Speech by Ms. Pratibha Mehta UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative at the launch of PAPI 2013 report

02 Apr 2014

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Event:    Launch of PAPI 2013 Report
Venue:   Sheraton Hotel, 11 Xuan Dieu Road, Hanoi

Dr. Nguyen Quang Du, Director of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Centre for Research and Training, VFF Central Committee
Prof. Dr. Nguyen Viet Thao, Vice President, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics
Mr. Le Van Lan, Vice Chairman, North Western Regional Steering Committee
Dr. Nguyen Huu Hoai, Chairman, People’s Committee, Quang Binh Province

Ladies and gentlemen:
I would like to thank you all for coming this morning to the launch of the third annual Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index. PAPI is a pioneering initiative that has become the largest time-series national governance and public administration performance monitoring tool in Viet Nam exclusively based on citizens’ experiences.

Over the past years PAPI has captured and reflected the experiences of nearly 50,000 citizens. These annual and nationwide iterations of PAPI provide ‘real-time’ data and information on the implementation of complex, yet key, governance and public administration processes as Vietnamese citizens experience them. In 2013 alone, a total of 13,892 citizens participated in the survey. This is a major achievement in itself for PAPI, which is providing all of us with an unparalleled wealth of data and information for our policy work.

PAPI provides evidence for policy makers to monitor implementation and where necessary re-design policies and interventions where necessary at central and provincial levels.

I would like to stress here that the purpose of PAPI is not naming and shaming, but to help improve the quality of governance and public accountability to the citizens. Therefore, it is very encouraging to see that PAPI is catalyzing actions for improving provincial level governance. For instance, more than 22 provinces have prepared action plans to improve on issues identified by PAPI. In 2013 alone, nine provincial governments including Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Dong Thap Kon Tum, Quang Ngai and Thai Nguyen, adopted specific proposals to address weaknesses.

In addition, the Ho Chi Minh Academy of Politics and Public Administration has undertaken several initiatives based on annual PAPI results to strengthen responsive public administration in Viet Nam. The Academy has undertaken extensive comparative research in 15 provinces to better understand factors influencing performance at provincial level, and has recently conducted action-research in three provinces. PAPI is also the focus of a regular lecture in the Academy’s high-level leadership training programme for current and future Party and provincial leaders.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Each PAPI report includes a special feature that contains a new angle in analyzing the data. This year, it examines differences of citizen experiences in the quality of governance and public administration within the same province. The report shows that quality of services is uneven not only across, but also within, provinces. Women, the poor and ethnic minorities consistently evaluate the quality of public services lower than fellow citizens, even within the same district.

From PAPI’s six dimensions, ‘Public Administrative Procedures’ and ‘Public Service Delivery’ show more consistency in citizens’ satisfaction across the board. In contrast, the data shows that corrupt practices disproportionately affect the poor and the disadvantaged. This warrants a higher-level policy attention to the needs of these vulnerable groups.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the past year, PAPI has continued to attract international attention as an innovative social audit and accountability tool. Participatory monitoring for accountability is emerging as a central theme in the global post-2015 debates. People-led monitoring and accountability are poised to become key features of the new development agenda as a means of both empowerment for people to advocate their priorities in development, and to hold providers of services to account for delivery and performance. PAPI demonstrates the critical importance of citizens articulating their priorities and influencing policies that affect their lives.

I would like to close by expressing our appreciation to the generous support of the Swiss Development Cooperation Agency to the PAPI initiative.

Today’s launch is a culmination of several months of intensive field work in more than 800 villages across 207 districts. But this is just the beginning of a new cycle of policy dialogue with central and provincial authorities to discuss the needs and aspirations of ordinary Vietnamese, and to improve policy implementation based on evidence.
Thank you for your attention.