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Speech by Ms. Louise Chamberlain, on behalf of UN Team at the Consultation Workshop on the Draft National Action Plan for implementing the 2030

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Date: 10 November 2016        
Event: Consultation Workshop on the Draft National Action Plan for implementing the 2030 Agenda
Venue: Pan Pacific Ha Noi, No 01, Thanh Nien Street, Ha Noi

Mr. Nguyen The Phuong, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment;
Government partners;
Private sector and civil society stakeholders;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me begin by congratulating, on behalf of United Nations in Viet Nam, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), for completion of a draft National Action Plan, and for taking forward implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We welcome the Action Plan, which underscores the Government’s   commitment to implement actions to achieve the SDGs in Viet Nam.  And we are pleased to see that the key SDG principles of ownership; inclusion and participation; universality - and crucially- equity figure strongly in the text.

We also commend the Government, and MPI specifically, for a broader consultative development process, particularly the engagement of a variety of stakeholders, drawn from the private sector and civil society. This is an important first step towards adoption of a “whole-of-society” approach to implementing the 2030 Agenda.  I want to underline that delivering the goals will require joint and collective actions, within and outside of government. The SDGs are, and must be, the business of everyone.

The SDGs also mark a turning point in global development planning and requires a step change in approach and practice. A business as usual strategy simply will not succeed. The SDGs are much more comprehensive and ambitious than the forerunner MDGs. They are more expansive and more comprehensive, with 17 goals as opposed to 8; and call for absolute rather that proportionate improvements – including the eradication of poverty, full equality between the genders, and to leave no community and no one, behind. Delivering on this agenda requires changes in the role and conduct of Governments, specifically mechanisms employed to facilitate development and empower people. In addition to delivering and regulating better, Governments also need to engage, motivate and encourage citizens, business and civil society.

I would emphasize four sets of issues, which need to be addressed in further developing the Action Plan as well as in the steps to follow during its implementation in the coming years:

First, the importance of transparent and robust data sources and evidence in tracking SDG progress cannot be underscored enough. Beyond rigorous measurement is the importance of progressively opening up the space for a diversity of data sources including new approaches as well as drawing more on non-official data sources. The complexity of the sustainable development agenda suggests a revolution in the quality of data and level of disaggregation is needed. This will require further innovation, flexibility and openness on the part of national statistical systems.

It will also be important to open up new avenues for data analysis - allowing also stakeholders outside Government to freely access data. Supporting multi-stakeholder research to help articulate policy choices and improve implementation performance can also be genuinely transformative, by giving incentives for the actions of other stakeholders and citizens.

Second, is the question of target selection and setting, and adoption of a rights-based approach within planning with the aim of attaining equity.  “Leaving no one behind” requires that all forms of inequalities and discrimination between different population groups are addressed and actively targeted and planned for. The new Agenda calls for reaching the furthest first to address inequalities and meeting the needs of the most vulnerable. This should include the ethnic minorities, the poor, the marginalized and excluded – but also those at risk – such as the near poor, including informal sector workers, migrants and the elderly. It is important that every stage of the process reflect disaggregation and prioritization to help achieve the goals.

Third, the Action Plan needs to build a sound basis for the integration of the SDGs within Viet Nam’s development plans and policies at all levels, from the SEDS and SEDP down. A key challenge is to address the interconnections, fostering win-wins and managing trade-offs, for example in balancing economic growth with social and environmental development.

Consideration might be given to prioritizing goals and targets within policymaking and resource allocation. This would help the Government to balance and focus its efforts given the broad agenda and enormous challenges faced versus the limited resources. A financing strategy might also be crafted within the SEDP, setting out how the Government plans to mobilize additional public and private sector resources and engender action for each priority across the whole of society.

The SDGs need to be “unpacked” at different levels to ensure ownership, feasibility of implementation, and effective budget allocations. While goals and targets can be given a “home” within host ministries, promoting effective collaboration and reaching out to external actors is vital, alongside mainstreaming in policy making.

The Action Plan should therefore also identify the leadership and the cross-government institutions and inter-sectoral coordination mechanisms that need to be put in place.  As in other countries, elected bodies have a particular role to play in oversight and enhancing implementation effectiveness.

Fourth, I want again to emphasize the importance of pursuing an inclusive and participatory approach for ownership and successful delivery of actions to reach the goals.  The VSDGs need to be owned by all people, all ethnic groups, women as well as men, and those who are socially excluded.  This further emphasizes the need for partnerships with civil society, the private sector, communities and citizens - this applies in target setting, planning, implementation efforts and monitoring and evaluation – and requires free, meaningful and active participation.

It is encouraging to hear Vice Minister Phuong emphasize that the Action Plan’s formulation process has been highly participatory, and to see the participatory principle reflected in text. The Plan would be strengthened making clear the role of civil society and the private sector in VSDG implementation, for example by forming national sectoral and cross-sectoral forums, and co-opting external stakeholders within the M&E process

Ladies and Gentlemen the UN Country Team is confident that with a wealth of experience from implementation of the MDGs and active engagement in the global SDG consultations and preparations, Viet Nam can achieve success also on the SDGs.

The UN agencies are committed to do its part and to offer international global experience, technical expertise, and development solutions to support Viet Nam during this process.  We will make our contribution through the UN’s One Strategic Plan which is SDG-centric and human rights based. The UN will work with both rights-holders and duty-bearers to contribute to no one being left behind, through interventions and inter-sectoral collaboration.

For today’s discussion and follow-up consultations, we look forward to the dialogue on how Viet Nam will be taking this process forward, on the issues I have raised.  We are keen to hear additional perspectives from different stakeholders, on how well the draft reflects the spirit of the 2030 Agenda; and its relevance to Vietnam.

I again congratulate the MPI and the Vice Minister in organizing today’s consultation. I wish all participants a successful workshop and I look forward to engaging with you all on how we together can support Viet Nam’s efforts.  

Xin cam on!