[Closing] UN Viet Nam Common Country Analysis 2021: Multi-Stakeholder Consultation

Closing remarks by Kamal Malhotra, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Viet Nam

  • Government Representatives, Partners and Colleagues,

In closing this Common Country Analysis (CCA) Multi-stakeholder Consultation Meeting, I would like to first thank you for your participation, deliberations, insights and suggestions during this consultation. It has been a long but, I believe, a fruitful day, full of frank and critical exchanges and most importantly a willingness to share and improve on the work so far. While I have not been able to attend all of today, I have been getting updates from colleagues, including during lunch time.

The consultation today, with the presence of Government representatives and experts from NGOs, development partners and the UN was fruitful and useful. I am very happy that the UN was able to bring you all together today, both physically and virtually, in this inclusive and participatory forum to further improve the CCA. The discussions have no doubt provided us with plenty of perspectives and human resources on which we will be leaning in order to enrich and deepen the initial analysis.

Allow me to reiterate the key objectives of this consultation. It was to discuss and solicit feedback from stakeholders on the scope, depth, relevance, practicality and coherence of key findings in the CCA draft prepared by the UN. It was also to garner views, opinions and critical perspectives on key priorities and gaps and to strengthen the evidence base to ensure that the CCA adequately captures what it is intended to.

The morning session, I believe, illuminated some key blind spots and areas that we can zoom in on to strengthen and strategically structure the analysis. For example, we need to further emphasize the multi-dimensional risks emerging which are reinforcing and compounding different issues for vulnerable groups. These include the impact of COVID-19, natural disasters and economic and social challenges that will leave the most vulnerable groups further behind if not prioritized. The rural and urban divide is another critical issue that also, if addressed, has the potential to significantly reduce inequalities as well as accelerate achievement of the SDGs. It is the rural areas where progress on leaving no one behind is most necessary and urgent.

On people-centered social development, data, financing, poverty and social protection remain key concerns for Vietnam and deserve a deeper analysis especially in the context of discrimination – which groups have been left out and also why? Health and nutrition were highlighted, particularly gaps in investment across the health sector, an overload at tertiary levels and increased out of pocket spending. Education, youth, child protection as well as gender issues were discussed comprehensively, with participants sharing critical insights that will help us strengthen the analysis.

On Economic transformation, the discussions revealed a need to deepen the analysis on inclusive growth and multidimensional aspects of economic development more specifically concerning the poor, smallholder farmers, and those living in rural areas. Digital transformation, the improvement of FDI quality and linkages with domestic firms as well as green growth and enhanced competitiveness were also highlighted as transformational areas that need to be better considered in the CCA report. Increasing institutional capacity at various levels and addressing institutional barriers should also be emphasized further since this will be critical to ensuring all policies and strategies are successfully implemented. This is an area that we will be examining more closely as we refine the CCA analysis.

I am told that the discussions on government and justice were very illuminating, with participants sharing that there were some areas where the description of laws was lacking, and that there are discrepancies between the global and national frameworks for monitoring SDG achievement which need to be bridged. This will be important in ensuring that the analysis better reflects these differences whilst providing useful information for future discussions between the Government and the United Nations. There were additional challenges elaborated, such as supporting groups that currently have limited representation in governance processes, especially youth, women and the LGBTI community.

On Environment and Climate Change, greening the economy was high on the list of priorities as well as a consideration of the national integrated risk management framework which participants noted is currently fragmented. A stronger focus on the climate, health and environment nexus would be of value in the analysis and a more in-depth consideration of water and greening the economy.

In the afternoon, cross-cutting issues were focused on prioritizing four areas: youth, gender, financing and transboundary issues which are specifically important for Leave No One Behind perspectives. Many useful ideas were captured, and we are beginning to better understand what you all view as important cross-cutting issues that need to be addressed, and also cross-cutting issues that intersect across topics we had not previously explored in-depth. These will provide a more comprehensive view of cross-cutting issues in Viet Nam.

Now, our remaining tasks will include reviewing today’s meeting outcomes, addressing them and finalizing the draft CCA report in 2021. As noted in my opening remarks, the final CCA will be a guide for the UN’s work in supporting the government and people of Viet Nam. It will help inform the next Cooperation Framework for the period 2022 to 2026. I am reassured after the consultation that the next version of the CCA will cover a much more comprehensive discussion of sustainable development challenges in Viet Nam benefiting from the rich discussion today.

In terms of a timeline, today’s meeting kicks off a series of smaller more targeted consultations we will also be having on the CCA between now and its finalization probably in March 2021. Please note once again, that this CCA Report will be a living document which will be updated as Viet Nam marks critical milestones of development in the future. We look forward to continuing to work closely with you to ensure that the CCA reflects the UN’s commitment to making sure that no one is left behind.

I highly appreciate the participation of everyone—both online and in-person—for bringing in your expertise and perspectives, which as I mentioned before is central to improving the quality integrity of this report. Last but not least, I would like to thank every moderator, presenter and the rapporteurs for playing key roles in making this consultation the success it appears to have been.

Your presence and representation reflect and resonate with the theme of the United Nations this year as we have been commemorating the 75th anniversary of its establishment. The most important global priority of UN75 was to “listen to the people” in order to ensure no one is left behind. I would like to reassure you that the UN stands ready to continue doing this and will continue to convene and provide such platforms and spaces. I also hope that you will continue to stay committed to actively partnering with the UN in Viet Nam.

Thank you! Xin cảm ơn!

Speech by
Author
Kamal Malhotra
UN Resident Coordinator
RCO
KM profile
UN entities involved in this initiative
RCO
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office