Remarks by Mr. Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Deputy Country Director at the Statistical Partnership Meeting

15 Aug 2014

Date: August 15, 2014
Time: 8:15-10:30hrs.
Event: Statistical Partnership Meeting   
Venue: Conference room 303, Building F, MPI

Mr. Nguyễn Bích Lâm, Director-General of GSO
Colleagues from GSO departments and line ministries
Development partners, UN colleagues and friends:

Firstly, let me express my sincere thanks to the GSO for organizing today’s mid-year partnership meeting to review the progress of the 2014 Joint Workplan. We appreciate an opportunity to discuss this important partnership effort also with a view to better align our programmes to support the implementation of the Viet Nam Statistical Development System. These meetings are becoming a regular practice and it is encouraging to see new partners joining the dialogue each time.

As presented in Mr. Lam’s opening remarks, it is evident that the statistical system of Viet Nam has seen some good progress so far in 2014 thanks to the concerted efforts of the GSO and its partner institutions.

The draft Statistics Law – now in its sixth version – continues to be reviewed by government agencies, National Assembly other national institutions in a comprehensive manner. This is a recognition of the importance of the Law. A number of important documents have been issued in recent months, including the GSO regulatory instruments on information dissemination, data management, and information protection.  These new policy documents are expected to make significant improvements to the system.

The decision to shift the responsibility for calculating provincial GDP data from provinces to the GSO is another key development that will bring about more consistency and accuracy in GDP computation across-the-board. Once finalized and implemented, this change stands to improve the quality of the monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic development policies in Viet Nam.

Importantly, the System for Information Collection and a Statistical Hub have been launched for pilot implementation in the GSO together with the development of data management regulations. A number of databases have been pooled within the system as part of the pilot. This is potentially a key breakthrough which would help GSO standardize and modernize its data collection, processing, compilation and dissemination processes, and ultimately support the production of timely and reliable data.

It is also worthwhile to note the progress in operationalizing the M&E system for the implementation of VSDS. The system will provide monitoring information at central, local and sectoral levels once it is fully up and running toward the end of this year.

In terms of data collection, many critical surveys have been implemented so far in 2014, including the mid-term population and housing survey, the 2014 Viet Nam Living Standards Survey, and the Enterprise survey. Other important surveys such as MICS and the migration survey are currently under development. These surveys continue to be a source of vital information to policymakers, and serve as foundations for well informed and evidence-based development solutions.

The GSO’s growing attention to the needs of data users is highly commendable. Notably, the Users’ Satisfaction Survey has now been institutionalized. A new approach to elicit users’ feedback through an online survey on the GSO website has also been applied.  

Over the past months, GSO has also actively contributed to the development of the forthcoming National Human Development Report that is being prepared by VASS, as well as the monitoring of MDG performance and development of a multidimensional poverty methodology for Viet Nam, among other tools.

The development partners are happy to have contributed to these achievements. Much still remains to be done this year and beyond to bring some of the ongoing collaborative initiatives to fruition. Some of the current and emerging priorities that require our collective attention include the implementation of the national statistical indicator system with a more robust set of indicators in place; greater transparency and access to various data products; and continued cooperation between GSO and line ministries in data collection and exchange, just to name a few.

These priorities broadly reflect global trends for more transparency and rigor in data and evidence for development options that countries pursue. The ongoing multi-stakeholder discussions around the post-2015 development agenda is a strong example of the need for deepening the debate to better measure the progress of countries and reflecting new development challenges. This intensely consultative process has resulted in a proposal comprising of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 59 targets, which will be shared with the UN Member States during the course of the upcoming 69th session of the General Assembly. A painstaking negotiation process lies ahead to agree on a universal set of goals with measurable targets to success the MDGs.

Viet Nam has had an impressive MDG record and can be a champion to promote the Sustainable Development Goals as part of the post-2015 development agenda.  The task will require an even stronger reliance on quality data with higher levels of standardization. The UN system stands ready to continue its support for the GSO and other government agencies in Viet Nam in this important area.

Colleagues and friends,

The current partnership framework between the GSO and Development Partners has shown its potential for creating harmonized and coherent support to the Viet Nam Statistical System, particularly for coordination of donor support and visibility of each other’s work. Scope however remains for further enhancing coordination among partners.

Firstly, sharing of data, documents and information can be further improved – both by the GSO with regards to the official government documents and important new data, as well as by the Development Partners in terms of sharing their respective activities and engagements in the field of data for development. Such exchange is extremely useful as it contributes to common areas of interest and reduces overlaps and duplication.

Secondly, we wish to reiterate the proposal expressed in the last meeting to re-activate the advisory group for VSDS implementation at technical level. Concretely, technical meetings of the advisory group could take place more often for joint planning and coordination of activities at a more in-depth level, with a greater focus on specific topics.

I would like to conclude by re-affirming the continued support of development partners, including the UN, to Viet Nam’s efforts in strengthening its statistical system to effectively inform and guide socio-economic development in Viet Nam.

Xin cam on va chuc suc khoe!