Ninh Thuan, 3 November 2011 – At a two-day workshop organised jointly with UNICEF in Ninh Thuan, the Government of Viet Nam reaffirmed its commitment, with continued support from UNICEF, to strengthen the reform of planning, monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) of the Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) in selected provinces.
The objectives of the workshop were to take stock of the pilot PM&E reform experience to look at the options available to replicate these new approaches to PM&E, and seek a way forward to institutionalise these reforms at the provincial and national levels.
“Leaders of the Ministry of Planning and Investment shall, within our duties, confirm our commitment to the on-going instructions to relevant departments under our Ministry and kindly ask the leaders of relevant Ministries, sectors and localities to provide instruction to their respective agencies in close and effective coordination and implementation of the cooperation with international organisations, including UNICEF, in the next five year cycle”, said Ministry of Planning and Investment Vice-Minister Dr. Nguyen The Phuong, at the workshop.
“In Viet Nam, children account for a third of the total population. Children are especially vulnerable and often lack access to quality basic social services due to differences vis-à-vis ethnicity, family income, geography and residential status. Hence it is crucial that the SEDP’s performance – influenced greatly by strong PM&E – is sufficiently responsive to the needs of Viet Nam’s future leaders: its children. Only then can child rights in Viet Nam be realised with equity,” said UNICEF’s Deputy Representative, Jean Dupraz.
The SEDP is the Government of Viet Nam’s primary national planning tool. It contains a vast array of goals and targets relating to social issues. However, a rapid decentralisation process and a relative lack of prioritisation in planning with concrete links to policies have created challenges in the performance and effectiveness of the overall PM&E of the SEDP.
UNICEF has provided support to Viet Nam’s Government and provincial authorities during the period 2006-2011 for effective implementation of the SEDP PM&E through capacity building interventions for governmental agencies and local authorities.
An innovative feature of this support is the social audit approach, which aims to inform policy design and policy implementation by generating information that is complementary to M&E practices. What is more, through the provision of citizen feedback to policy makers and service providers, social audits strengthen accountability and provide valuable inputs to improve service delivery. It is expected the approach will greatly contribute to enhance the social performance of the new SEDP for the coming period 2011-2015.
“I urge you to contemplate how we can use social audits to improve results for children. Social audit tools can be used to address issues of service delivery among marginalised and hard-to-reach groups of children through participatory approaches. For instance, why is school drop-out higher for ethnic minority children? Why are basic health services harder to access for children from poorer families? These are important questions to which social audits can provide valuable new insights - with children’s voices contributing to this. And tools like public expenditure tracking surveys can also help in detecting leakages and improving efficiency in resource use,” Jean Dupraz added.
During the workshop, technical discussions focused on methodologies used to ensure the SEDPs developed in the pilot provinces were more responsive to local needs, with a view to increasing transparency, but also making the SEDPs more inclusive and effective overall. It is expected that the tools and methodologies that were piloted will be integrated into the SEDP PM&E Decree that is currently being drafted by the Government.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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