UNDP and Vietnamese academy of social sciences launch new initiative to review reform

Mar 25, 2005

HA NOI – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) signed today the “Assistance to the 20 Year Review of Doi Moi in Viet Nam” project. The new project will support the Academy with new research and high-level policy discussions on the reform process known as doi moi or ‘renovation’ in Viet Nam.

First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung applauded the efforts of UNDP and VASS. “It is essential to review the path of doi moi during the last 20 years in order to identify achievements that need to be built upon, shortcomings and weaknesses that need to be redressed, and lessons learned that can help intensify a more comprehensive and balanced doi moi reform process as well as to enrich and further refine the direction and strategy of socio-economic development to 2010 and a vision until 2020 in Viet Nam,” said Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung.

The launch of doi moi in 1986 marked Viet Nam’s transition from central planning to the market economy and a range of other social, political and economic changes. On the achievements of the doi moi process, First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung noted the halving of the poverty rate, from 58% in 1993 to 29% in 2002, and the significant increase in the Human Development Index from 0.610 in 1990 to 0.691 in 2002.

The aim of the four-year project is to assist the Academy in its review of the first 20 years of doi moi and implications for the future. The review will be part of a wider consultation launched by the government and the Party in all provinces and major cities to gather national perspectives on the doi moi program.

Mr. Jordan Ryan, UNDP Resident Representative, thanked the partners in Government, the Party, the research community and other development partners for participating in the project. “Doi moi is not just about the economics. The term itself suggests an enthusiasm for policy experimentation, innovation and improvement. The success of doi moi is due in large part to gradual but unmistakable changes in the role of government and the relationship between state and society,” said Mr. Jordan Ryan. Quoting the famous economist John Maynard Keynes, Mr. Jordan Ryan said that doi moi is a truly Vietnamese experience of the sort imagine by Keynes when he argued that the socialism of the future ‘will emerge from an endless variety of experiments directed towards discovering the respective appropriate spheres of the individual and the social’.

The project will complement the national consultation process by supporting the Academy in three areas. First, the project will initiate new research on critical aspects of doi moi and other related policies. Second, the project will help to widen participation in the national consultations on doi moi to include all interested sectors of society. Third, the project will strengthen national capacity in research management, applied policy research and policy advocacy.

Research supported by the project will focus on four aspects of doi moi: (1) The development of the market economy; (2) Proactive international integration; (3) Politics and the State; and (4) Culture and society.

VASS President, Professor Do Hoai Nam, stressed that the Government and Party of Viet Nam are keen to receive the views of international scholars and organizations on the “20 year Review of Doi Moi in Viet Nam. “Although many of the factors that have made Doi Moi a success relate to specific conditions in Viet Nam, we can also learn a great deal—both positive and negative—from comparative analyses of international and national scholars,” he said.

The issues and completed research will be discussed at four High Level Roundtable Meetings. The first of these meetings, held on 12 January 2005 and attended by First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, launched the project. The remaining three will focus on the four research areas with the intention of feeding into the Tenth Party Congress in 2006 and helping the government, Party and research community think constructively about the future of Viet Nam’s reform programme. The project will also produce two National Human Development Reports, which will continue to monitor Viet Nam’s progress in human development.

Contact informationTran Lan Anh, Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences
84-4-9719067. Email: vass@hn.vnn.vn
Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Media and Publications Unit
84-4-942-1495 ext.186. Email: nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org