Criminal Lawyers Exchange Knowledge and Skills to Protect Human Rights in Viet Nam

09 Nov 2016 by Sean O’Connell, UNDP Vietnam

“If you want to travel fast use the old roads”, this Vietnamese proverb truly describes how criminal lawyers, old and young, from across the South of Viet Nam share knowledge to adapt to changes in the law concerning criminal legal representation. … Read more

Implementing REDD+ in Ca Mau Province, Viet Nam

03 Aug 2016 by UN-REDD Programme's Asia-Pacific team

Ca Mau is the southernmost province of Viet Nam, surrounded on three sides by sea. One of the main forest owners in the province is Nhung Mien Forest Management Board (FMB). Under Vietnamese law, FMBs are bodies established by the government to administer areas of land, which are legally defined to be “forest land”, irrespective of whether there are trees growing on the land.  In the case of Nhung Mien FMB, its role is to protect and manage about 12,600 ha of forest land in 14 villages of Vien An Dong commune. Approximately 40% of this area is actually forested (around 5,400 ha), consisting of mangroves planted for protection (43%) and production (57%) purposes.   During July – September 2015, with technical and financial support from the Viet Nam UN-REDD Phase II Programme, the FMB developed a Site REDD+ Implementation Plan (SiRAP) in consultation with local stakeholders. The Plan aimed to address the widespread issues of mangrove conversion and degradation, with illegal conversion to shrimp farms identified as one of the critical drivers of deforestation. The UN-REDD Provincial Programme Management Unit (PPMU) of Ca Mau signed a REDD+ Implementation Agreement (RIA) with the FMB in November 2015 to encourage the FMB … Read more

Improving Access to Legal Services for Prisoners Returning to Our Communities

08 Jul 2016 by Scott Ciment, UNDP Policy Advisor for Rule of Law

At a workshop hosted by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in Ha Noi in Summer 2016, local lawyers, professors, legal experts, and law students gathered together for an open discussion on how to improve access to legal services for prisoners reintegrating into society. Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) University of Law teamed up with UNDP to create the “Mobile Clinical Legal Services for Prisoners Preparing for Release,” aimed at supplying basic legal information to inmates at five prisons across the south of Viet Nam. This program provides inmates and recently released prisoners with a strong community of support, willing to help with the variety of problems they face. “Difficulties with identity cards, clearing criminal records, and family issues are common problems,” said Mr. Duong Hoan, Vice Director of the Legal Consultancy Center. He called for continued support of this program, saying in earnest, “Our prisoners are still people, and we need to help our people.” The distinguishing mark of the program is its personal touch and enhancement of socialization for the prisoners. Fifty law students from the HCMC University of Law held one-on-one counselling sessions with over 600 inmates to assess each person’s distinct, legal needs which built upon the … Read more

Making every voice count

12 Apr 2016 by Pratibha Mehta

Photo: ©Shutterstock/UNDP Viet Nam
A few weeks ago I was fascinated to learn that local authorities in Da Nang have harnessed the power of social media to make their coastal city cleaner, greener, and more beautiful. People can go online to report a broken lamppost, flooded street or an illegal landfill. By helping to prioritize and direct the authority’s response, it has quickly become a success story for other cities and provinces to learn from. Ten years ago, responsive governance like this would have been almost unthinkable in Viet Nam. However, as incomes and aspirations have continued to rise, the relationship between government and their people has been transformed. As other countries have found, the more prosperous and educated citizens are, the more they expect governments to be accountable and responsive.   That is why we embarked on a journey to help improve communication between local government and its people. In 2009 UNDP Viet Nam and its national partners introduced a pioneering set of metrics to capture people’s experience in the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI). According to the national press, PAPI came as a breath of fresh air to push local administration to reform. By engaging provinces with their results, not only … Read more

In Viet Nam, exposing the inequities of 'normal' gender roles

21 Mar 2016 by Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Deputy Country Director in Viet Nam

The campaign argues that what people in Viet Nam consider ‘normal’ gender roles are actually abnormal. UNDP Viet Nam Photo
Women zip through the streets, carrying kids and groceries on their motorbikes. It’s a common rush-hour scene on the streets of Viet Nam, where after-work routines for many women involve picking up kids, shopping for groceries, cooking, cleaning, and helping kids with homework. Existing stereotypes in Viet Nam confine women and men to certain roles, positions and careers. According to a UNDP report on women’s leadership in Viet Nam, few women achieve senior government positions. In the civil service, women hold very few senior posts: only nine percent among ministers, eight percent of vice ministers, and seven percent at director-general level. The current situation is far from where Viet Nam has stated it wants to be. The National Strategy on Gender Equality sets a target of a minimum 35 percent women’s representation in elected office, but currently the National Assembly is only 24 percent female.   There are gaps in policies and their implementation, and advancement is also restricted due to traditional views on gender norms. These views, held by men and women, are shaped in large part by societal stereotypes. UNDP and UNFPA in Viet Nam recently launched a campaign to place a spotlight on these discriminatory stereotypes and behaviors. … Read more