Support for Financial Policy Analysis Project Signing Seremony: Speech of UNDP Country Director, Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki

Apr 25, 2008

Speaker: Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director
Date:      25 April 2008  
Event:     Project “ Support for Financial Policy Analysis” Signing Ceremony
Your Excellency Tran Xuan Ha, Vice Minister of Finance and National Project Director  
Mrs Nguyen Thi Bich, Deputy National Project Director,
Ladies and Gentlemen,  
Friends and Colleagues,  

We often hear from our Government of Viet Nam colleagues that the economy of Viet Nam is like a boat that has left behind the calm and familiar inland lakes and rivers of home to set sail on the vast and turbulent oceans of globalization. There is a lot of truth to this metaphor. Globalization promises huge rewards in the form of access to larger markets, new skills and technologies, and more capital for investment. But the risks are also substantial.

These risks are greatest in the financial sector. Capital is not a commodity, and it does not behave like one. The value of money depends on the actions of other people in the present and in the future. Private risks easily spill over into the public domain and become social risks.  As countries integrate into global markets, the capacity of the Ministry of Finance to conduct policy analysis and formulation grows in importance. Fiscal and monetary policy and financial market regulation must keep pace with the new demands associated globalization, to promote sustainable development and financial stability.   

In September 2003 the Ministry of Finance and UNDP joined together in a new project to strengthen the Government’s capacity in financial policy analysis. The project was based on the premise that technical assistance is most effective when it builds national capacities and responds to the needs of national institutions rather than priorities of international partners. The Ministry of Finance identified its capacity development needs and took decisive action to upgrade its internal capacity to conduct policy analysis. The Financial Policy Analysis project was another example of the principle that Government ownership is the key to successful collaboration.   

One of the main achievements of this project was the establishment of the Policy Advisory Group within the Ministry of Finance to conduct finance-related policy research, to provide evidence-based policy advice to senior leaders and to support the efforts of other sections, directorates and agencies under the Ministry of Finance to develop policy analysis capacity. The success of the PAG in quickly establishing itself as a source of high quality, evidence-based policy advice was the main motivating factor behind the development of the project that we sign today.
We are pleased to join you today in launching the successor project, “Support for Public Financial Policy Analysis.” I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Government
Aid Coordination Agencies, to His Excellency Minster Vu Van Ninh, Vice Minister Tran Xuan Ha, and to the many other colleagues in the Ministry of Finance who have contributed productively to the project formulation project. The new project sets an ambitious agenda, but one that is entirely driven by the needs of the Ministry and the Government. We are proud to have played a small role in the formulation of this excellent project, and look forward to three years of fruitful collaboration.   

There will certainly be challenges and quite a lot of hard work ahead. This year we have already experienced some unwanted financial turbulence in the form of price inflation. When sailing on the high seas of globalization we cannot expect sunny weather every day.   

We are optimistic that Viet Nam has everything that it takes to make a success out of international economic integration. But to paraphrase the former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, we are optimists who carry umbrellas. In the realm of financial policy, careful, evidence-based policy research is your umbrella. Policy analysis is essential to the formulation of Government policies that minimize economic and financial risk and build the institutional framework required for rapid and sustainable economic growth.   

In closing, allow me to once again thank all of you who have worked so hard to reach the milestone that we celebrate today. I wish you all good health, happiness, and great success in your important work in promoting development and financial stability in Viet Nam.  

Thank you.