Filling the Gap: The Emerging Civil Society in Viet Nam

Filling the Gap: The Emerging Civil Society in Viet Nam
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Name:Filling the Gap: The Emerging Civil Society in Viet Nam
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Civil Society Index studies were carried out worldwide from 2004 to 2006 in order to assess the present strengths and weaknesses of civil society in several dozen countries. The assessments follow similar methodologies in each country to assess civil society at a national level, based on the participation of a national Stakeholder Assessment Group (SAG) and a national team comprising a coordinator, researchers and an international civil society expert. The assessments are based on a common methodology developed by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation through extensive research in a number of pilot countries.

The VietNam project was carried out from April 2005 to March 2006 and was made possible by support from the UNDP and SNV in VietNam. It was the first attempt in Viet Nam to broadly map civil society.

Objectives of the CSI include:

  • Creating knowledge about the state of civil society
  • Creating a shared understanding of civil society among key stakeholders
  • Improving the self-understanding of civil society and developing a better appreciation of its role
  • Producing an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of civil society and outlining some priority areas for policy and actions.

This discussion paper provides a context for the project in Viet Nam and summarises the methodology and outcome of the CSI study. The definition used for civil society is broad and inclusive and focuses on the functions, rather than the forms, of the organisations involved. The major findings are discussed and the paper concludes with a number of recommendations as to how the development of civil society in Viet Nam could be further supported.

The CSI studies assess four essential dimensions of civil society, which together give a broad and coherent perspective on civil society. The four dimensions are: the structure of civil society, the socio-economic environment for civil society, the values of civil society, and the impact of civil society activities. In all, the Stakeholder Assessment Group (SAG) assessed 74 indicators related to the four dimensions.

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