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Donors pledge strong support for Vietnam’s poverty reduction and growth objectives for the next 5-year socio-economic period

   1/13/2006

HANOI - December 7, 2005 - At the conclusion of the 2005 Consultative Group (CG) Meeting for Vietnam, chaired by the Government of Vietnam and the World Bank, donors congratulated Vietnam on its strong growth performance and remarkable success in poverty reduction. Delegates emphasized the importance of completing key reforms of the financial sector and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) for Vietnam to reach its full potential and continue to reduce poverty at a rapid pace. Delegates agreed that efforts should be continued to apply the consultative and outcome-focused approach of the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (CPRGS) in preparing and implementing the new Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2006-2010 and to fully reflect the principles of the Hanoi Core Statement in ODA and government. In support of this commitment, donors pledged US$ 3.7 billion in assistance for the coming year, compared to 3.4 billion last year. Meeting Vietnam's social and economic targets 2006-2010 The CG meeting opened with a discussion of recent progress in reaching Vietnam's social and economic targets for the 2001-2005 SEDP and in implementing the CPRGS. Donors commended the Government for the open consultative approach taken in preparing the new SEDP 2006-2010. Delegates agreed that the preparation of the new SEDP represented a fundamental reform in the approach to medium-term planning, incorporating the Vietnam Development Goals to assess progress on poverty and social outcomes. While commending Vietnam's strong economic progress in the last few years and its record of prudent macroeconomic management, delegates emphasized the need to accelerate implementation of reforms to ensure continued rapid poverty reduction. Donors complimented the Government on its recently adopted ambitious roadmap for banking sector reform. They urged swift implementation of the measures to transform the State Bank of Vietnam into a modern central bank focusing on monetary policy and supervision of financial institutions, and to strengthen the autonomy and corporate governance of state-owned commercial banks through equitization with the participation of foreign investors. As part of the CG process, the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF) was held December 5, 2005 between representatives of the business community and the Government. On behalf of the VBF, Mr. Tony Forster thanked the Government for a continued frank and constructive dialogue which had helped improve the operating environment for the private sector. This year the VBF focused on encouraging private sector participation in the infrastructure sectors. Representatives of the private sector also welcomed the opportunity for providing feedback to the Government on the drafting of the Unified Enterprise Law and the Common Investment Law, which are designed to level the playing field for all investors as well as greatly simplifying the process of investment. But they stressed the importance of consultation in drafting the implementing regulations of the laws as these would be crucial for ensuring that the objectives of the law were actually met in practice. Donors commended the Government for the outstanding achievements in poverty reduction and sustainable development, as reflected in the third annual CPRGS implementation report. Based on an internationally-recognized methodology for measuring poverty and using an updated consumption basket, 22 percent of the population now lives in poverty. This is evidence of sustained and rapid poverty reduction that shows no sign of slowing. Delegates observed that the new poverty data clearly show that poverty in Vietnam is dominant among ethnic minority groups. Participants encouraged the Government to use the SEDP to set out bold measures to tackle ethnic minority poverty which are based on an assessment of what had and had not worked well in the past. Delegates also took note of recent encouraging steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS but stressed the need for perseverance to overcome HIV/AIDS. Government reported on progress in the WTO negotiations, and expressed its determination to accede as soon as possible. The Government also noted the various challenges in implementing WTO commitments. It saw a role for donor support to fully take advantage of the benefits of WTO membership, while dealing with possible social implications of the increased international economic integration. Donors expressed their readiness to support the Government in meeting these challenges in the context of the new SEDP. In a special session, donors recognized Government’s effective leadership towards preventing and curbing the spread of Avian Influenza and pledged their support to the continued efforts. Improving governance and combating corruption The Government and donors agreed that successful implementation of Vietnam’s development strategy depends crucially on building modern governance systems. Delegates took note of recently adopted strategies for legal system development and judicial reform, and urged Government to ensure their full integration in the next SEDP. Delegates agreed that more effort should be put into accelerating public administration reforms. They congratulated the Government on the recently adopted anti-corruption law and the diagnostic assessment of corruption conducted by the Internal Affairs Committee of the Party and supported by the Government of Sweden. Donors encouraged the Government to make full use of the diagnostic study in the implementation of the anti-corruption law, and expressed their strong commitment to continue supporting the Government’s efforts in this area. ODA effectiveness and reduced transaction costs Donors complimented the Government for its progress achieved in improving aid effectiveness and implementing the harmonization action plan. Delegates welcomed and endorsed the “Hanoi Core Statement” to implement the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. The Hanoi Core Statement is based on key principles of Government ownership, alignment of donor support, harmonization and simplification, managing for results and mutual accountability, and establishes a set of joint targets for aid effectiveness to be achieved by 2010. The Hanoi Core Statement was viewed as a solid starting point from which Vietnam and its donors can implement the global commitments and achieve the targets agreed at the Paris High Level Forum. Delegates also agreed that the revised ODA decree 17 and the new ODA strategy framework should pay a facilitative role in aligning the ODA utilization with the new SEDP.

WB
1/13/2006

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