Government and UNDP host high-level conference to establish an Agenda for Action on Viet Nam's Development Strategy

Jun 8, 2001

Ha Noi - A third High-Level Round Table Consultation,entitled Agenda for Action was hosted here Friday (8 June 2001) by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The meeting focused on key decisions made during the recent Ninth Party Congress and considered implications for the implementation of Viet Nam's new Ten Year Socio-Economic Development Strategy for 2001-2010 and the Five Year Action Plan 2001-2005.

As its title indicates, Agenda for Action focused on the more challenging issues and actions related to implementation, particularly in the areas of international economic integration, non-state business sector development, rural development for job creation and technology for development. A final session considered the role of the state in implementing the strategy, with strong emphasis on necessary public administration reforms and institution building. 

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung stressed that this Round Table Consultation should focus on translating the Strategy into life. "It is very encouraging to see that the Party and the Government put people at the centre of the countryÿs vision for the coming decade in the Strategy, which sets out to continue to modernize Viet Nam and improve the well-being of all its people", said Mr Edouard Wattez, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam.

In a rapidly changing world, implementing the strategy is all about managing change. Former Minister for Planning and Investment, Dr Do Quoc Sam, called for an observation post to monitor progress in implementing policy measures and the progress made towards the Strategy's goals. This would enable the Government to pro-actively adjust the plans and to speed up its decision-making processes.

The Strategy and the Plan advocate many new policies to establish a multi-sector economy. Taking bold measures in these areas could generate a demonstration of the Government's good intentions, that would then build momentum, said some international experts. This would also signal to the private sector and foreign investors what the Government regards as their most important priorities.

"Enterprises have been recognized as a driving force in the implementation of the Strategy", said Mrs Pham Chi Lan, Vice-Chief of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "However, enterprises can make an even higher contribution to the country if the State creates a favourable environment, including reform of the legal system and reduced operating costs for business".

Mr Qi Jianguo, Ambassador of China echoed Mrs Chi Lan by saying that Viet Nam's telecommunication cost is among the highest in the world and remains one of the obstacles to the country's international integration. "China's experience of bringing in competition in this sector has paid off", he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Dung reiterated the Government's commitment to ensure the interest of "all economic sectors, including the private sector". "The Government has no limit on the private sector," he said. "The role of the State in every country in the world is to provide a conducive environment by maintaining macro balances and creating appropriate market institutions, including financial and real-estate markets."

According to international experts, Viet Nam has done a good job in introducing the new Enterprise Law. However, it was emphasized that international experiences show that integration and high growth can generate significant social costs in terms of social displacement and widening inequalities. It is crucial, therefore, to raise public awareness by showing the benefits of reforms, to let the winners talk and to ensure that the losers are compensated.

The Round Table consultation was co-chaired by First Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, His Excellency Mr Nguyen Tan Dung; Former Deputy Prime Minister,Mr Nguyen Khanh; Minister for Planning and Investment, Mr Tran Xuan Gia; Australian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Michael Mann; UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Edouard Wattez; World Bank Country Director, Mr Andrew Steer; and Asian Development Bank Resident Representative, Mr John Samy. This third Round Table built upon the first two such Round Table consultations, held in June and November 2000. This meeting was part of the process of ongoing consultations between the Government and senior officials from the international community. "The Round Table Consultations have been important for the Ten Year Strategy, but they should not stop here. The spirit of the partnership should continue in the future", said Minister Gia. This high-level dialogue will continue in Hoi An on 18 and 19 June, at the occasion of the forthcoming mid-term Consultative Group Review to be chaired by Minister Gia and Mr. A. Steer, World Bank.

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