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Speech by Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Deputy Country Director in Viet Nam, at the signing ceremony for the "Empowerment of Women in the Public Sector" project

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Date: Monday July 21, 2008
Project Signing Ceremony: “Empowerment of Women in the Public Sector in the Context of International Economic Integration
Speaker: Mr. Christophe Bahuet, Deputy Country Director, UNDP Viet Nam
His Excellency Mr. Dao Viet Trung, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Project Director
Mr. Vu Quang Minh, Deputy National Project Director
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends and Colleagues,

I am very honoured to be representing UNDP at the signing ceremony of the project “Empowerment of Women in the Public Sector in the Context of International Economic Integration.”

I wish to thank the Ministry not only for bringing us together for this ceremony today, but also for the role that they have played in the formulation of the project. As you all know, the UN is extremely attached to national ownership. And I believe that we have with this project a perfect example of national ownership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs taking the lead in the design and formulation of the project to make sure its fully meet your needs and match your priorities. There has been a truly excellent and close relationship between MOFA and UNDP Viet Nam on the preparation of this project.

UNDP regards this new initiative as fully part of the very fruitful partnership that we are developing with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2008, this partnership has clearly reached a new dimension with the launching of the Viet Nam Executive Leadership Programme, the project on capacity building for the implementation of human rights treaties in Viet Nam, our cooperation on cluster munitions and our dialogue on a wide range of issues of common interest. Today’s ceremony is an opportunity for me to reiterate the importance that we attach to our strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and express our thanks for the trust that you are placing in us.

The issues that the project seeks to address are important. They are also complex, and probably increasingly challenging.

Training, recruiting and retaining highly qualified civil servants is key to the efficient management of state affairs. One can already see that this will be a key challenge for Viet Nam in the years to come. The Vietnamese public service needs and will need in the future highly qualified civil servants.

As the country becomes increasingly integrated into the world economy and a very active member of the international community, the issues that civil servants have to handle are more and more complex, and fast changing. Civil servants therefore need to gain the exposure, the knowledge, the research and analytical skills that will allow them to be fully equipped to meet those challenges. This is, in a modest way, what the project aims to contribute to.
This contribution will be made with a very specific gender dimension.  The Government of Viet Nam has traditionally placed a high priority on achieving gender equality. Viet Nam is today a leader in the Asian region in providing equal access to education for boys and girls. Yet, despite the express commitment of the Government in the fields of education and employment, Vietnamese women are still under-represented in leadership roles in both the public and private sectors.

The project takes an innovative approach, but one that hopes to meet the Government’s emerging requirements for excellence in its civil service in the era of globalization, whilst contributing to greater participation of Vietnamese women in the country’s leadership.

The partnership with the University of Cambridge, one of the world’s leading research and academic institutions, will be of high value to achieve these objectives. I would like to thank His Excellency Vice Minister Dao Viet Trung, Director General Vu Quang Minh, the many other colleagues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government Aid Coordination Agencies, for their support and their contribution to the formulation and approval of this project.

I wish you all good health, happiness, and success.

Thank you.