Briefing notes at PAPI workshop on "Factors influencing quality of provincial governance and public administration”

Apr 5, 2013

Speaker: UNDP Country Director, Ms. Louise Chamberlain    
Event:     PAPI workshop on “Factors Influencing Quality of Provincial Governance and Public Administration”
Date:       Friday 05 April, 2013 from 8.30am – 12.00
Venue:    HCM Academy, 135 Nguyen Phong Sac Street, Ha Noi

Prof. Dr. Nguyễn Tất Giáp, Vice President of Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration (HCMA);

Distinguished Leaders from Provincial Party Committees, Provincial People’s Committees, Provincial Departments;

Ho Chi Minh Academy Colleagues;

Representative from PAPI Research Project;

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to start by thanking the Ho Chi Minh Academy of Politics and Public Administration for hosting the event today and for the collaboration with UNDP in studying and analyzing citizens’ experiences of governance and public administration performance.

UNDP and the Ho Chi Minh Academy have been working together now for many years and we appreciate that research on public administration performance is a new area of collaboration, and a very critical one for Viet Nam’s development as a middle-income country.

As Viet Nam’s economy grows and develops, it raises new challenges for the public administration. Those who are tasked to reform the public sector cannot rely on anecdotes or examples, because information is often misleading and incomplete. Decision-makers need to be informed and able to use data from different sources, so that policies can be based on objective and rigorous evidence.

Given its mandate to train provincial leaders and equip them with modern policy making tools, the Ho Chi Minh Academy is a key institution for increasing the knowledge and skills of leaders in evidence-based policy making; as well as developing knowledge products, identifying good practices and providing space for policy research and dialogue in these areas. This institution is also key in fostering a strong accountable and transparent leadership in Vietnam today.

Ladies and Gentlemen

PAPI is an important tool to track provincial performance in governance and public administration. It shows areas where the state sector is functioning well in serving its people. It also suggests areas where more efforts are needed to improve performance, as the case studies we are discussing this morning reveal. PAPI is a means to support improved performance rather than an end in itself. That is, PAPI provides rigorous evidence for provinces to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as to address opportunities and challenges ahead to that they can allocate resources to areas of priority.

We have seen the growing support for PAPI and recognition of PAPI’s importance in policy monitoring. The Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front has reconfirmed its full support for the initiative by delegating the Centre for Research and Personnel Training of the Vietnam Fatherland Front to partake in the research project together with Cecodes and UNDP.

More encouraging is recently PAPI was mentioned as one of the helpful tools to monitor performance levels of local governments. Dr. Nguyễn Xuân Phúc noted at the annual Anti-Corruption Dialogue between the Government of Viet Nam and international development partners in Ha Noi, on 5 December 2012: “We can clearly recognize the important role of local governments at different levels when analyzing variances in the ranking of provinces in the Provincial Competitiveness Index and the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index. For instance, on land administration, in many provinces, denunciations and complaints about land are very hot and difficult-to-solve issues; meanwhile, in many other areas, local governments are doing well.”

Citizen surveys on government performance like PAPI will not help to solve problems by themselves - the challenge is whether or not provincial authorities will take on board such evidence to adjust their focus in their action plans to attain higher level of citizens’ satisfaction with their performance.

I hope that today’s discussion will give us a clearer understanding of the opportunities and challenges to narrow the gaps between inputs and outputs for improved performance in governance and public administration ahead of the eight provinces which have participated in this series of case studies.

This workshop clearly will provide food for thought for provinces in their development of concrete action plans on how to improve public sector performance. I also expect that lessons and good practices identified in the case studies can be shared with and replicated in other provinces. The end of all your efforts is to meet the higher expectations of the Vietnamese citizens and commensurate higher development level of the country.  

I look very much forward to our active and lively discussion this morning.

Xin cam on!