam this weekend, he will surely praise its leaders for their impressive achievement of sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. He will also talk about the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, thanking Vietnam for being part of the trade pact. But he should also highlight how modernizing governance can play an essential role in fulfilling Vietnam's aspiration of future prosperity.


Workshop Report on “The implementation of budget transparency, accountability and people’s participation in managing the state budget” survey in Quang Tri province.

hhhhOn December 12th of 2015, in the framework of the project “Enhancing transparency and people’s participation in managing the state budget”, the workshop Report on “The implementation of budget transparency, accountability and people’s participation in managing the state budget” survey was held in the Women Union office in Quang Tri with the support of Centre for Development and Integration (CDI). Representatives of Project Management Committee under the People's Council and Provincial Women Union, delegates from 2 departments of Hai Lang and Gio Linh districts with 6 towns and villages and project consultants attended the workshop.

In the workshop, delegates all discussed the survey results and also contributed several ideas. The report summarized both well-done and limited sides of implementing budget transparency management in the province based on the provisions of Vietnamese law and good international practices.

The survey was implemented in June of 2015 in 6 villages in the project’s area of Hai Lang and Gio Linh districts . The result was the important documentary input to design further activities for the Project. Moreover, this was the main base to track and assess the effectiveness of all activities throughout the Project.


Participation of youth in the event “Budget transparency in youth’s view”

anh1On 12 Dec 2015, at the Youth Cultural House,1B Tang Bat Ho, the event “Budget Transparency in youth’s view”, a part of CSO pride 2015 was held by CDI, CECEM, ISEE and A4F. A chain of exciting activities was organizedto create a useful platform for young people to understand further about National Budget Law as well as to suggest ideas for effective actions in enforcingbudget transparency.

The opening activity was a knowledge game which attracted more than 60 young people to get involved. Besides, in the contest “Youth ideas for Budget Transparency”, young people had a chance to present their own ideas in front of the judge council who have rich experience in governance enforcement and national budget management. They are PhD. Bui Thi An – Congressman, Director of the Institute of Natural Resources, Environment and Community Development, Prof. Dang Hung Vo – Former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mrs. Nguyen Thu Huong – Senior Program Coordinator of Oxfam and Mr. Hoang Tu Giang – Journalist from Saigon Times newspaper. The special prize was awarded to two young girls from Foreign Trade University with the idea of establishing an alternative organization for enforcing budget transparency process in national budget management.

Moreover, other young people coming to this event had a good chance to participate the workshop with judges in sharing methods of assessing information and enforcing budget transparency. From this workshop, they may have further understanding in budget transparency to build up ideas and contribute to the development of the country.


Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation (BTAP) Alliance reviewed the first 6 months and set strategy for the next stage

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From 19/10/2015 to 21/10/2015, , the workshop “Review of the first 6 months and strategy building” of BTAP took place in Mai Chau, Hoa Binh with the participation of representatives from the Alliance’s members including CDI, ACDC, Oxfam and CEPEW; delegates from the People’s Committee and Farmers’ Association of Hoa Binh province and the People’s Committee of Quang Tri province. On the first day of the workshop, delegates from Hoa Binh and Quang Tri shared the results of implementing “enhancing transparency and the participation of the citizensin managing the state budget” project in the first 6 months. One of the most remarkable points of this workshop is applying evaluation form to select the mid-term public investment project in Quang Tri. Quang Tri Council of People shared “guideline of selecting mid-term public investment project in Quang Tri in the period of 2016 - 2020”. This document shows the details of criteria, selection process, mid-term public investment project evaluation and notes about applying to the reality. According to the plan, in the comingtime, Hoa Binh will take action in: (1) Consulting on allocation criteria and transparency in the implementation of vocational training programs and (2) Getting the public opinions about the budget allocation criteria of developing social investment to the villages.


Moreover, Hoa Binh and Quang Tri delegates gave straightforward sharings about the problems when implementing the plan such as information exchange and unification among members, the materials were not provided on time and the plan was changed frequently, which led to the passivity of time arrangement. The alliance members listened carefully and took a lesson in the upcoming time.


On the next two days, workshop concentrated on building an action strategy; Operation regulations and principles, operational coordination mechanism as well as the Action Plan of the Alliance for the period 2015-2016. At the end of the workshop, all the members of the alliance committed to build a strong alliance and make it a reliable channel of budget information for the citizensand community.


Representatives of the Embassy of Ireland visiting Thuan An Cooperative

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To assess the results of the project "Strengthening social accountability and good governance for better targeted and sustainable poverty reduction in Dak Mil district, Dak Nong province", on 15 September 2015, the representatives of Irish Embassy, leaded by Ms. Nuala O'Brien, visited the project area in Thuan An commune, Dak Mil district.

The working group visited coffee plantations of the beneficiaries of the project, the wet coffee processing plants and some households and held a discussion with members of  Thuan An Cooperative. Delegation was glad to see firsthand the fruits of that project and people have come together to strive to achieve. The majority of households after participating in a fair agricultural cooperatives Thuan An has been a positive change in the lives, livelihoods are improved by coffee price under Fair Trade standards are higher than the market price while community project area has also benefited more from the welfare fund from the sale of coffee. Cooperatives have befriended welfare fund supports road in CHC, supported housing for disadvantaged families in the commune.

In the group discussion, the delegates listened to thoughts and aspirations of the members. There are still a lot of difficulties on the uncertainty of coffee price, the products sold under the fair trade channel have not been much, however, most people are excited about the benefits of joining the Cooperative and being supported by the projects, and also want to continue receiving the support of the Project for sustainable coffee production and promoting sales coffee products. Irish Aid has approved the new project for the period 2015 - 2016, “Improvement of livelihoods of the poor and ethnic minorities in the Central Highland of Vietnam through engaging into sustainable coffee production and pro-poor market access” to continue supporting Thuan An Cooperative as well as some other coffee producer cooperatives in the Central Highlands provinces.

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