New Project to Kick-Start Renovation of Viet Nam’s Legal Landscape

Sep 4, 2003

Ha Noi - The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) launched today an important new project to help Viet Nam finalize and implement the Legal System Development Strategy (LSDS) up to 2010. The Strategy is a comprehensive roadmap to renovate the country’s legal system to build the rule of law and support the transition to a market-oriented economy and rapid international integration.

This new initiative, which requires about US$ 5 million over the next 4 years, will help key legal agencies to implement the LSDS, expected to be approved very soon. It will enhance the national capacity for effective management, co-ordination and oversight of the entire implementation process of the LSDS.

The project “Assistance for the implementation of Viet Nam’s Legal System Development Strategy to 2010”, will be implemented by the MOJ and other key legal agencies with support from a number of donors. The project will support the establishment of a co-ordinated multi-donor support facility, which aims to mobilize resources for the implementation of the LSDS.

Through the project, the facility will initially support four key areas including strengthening of the legislative drafting process, improving access to justice, implementing the 2002 Ordinance on Handling Administrative Violations in the People’s Police Force and strengthening capacity of the key officials of the political system at the grass-root level for implementation of laws.

The initial contributors to this initiative, including the Facility, are UNDP providing US$1,850,000, Sweden US$ 1,760,000 and Denmark US$ 460,000. The Government will also provide US$ 100.000 in cash to the Facility. In addition, other donors are expected to join this partnership.

The MOJ welcomed this timely initiative, saying that the implementation of the LSDS is a top priority in the Government reform agenda. “Making a strategy is important, but implementing it is even more important. National capacity and commitment is crucial and support from the international donor community is needed. The comprehensiveness, complexity and long-term nature of the legal reform agenda demands a sustained capacity to guide, monitor, co-ordinate and evaluate the reform process which this project provides” said Mr. Uong Chu Luu, the Minister of Justice.

The Legal System Development Strategy, Viet Nam's first ever Legal Reform Strategy, is based on the Legal Needs Assessment (LNA), which was a model of working collaboration between the Government and donors. Directed by the Government of Viet Nam this initiative gained the active support of a wide range of donors, including UNDP, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, as well as Australia, Denmark, Canada, France, Japan, and Sweden.

The partnership developed through the LNA exercise will be further sustained through an International Legal Co-operation Forum, which has been proposed by the MOJ. This will provide the government and donors with a forum to share information about the progress of the legal reforms and allow them to effectively coordinate national and international resources for the Strategy’s implementation.

“UNDP and many donors have been pleased to support Viet Nam in the process of legal reform. But the rule of law, vital to support renovation and the improved well-being of people, will require concerted, committed action,” said Mr. Jordan Ryan, UNDP Resident Representative.

Mr. Ryan noted that legal reform is key to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Viet Nam’s ambitious development targets. Some of the national targets include doubling Viet Nam’s GDP in the coming decade, developing a healthy and competitive private sector, and building a clean, transparent and corruption-free public service that is truly responsive to the needs of the Vietnamese people. Ryan added, a sound legal system supporting good governance, is essential if Viet Nam is to sustain its success in poverty reduction and development.

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