Project to help MARD pilot creative reform initiatives

21 Aug 2007

HA NOI – The UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) jointly signed a project today supporting the Ministry’s public administration reform (PAR) efforts.

The US$5 million project, of which 4.2 mil is co-shared by the Dutch Government will help MARD develop and apply three new strategies for speeding up administration reform: decentralization of power to lower administrative levels; outsourcing of public service delivery to outside providers; and community participation in the development process. As MARD is the first Ministry in the country to pilot these creative reform initiatives, it is expected to share achievements and the lessons learned in Viet Nam as well as other countries in order to promote public administration reform.

“MARD sees this capacity development project a very timely and significant PAR initiative, which will facilitate the Ministry’s work in developing and piloting new and creative reform models , which are essential for successful implementation of the directions clearly outlined in the Resolution of the Fifth Party Plenum. We hope that the lessons learned from this project will be very beneficial for other government entities,” said MARD Vice-Minister Vu Van Tam.

The project seeks to help MARD gradually change into a new agency focused on macro level management. At the same time, the new three strategies will allow MARD and the local authorities better meet the increasingly demanding requirements of citizens in rural areas and in-country and overseas business clients.

“Viet Nam has achieved significant socio economic growth over the last 10 years. At the same
time, Viet Nam also faces new challenges and demanding tasks to be able to cope with the pace of development. Good governance – including an effective government - is the key for further socio- economic growth. From today, MARD will embark into a new stage of reform. The implementation
of the next 5 year MARD PAR Action Plan, the new WTO context, and most recently the merge of the Ministry of Fishery into MARD are milestones which put challenges to the implementation of the
third phase of PAR MARD. However, I strongly believe that in the spirit of our close co-operation
with MARD and UNDP, the commitment from leaders of the Ministry, we will be able to witness concrete changes taking shape in the reform process in MARD” said Andre Haspels, the Ambassador of The Netherlands at the signing event.

The project builds on support that UNDP and The Netherlands provided to the Ministry. Two earlier phases laid the foundation for significant changes in the organizational structure, functions and duties of the Ministry, while this new intervention will focus on supporting the Ministry achieve more fundamental changes through decentralization, outsourcing and community involvement and participation. These efforts will at the same time contribute to poverty reduction - one of the eight Millennium Development Goals.

“The project is expected to demonstrate how public administration reform can contribute to poverty reduction and the achievement of Millennium Development Goals in Viet Nam, by giving the rural population, including the rural poor, an opportunity to access critical government and market information and make their voices heard in decision-making”, said Ms Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director at the signing ceremony. “Clearly, the results and lessons that will be drawn from this project will be extremely beneficial not only for the rest of Viet Nam, but may also inspire
similar reforms in other countries”.

The project, with financial support from UNDP, the Dutch Government and the Government of VietNam, will start operations in September 2007 and continue for four and half years.

Contact Information

Dang Huu Cu, Tel: (84-4) 822 4383 ext. 106
email: dang.huu.cu@undp.org or

Trinh Tien Dung, Tel: (84-4) 942-1495 ext. 154 
email:  trinh.tien.dung@undp.org