Speech at the kick-off Workshop for the project “Strengthening Capacity for Ethnic Minority Policy Formulation, Implementation and Monitoring” with CEMA

24 Oct 2008

Speaker: Ms Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director
Date:      Friday 24th October 2008
Event:     Kick-off Workshop for the project “Strengthening Capacity for Ethnic Minority  Policy Formulation, Implementation and Monitoring” with CEMA

Honorable Vice Chairman of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Mr. BeTruong Thanh
Honorable Deputy Chairwoman of the Ethnic Minority Council of the National Assembly Mrs. Bui Thi Binh,
Senior officials from ministries and provinces and representatives of research institutes,  
Friends from the donor community, and ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honor to launch this important new project, “Strengthening Capacity for Ethnic Minority Policy Formulation, Implementation and Monitoring”,  today on the 63rd  birthday of the United Nations.  Developing, implementing and monitoring effective pro-poor policies for ethnic minorities is a challenging task — yet we all know how important it is to those who remain poor and vulnerable. It is my hope that through this project, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the three provincial Departments of  Ethnic Minority Affairs (DEMA) will be better able to develop and carry out policies that result in a better life for minority people in Lai Chau, Quang Nam, Binh Phuoc and throughout the country.

I also hope that this project will bring the long-term partnership between CEMA and UNDP to a new level.  As many of you know, UNDP and CEMA have collaborated on initiatives to benefit ethnic minority peoples of Viet Nam since the early 1990s, and we are currently working together on a related project  to support the National Program 135.

For both of these projects, one of the ultimate objectives is ensuring that ethnic minority people are able to more fully participate in, and benefit from, the economic, social and political life of the country. Good policies empower ethnic minority people to take the lead in improving their own lives, and help ensure their meaningful participation in formulating, monitoring and implementing development policies and programs that affect them.
 
I know that there are many reasons why this is difficult.  Poor ethnic minority people tend to live in isolated, mountainous, and disaster-prone areas,  and have their own traditions and customs and cultural diversity. These make them difficult to have access to and benefit from information, markets, health and educational services. However, I know that over the years CEMA and DEMA officials have developed significant experience and have come to a good understanding of the challenges. Through this project we hope to complement your local knowledge with useful experience from other countries, and expertise to address key capacity constraints. We recognize that this support needs to be tailored and applied to meet the concrete needs of CEMA and DEMAs.

Though there are challenges ahead, I believe that with the strong commitment and leadership of CEMA and the rich experience both CEMA and UNDP have gained through our past cooperation, including our on-going work to support the Programme 135, this project will be successful.
 
I would like to take the opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of UNDP and the entire UN Country Team to working closely with the Government of Viet Nam and other development partners to ensure that MDGs are achieved in every village and household in Viet Nam.
    
In closing, I would like to thank CEMA and other Government partners, as well as my UNDP colleagues, for your hard work in preparing for this important project. I look forward to our continuing cooperation in building further capacity for policy formulation, implementation and monitoring for better livelihood of the ethnic minority people.

Thank you very much.