Int'l Cooperation

Last updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019


SDC Stays Active in Vietnam- Switzerland Development Cooperation

Posted: Wednesday, October 05, 2016

 “The development cooperation of the two countries has utilized the advantages and experiences of Switzerland on development such as decentralisation and local planning that significantly contributed to the implementation of the Vietnam’s Government policy on the promotion of grassroots democracy. Our collaboration was diverse and profound, spanning over many areas: education, capacity building, vocational training, management, public administration reforms, city development plan, rural livelihoods, forestry and environment protection, etc,” said Mr Nguyen The Phuong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI) at the workshop recently organised by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to celebrate the achievements of its 25 years of collaboration with Vietnam.
In 1992, when SDC started its bilateral programme in Vietnam, Vietnam was a very poor country with a poverty rate of nearly 60 per cent and the country’s ambitious doi moi process started getting its momentum. The SDC - Vietnamese cooperation covers a period of remarkable change and rapid development in all aspects of Vietnamese society. Vietnam became a lower middle-income country in 2010, reducing the poverty rate to less than 13 per cent in 2015.
SDC was proud to support the doi moi process. SDC has been active in the priority areas of Vietnam’s development plans as confirmed by the Deputy Minister Phuong.
From 1992 to 2016, SDC has invested more than 216 million CHF in grants through 32 programmes. SDC programme activities in Vietnam which are part of SDC’s overall engagement in the frame of its Mekong Region Programme, are estimated to have reached 4.6 to 6.8 million people. Mr Steven Geiger, Head of the SDC programme in Vietnam, said: “SDC is very satisfied with the outcomes of the bilateral SDC-Vietnam collaboration over the past 25 years”. The SDC programme has delivered several important achievements.
SDC’s overarching goal is poverty alleviation. All SDC projects directly or indirectly contributed to the achievement of this goal. SDC received a merit award by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for its financial and technical support that contributed to sustainable forest management as well as to improved living conditions of the poor people, whose livelihoods depend on the forest. In the period 2000-2007, SDC was among the first development partners who raised and addressed issues of urban poverty within its urban development programme.
From the mid-2000s, SDC focused programmes on rural, poor areas in the North of Vietnam with high populations of ethnic minorities. By improving the quality of products and access to markets, the value chains projects supported enabled the poor and ethnic minorities to increase their income and improve their living conditions.
Ms Beatrice Maser Mallor, Ambassador of Switzerland to Vietnam said: “Perhaps SDC’s most significant result is to give people a voice in local government and to promote people’s participation in decisions affecting their livelihoods at the grassroots level”.
About 85 per cent of the SDC budget for Vietnam was directly transferred to local levels: provinces, districts, communes and communities to support their development. Mr Nguyen Van Dung, Vice Chairman of Hoa Binh Provincial People’s Committee said: “SDC projects approached people directly to mobilise their wide participation in planning, implementing and monitoring of their commune plans. The projects’ practices were institutionalised by the decisions of the provincial authorities. This substantively contributes to the implementation of the grassroots democracy.”
SDC was a visible actor supporting good governance and public administration reforms in Vietnam in order to strengthen effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and accountability. SDC financed the establishment and operation of One-stop shop for public administrative services in 103 districts of 9 poor provinces.
The gender impact of SDC projects has been significant. SDC projects promoted women’s participation and succeeded in empowering women as decision - makers and income-earners.
Swiss development thinking and expertise has benefitted a large number of individuals and institutions. It has influenced the way things are done, be it in local governance, in decision-making, in education, in knowledge or in people’s self-reliance.
Switzerland will continue to stay engaged in Vietnam with overseas development assistance (ODA) but adapts its development cooperation to new realities and needs as Vietnam is now a lower middle income country. While SDC’s bilateral poverty reduction and governance programme in Vietnam comes to an end in 2016, Vietnam will still benefit from a sizeable number of global and regional SDC programs which address challenges such as climate change, water and food security. The bilateral development cooperation between Switzerland and Vietnam will continue and focus on economic development cooperation, supporting Vietnam to achieve sustainable economic growth. This programme is implemented by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The strategy outlining the economic cooperation for 2017-2020 will be launched soon. One chapter of the Swiss-Vietnamese development cooperation ends, another begins.
Nguyen Mai

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