UN Fund Chief on Visit

Jun 8, 2000

HA NOI - The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Mr Normand Lauzon, today completes a six-day visit to Viet Nam.

The United Nations Capital Development Fund has been active in Viet Nam since 1978. More recently, assistance from the Fund has concentrated on providing basic social and economic infrastructure to the poorest people in Viet Nam.

"This is being achieved by supporting the decentralisation of development planning, financing and service delivery through Local Development Funds," said Mr Lauzon. The principle driving the use of these Local Development Funds is that efforts to reduce poverty are most effective when people have a clear say in how their institutions and assets, such as schools, hospitals and roads, are designed and managed.

"In Viet Nam, this model was introduced through the on going $11.1 million programme Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDEF) in the central province of Quang Nam," said Mr Edouard A. Wattez, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam. In this project, the Fund is working closely with UNDP, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Provincial People's Committee to support the development of rural infrastructure in the province."

"Poverty reduction in the world is a major human challenge," said Mr Lauzon. "I am impressed by the efforts made by Viet Nam in addressing this problem. The RIDEF initiative, in operation since 1986, has been an important component within these efforts. It is helping some 125 poor communes in the central provinces of Da Nang and Quang Nam, to plan, to finance, build and maintain most needed social and economic infrastructure, such as basic health clinics, schools, communal access roads and markets."

"By strengthening local government capacity and by promoting participation of the population of these communes in the determination of their priority needs, RIDEF is contributing to the alleviation of poverty. The Government is now embarking on a major national programme in support of the poorest communes. The experience gained and the lessons learned in implementing RIDEF will, hopefully stand as a very concrete source of inspiration and constitute an important input into this programme," said Mr Lauzon.

"This project has been considered as a model, a pilot project which may provide guidelines for the National Programme in Support of the 1,715 Poorest Communes," said Mr Duong Duc Ung, of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, at an annual review meeting of the project last year.
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