High-level roundtable confronts the challenges to doi moi - Doi Moi in international spotlight

30 Jun 2005

Ha Noi The Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) today opened a major international conference to review the first twenty years of the policy reform process known in Vietnamese as doi moi or ‘renovation’.

The doi moi reforms, launched at the Sixth Party Congress in 1986, marked the transition from central planning to the market, returned agricultural land to household production and opened Viet Nam to international trade and investment.

The Communist Party of Viet Nam is currently engaged in national consultations on the achievements of doi moi and prospects for the next two decades of reform. The meeting brings together prominent international experts on economic, political and social change in Viet Nam with Vietnamese policymakers and scholars to discuss the impact of doi moi and the implications of these policies for the future.

“The High-Level Roundtable Meetings are a unique opportunity for Vietnamese and international scholars to exchange ideas on the nature and direction of economic and political reform,” said President of VASS Professor Do Hoai Nam.

“These discussions provide valuable input to our internal assessments of the achievements of doi moi and challenges over the coming years,” he said.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) have provided support for the meeting under the VASS project ‘Assistance to the Twenty Year Review of Doi Moi’.

Secretary General of the Theoretical Council of the Central Communist Party Mr. Hong Ha applauded the initiative of VASS, UNDP and SIDA: “The outcome of this high-level conference provides very timely inputs for the preparation of next year’s Tenth Party Congress. We look forward to hearing comments from international experts on the last 20 years of doi moi for furthering our agenda in the coming years”.

Topics discussed at the two day conference included the changing nature of relations between the state and society, the legal framework for social organisations outside of the state, Viet Nam’s economic and political position in East Asia, and the political and economic causes and implications of social inequality in contemporary Viet Nam.

Professor Robert Wade of the London School of Economics delivered the keynote address entitled ‘Governing the Market in a Globalising World Economy’. Professor Wade is a renowned expert on economic development and globalisation. Princeton University Press has recently published a second edition of his celebrated work, Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialisation.

International scholars attending the Second High-Level Roundtable Meeting include Professor Mark Sidel of the University of Iowa, Neil Jamieson, author of Understanding Viet Nam, Brian Van Arkadie, co-author of Viet Nam – a Transition Tiger?; Borje Ljunggren, former Swedish ambassador to Viet Nam and currently Ambassador to China; and Scott Fritzen of the National University of Singapore.

VASS held the First High-Level Roundtable Meeting in January 2005. The conference was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and the keynote address was delivered by Professor Peter Nolan of Cambridge University. VASS has published a Vietnamese translation of Professor Nolan’s book, China at the Crossroads as part of the Doi Moi Review project.

VASS will organise two more roundtable meetings before the Tenth Party Congress next year.

Mr. Jordan Ryan, UNDP Resident Representative noted:  “doi moi has helped to lift Viet Nam out of poverty.  Now, by engaging with international colleagues, Viet Nam’s experts can bring new strength to the reform process and generate new thinking on the relationship between state and society.”

Swedish Ambassador Anna Lindstedt expressed her government’s support of the efforts of VASS to involve international scholars in the review of doi moi.  “Sweden started supporting those areas of reform already in the early 90s and we are proud to be part of this process,” she said.

Contact Information

Tran Lan Anh, Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences
84-4-8211519. Email: vass@hn.vnn.vn
or
Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Media and Publications Unit
84-4-942-1495 ext.186. Email: nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org