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Viet Nam & UN
Intervention by Ambassador Bui The Giang, Deputy Representative of Viet Nam to the United Nations on One UN Reform
11-17-2008, 12:23 pm


by Ambassador Bui The Giang, Deputy Representative of Viet Nam to the United Nations on One UN Reform

New York, 19 November 2008

Mr. President,

          Thank you very much for organizing this important meeting. I also thank the Chairman of the IPU Advisory Group and Ambassador Augustine Mahiga of Tanzania and Ambassador John P. Kavanagh of Ireland for their introduction to and careful and practical observations of what have so far been achieved in realizing “Delivering as One” on the ground, and the panelists for their valuable discussion and contribution.

          I strongly believe that this follow-up review will definitely maintain and add momentum to the process of further improving efficiency and effectiveness of UN development work at the national level.

Mr. President,

          In my country, the One UN Initiative process effectively started in February 2006, although both Government and UN agencies tried to better use of ODA, including UN assistance, long before the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Hanoi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness in July 2005.

          The idea had been shared by many UN Agencies, but its materialization in reality has never been so smooth.That the concept of One UN has to be changed to “Delivering as One” alone spoke for itself. At first UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNIFEM, UNADS and UNV joined the Initiative. And all the remaining 8 agencies, which are FAO, IFAD, ILO, UNESCO, UNODC, WHO, IOM, UN-Habitat, followed suit only a year later.

          In that spirit, both Government and UN agencies have engaged in efforts to work out and implement the 5 Ones, which are One Management, One Plan, One Budget, One set of Management Practices and One UN House.

Mr. President,

For practical reasons, let me briefly take stock of progress and challenges of the process of implementing the Initiative in my country. I am happy to note that progress has been seen in all 5 Ones.

With regard to the One Plan, I would say that the principles and road map for implementing it was approved by our Prime Minister in May 2007. This Plan would be implemented in phases. In phase one, it was intended to include UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNV, UNAIDS and UNIFEM. In phase two, the plan will be expanded to cover FAO, IFAD, ILO, UNESCO, UNODC, WHO, IOM, UN-Habitat.  

With the recent establishement of the One Plan Steering Committee headed by a Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the UNRC as its Co-Chairs, both Government and all UN agencies will be abiding by the one and the same plan and trying as to how their plan can best support the country in its socio-economic development.

The UN has also set up 11 Program Coordination Groups, which will coordinate work in 11 main sectors. Thanks to this simplification and harmonization, instead of the 100 plus meetings to review work of projects and programs, it is necessary now to sit for 11 metings. As a result of this new development,  UN programs have become more comprehensive and can better increase their scope of cooperation with the country. It thus helps increase the number of their joint-programs, to quote only one example.

With regard to the One Budget, one has to say that, in fact, it was inseparably reflected in the process of articulating the One Plan. Toward this end, a Common Plan Fund together with its management regulations was also established. Until now it has been generally accepted that resources mobilization and a more effective and efficient use of it is feasible.

In order for the One Plan Management to work, the draft Harmonized Program/Project Management Guidelines (HPPMG) has been made available, harmonizing Government’s and UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF in programs and projects they funded. Its rently completed 5th draft will soon be sent to UN agency Headquarters and our Prime Minister for approval, possibly by the end of this year. Once aproved,  the HPPMG will first be applied by UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF. And by 2010, all other UN Agencies will apply the HPPMG.

Also to this end, an Operating Plan Management (OPMP) has been set up to be oversee cooperation between Government and UN agencies in various priority sectors and branches.

I now wish to have a few words about the One Leader.  Actually, this is the formation of a common mechanism and organization whereby the one common leader who will act as UN Coordinator and to whom more power has to be delegated. With this drastic change in place, each UN agency would have its own National Director instead of having a Resident Representative. The idea is also now under consideration by UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF Headquarters.  In parallel, all the 14 agencies in the countries are discussing a mandate for the Coordinator and his/her relations with other would-be UN National Directors. If approved, the “format” will soon be applied in Viet Nam .

Finally, the One UN House is receiving positive response to and support of UN agency Headquarters and a number of donors. Bilateral consultations concerning technical and professional aspects are taking place, while a land plot has been marked out by the Government. As planned,  construction of the One UN House will be completed in 2009-2010. The only lingering problem is each agency’s financial contribution.

Without prejudging the evaluation of “Delivering as One” in 2009, I just want to refer to the initial common  agreement of the Government and UN agencies and donors in my country that, in spite of difficulties and challenges in reaching consensus at first among UN agencies, concerning goals and targets of the reform, implementation of the “Delivering as One” in Viet Nam, has been proven to be effective. Cooperation between UN agencies and the Government has become comprehensive, especially with the UN Resident Coordinator and heads of the 14 UN Agencies in the country actively taking part in the process.

It is yet to be quantified, but all these first fruitful achievements have paved the way to reducing transaction costs, time consumption, simplification and harmonization of administrative workload, while at the same time improving ownership, transparency and accountability.

Although it is still early to arrive at any conclusion, I wish to reconfirm that, experiences so far gathered in my country have shown  that there is no one size fits all, and that experiences in one country can’t automatically be used in other countries. But each one, for her own benefit,  would have to be creative and practical enough and own this process.

I thank you.

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