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Speech of Ms. Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator at the launch of the 2011 Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) report

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Date:     3 May 2012
Event:    Launch of the 2011 Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) report

Dear colleagues and friends;

At UN we believe that people should be at the centre of development. So while income growth is of course necessary to improve overall development results, it is also important to focus on human development, by for instance providing better health and education services, and creating strong and effective governance institutions. Putting people at the centre of development also means that we need to capture and listen to the voices of citizens on issues that affect their lives.

In the area of governance and public administration for instance, it is important to know what people’s experiences are of the public services they receive and the ways in which they interact with provincial authorities. It is this kind of bottom-up perspective and people-centered experiences that the Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) captures.

For the 2011 PAPI survey more than 13,000 citizens were consulted on their direct experience of governance and public administration issues. This is the largest survey of its kind in Viet Nam and it is a groundbreaking effort to support a more evidence-based policy making process. The PAPI is a key policy tool to monitor the performance of government institutions and the delivery of basic public services from the perspective of its users and beneficiaries.  

The 2011 Viet Nam Human Development Report shows that while Viet Nam has made good human development progress at the national level, this masks disparities at the sub-national level. The evidence generated by the PAPI can help us to understand some of these provincial disparities – what they involve and where they occur. Using PAPI data, the national Human Development Report also shows that there is a strong correlation between elements of good governance and higher levels of human development. In other words, good governance matters in furthering human development.
Important progress has been made in the ongoing efforts to reform Viet Nam’s public administration system and improve governance. A recent example is Resolution 30c on the State Administration Reform Master Programme for 2011 to 2020, which recognizes that the challenge for the next stage of reform is to modernize the public sector. This can be done, for instance, by strengthening the public sector’s responsibilities in implementation of policies and ensuring a more active monitoring role for non-state actors in evaluating public administration performance.

In particular, more effective monitoring systems that can assess public administration performance from the point of view of citizens, as the end-users of public services, are needed. The PAPI initiative plays a key role in this area.  

More than just ranking provinces and pointing fingers at good or weak performers, PAPI complements and supports the implementation of the current public administration reforms. It does so in four key ways. First, by providing an objective and rigorous tool for monitoring the performance of public administration and public service delivery. Second, by providing sound evidence for policy making. Third, by providing incentives for cooperation between provinces to share and replicate experiences of good policy implementation and citizen satisfaction. And finally, by providing more space for citizens to raise their voice and for public officials and authorities to learn about citizens’ preferences, frustrations and recommendations.

The fact that we have reached this important milestone is in large part due to the excellent collaboration between all partners. This includes the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF) and its Front Review, as well as the cooperation and partnership extended by the local VFF chapters. Without this very strong support from the VFF, research of this size and nature would otherwise have been extremely difficult and not nearly as successful.

I would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES) for their excellent role in coordinating, facilitating and implementing the research. We also welcome the recent incorporation of the Commission on Peoples’ Petition, under the Standing Committee of the National Assembly, as a key partner. And of course a big thank you to all the members of the PAPI National Advisory Board.

Over the next couple of months, we are planning to organize a series of regional and provincial level discussions on the findings from the research. This will help to support provincial level monitoring and deepen the discussions at the provincial level. We hope these policy discussions will help both policy makers and the international development community to better understand Vietnamese people’s aspirations and experiences, and draw concrete lessons on how to reduce corruption, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of governance and citizen satisfaction with public administration.

Last but not least, I would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for the support provided by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and more recently the support by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

Thank you very much for your participation this morning. We look forward to your feedback and comments after today’s launch.