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Australian Ambassador Opens A P135-2 Planning Workshop in Quang Ngai

   4/3/2009

On 3-4 March 2009 the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Mr Allaster Cox, visited Quang Ngai – the province that has been receiving Australia’s aid since 1998, with total funds of over AUD 54 million, mostly for poverty reduction, disaster mitigation, and primary health care activities. The Ambassador had discussions on development priorities with provincial leaders, visited a commune receiving support under the “Implementation Support Program for Program 135-2 in Quang Ngai” (ISP), and opened a planning workshop for P135-2. The ISP builds on the achievements of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Australia-funded Quang Ngai Rural Development Program (RUDEP) which achieved much with many poor communes benefiting from new small-scale infrastructure facilities, improved agricultural production, capacity building of local government staff, especially at commune and community levels, and improved social services. At the planning workshop, the Ambassador said to the participants that the ISP is integrated with the Program 135-2 and is used to extend the reach of the Program 135-2, fill any gaps and increase its effectiveness and impact. This is a form of budget support, managed by the provincial government, with the use of Government of Vietnam systems and with greater role of provincial and district agencies in the program delivery. The ISP aims to ensure that the assistance is used effectively and that lessons can be learned for other poverty reduction programs in Vietnam. The Ambassador said that Australia is committed to helping Vietnam reduce the poverty among its ethnic minorities, which is still a major problem in six upland districts of Quang Ngai where more than 60% of people live in poverty . Australia has committed more than AUD 50 million at both the national and provincial level to achieve the objective of poverty reduction. The Ambassador emphasised at the workshop that a special interest for ISP support for the production component should be to increase the participation of women in income generating activities and develop the linkage between farmers and the market. The Ambassador also encouraged the use of ethnic minority lanaguages (e.g. Co and H’re) in the communications programs for the delivery of the assistance. Mr Allaster Cox said to the workshop participants that high quality planning and implementation is a very important step in the whole process. He strongly encouraged the local planners to come up with innovative ideas for overcoming poverty.

AUSIAD
4/3/2009

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