Press Notice 23, Session 2006-07

NEW INQUIRY

VIETNAM: DFID'S COUNTRY PROGRAMME

Vietnam has made enormous progress on development in recent years. Poverty reduction strategies have seen poverty fall from 58% in 1993 to 19% in 2004. The main human development indicators have improved significantly over the same period: Vietnam's place on the Human Development Index at 108 (out of 177) is now around the same level as countries with a much higher per capita income. Progress towards achievement of most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is firmly on track. Vietnamese economic growth is also strong, averaging around 6% a year throughout the period 1990-2003 and up to nearly 8% in recent years. Vietnam's recent membership of the WTO confirms its place as an important regional economy.

There remain challenges and inequalities:

€ Most of Vietnam's poor live in rural areas.

€ Ethnic minority populations are almost twice as likely to be poor and over three times as likely to live in hunger.

€ There are concerns about progress on the sanitation MDG.

€ HIV prevalence is on the increase.

The International Development Committee is launching an inquiry into DFID's programme in Vietnam and will visit Vietnam as part of the inquiry in May 2007.

DFID staff numbers and resources in Vietnam have expanded rapidly. The Vietnam country programme has increased from £19 million in 2002 to around £55 million in 2006. The UK has committed to providing at least £50 million in aid to Vietnam in each year until 2010.

A central focus of the DFID programme is budget support to the Government of Vietnam in its implementation of strategies for poverty reduction and economic growth. For example, some £60 million over the period 2004-2006 was delivered through support to the central government budget in support of public sector reform. DFID's programme in Vietnam also includes support for work on health and education, and projects in the poorest communes, ethnic minority areas and remote regions.

The Committee invites interested organisations and individuals to submit written evidence addressing any of the following points:

€ The appropriate size and scope for DFID's programme in Vietnam.

€ The appropriate balance between the different aid instruments used in Vietnam. The strengths and weakness of budget support over other instruments.

€ Whether DFID is focusing its activities adequately on the most vulnerable groups, including the rural poor and ethnic minorities.

€ Aid effectiveness: DFID's role in Vietnam and where it adds value compared to other donors, particularly in light of Vietnam's cultural and historical links with other donors.

€ Progress against relevant DFID Public Service Agreement targets and the MDGs in Vietnam.

€ The role of the MDGs in shaping DFID's programme of assistance to Vietnam and the Government of Vietnam's Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP).

€ The impact of governance on DFID programmes and DFID programmes on governance.

€ Trade and the private sector: the likely impact on development of Vietnam's WTO membership.

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The deadline for submitting written evidence is Friday 13 April 2007.

Evidence submitted should:

- if possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format, either by e-mail to [email protected] or on a disk. If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail. The letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details

- begin with a one page summary if it is longer than six pages

- have numbered paragraphs

- avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material.

Submissions can also be sent by post to International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at:
http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm;

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within written evidence, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet, by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Barrett MP (Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Quentin Davies MP (Con), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab).

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589 or [email protected]

Detailed enquiries to Matthew Hedges, Second Clerk, on 020 7219 0851 or [email protected]