Press Notice 30, Session 2006-07

COMMONS COMMITTEE VISITS VIETNAM TO ASSESS UK DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE

The British development assistance programme in Vietnam will be assessed on the ground this week when seven members of the Commons International Development Committee visit the country. The Committee is carrying out an inquiry into the Department for International Development's (DFID) Vietnam country programme.

The Committee will assess the effectiveness of DFID's programme in Vietnam, which has increased its budget from £19 million in 2002/3 to £50 million in 2006/7. Last year, International Development Secretary Hilary Benn committed the UK to providing at least £50 million in aid to Vietnam each year until 2010, making it one of the largest DFID programmes in the region.

Poverty reduction strategies in Vietnam have seen poverty fall from 58% in 1993 to 19% in 2004 and progress towards achievement of most of Vietnam's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets is firmly on track. Vietnamese economic growth is also strong and membership of the WTO confirms Vietnam's place as an important regional economy. But there remain challenges and inequalities, such as the fact that ethnic minority populations are almost twice as likely to be poor and over three times as likely to live in hunger and that HIV prevalence is on the increase.

The Committee will look at the appropriate size and scope for DFID's programme in Vietnam ane whether DFID is focusing its activities adequately on the most vulnerable groups, including the rural poor and ethnic minorities. The Committee will examine DFID's role in Vietnam and where it adds value compared to other donors.

The Committee will visit Hang Kia, a poor and mountainous commune in Hoa Binh province, north of Hanoi, to see first-hand the range of difficulties faced by the rural poor. The MPs will also visit Huong Van, Pho Trach and Huong Xuan communes south of Hanoi to see a variety of projects aimed at developing sustainable incomes for poor Vietnamese men and women. The Committee will assess the effectiveness of such projects and of DFID-supported central government programmes in providing solutions to the development challenges in Vietnam. As well as meeting local people, leaders and officials during these field trips, the Committee will meet the Minister of Planning and Investment, and representatives of civil society, the EU, World Bank and other donors in Hanoi. The Committee will also meet sex workers and injecting drug users to discuss HIV/AIDS work.

The International Development Select Committee will be in Vietnam from 9 to 14 May. Its Report, based on the visit and evidence sessions held in the UK, will be published later in the year.

Further Information:

Media enquiries in Vietnam should be directed to Matthew Hedges, Second Clerk of the Committee on +44 (0)7944 565699 or via DFID Vietnam on (84-4) 936 0555. Media enquiries from UK should be directed to the Committee media officer, Alex Paterson on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488 488 [email protected]

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), 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), Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem).

Committee website: www.parliament.uk/indcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

COMMONS COMMITTEE VISITS VIETNAM TO ASSESS UK DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE

The British development assistance programme in Vietnam will be assessed on the ground this week when seven members of the Commons International Development Committee visit the country. The Committee is carrying out an inquiry into the Department for International Development's (DFID) Vietnam country programme.

The Committee will assess the effectiveness of DFID's programme in Vietnam, which has increased its budget from £19 million in 2002/3 to £50 million in 2006/7. Last year, International Development Secretary Hilary Benn committed the UK to providing at least £50 million in aid to Vietnam each year until 2010, making it one of the largest DFID programmes in the region.

Poverty reduction strategies in Vietnam have seen poverty fall from 58% in 1993 to 19% in 2004 and progress towards achievement of most of Vietnam's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets is firmly on track. Vietnamese economic growth is also strong and membership of the WTO confirms Vietnam's place as an important regional economy. But there remain challenges and inequalities, such as the fact that ethnic minority populations are almost twice as likely to be poor and over three times as likely to live in hunger and that HIV prevalence is on the increase.

The Committee will look at the appropriate size and scope for DFID's programme in Vietnam ane whether DFID is focusing its activities adequately on the most vulnerable groups, including the rural poor and ethnic minorities. The Committee will examine DFID's role in Vietnam and where it adds value compared to other donors.

The Committee will visit Hang Kia, a poor and mountainous commune in Hoa Binh province, north of Hanoi, to see first-hand the range of difficulties faced by the rural poor. The MPs will also visit Huong Van, Pho Trach and Huong Xuan communes south of Hanoi to see a variety of projects aimed at developing sustainable incomes for poor Vietnamese men and women. The Committee will assess the effectiveness of such projects and of DFID-supported central government programmes in providing solutions to the development challenges in Vietnam. As well as meeting local people, leaders and officials during these field trips, the Committee will meet the Minister of Planning and Investment, and representatives of civil society, the EU, World Bank and other donors in Hanoi. The Committee will also meet sex workers and injecting drug users to discuss HIV/AIDS work.

The International Development Select Committee will be in Vietnam from 9 to 14 May. Its Report, based on the visit and evidence sessions held in the UK, will be published later in the year.

Further Information:

Media enquiries in Vietnam should be directed to Matthew Hedges, Second Clerk of the Committee on +44 (0)7944 565699 or via DFID Vietnam on (84-4) 936 0555. Media enquiries from UK should be directed to the Committee media officer, Alex Paterson on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488 488 [email protected]

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), 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), Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem).

Committee website: www.parliament.uk/indcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv