Launch Workshop: Strengthening Viet Nam’s implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)

October 18, 2022

Ms. Ramla Khalidi, Resident Representative, UNDP Viet Nam, delivered opening remarks at the Launch Workshop: Strengthening Viet Nam’s implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

UNDP Viet Nam
UNDP Viet Nam

Your Excellency Mdm. Melissa Bishop, Charge D’Affaires, US Embassy to Viet Nam,

Your Excellency Mdm. Hilde Solbakken, Norwegian Embassy to Viet Nam,

Dear partners from government,

Representatives from diplomatic missions, business, non-governmental organisations, the United Nations, and media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning, Xin Chao!

On behalf of UNDP, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you here to Green One UN House for the launch of the project ‘Strengthening Viet Nam’s Implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption’, more commonly known as UNCAC.

Thank you for taking time to be with us here this morning!

The UN Convention Against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The Convention's far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a truly global and complex problem. UNCAC was ratified by Viet Nam in 2009 and the Government of Viet Nam has continued to strengthen its implementation since then.

Across the globe, UNDP supports member states’ in their efforts to implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption. UNCAC and its Implementation Review Mechanism have been critical in stimulating anti-corruption reforms and strengthening national commitments to act against corruption.

Most importantly, governance and anti-corruption reforms are critical for accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-covid recovery. Global advocacy through UNCAC has highlighted the crucial role of SDG 16 and its anti-corruption targets in shaping the effective governance needed for sustainable development, peace and security.

Here in Viet Nam, there is recognition of the need to tackle corruption in order to achieve socio-economic development. In 2021, a Resolution of the Party’s 13th National Congress reiterated the promotion of transparency and accountability as a priority, while resolving to “push ahead with the fight against corruption, wastefulness, bureaucracy, crime and social ills.”

However, as Viet Nam moves beyond the COVID pandemic, there are many challenges and concerns which must be addressed.

Since 2009, the Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index, better known to many of you as PAPI, has collected more than 160,000 responses from ordinary citizens on their opinions and experiences with national and local governance, public administration, and public service delivery. After 10 years of progressive improvement, the 2021 survey data now shows declining levels of satisfaction, for example with health services, particularly those provided by public district hospitals.  There was a slight annual increase in the number of citizens who revealed that bribes were necessary to realize better care at public district hospitals (from 27 to 28 percent). At the same time, overall control of corruption in the public sector saw the first decline, although not statistically significant (from 6.90 to 6.88 points) since the anti-corruption campaign was initiated by the Communist Party of Viet Nam in 2016.

These results demonstrate the complexity and challenges of governing through a global pandemic, which are not unique to Viet Nam but to all countries around the world. They also highlight the absolute necessity to further strengthen the implementation of UNCAC, to ensure a recovery from the pandemic that is fair to everyone and leaves no one behind.

In June of this year, in collaboration with UNDP, VCCI published a report on business perceptions of public procurement. The report found that over one third of businesses agree that “paying a commission is essential to improve chances of winning a contract”. This figure rises to 50% for businesses supplying medical equipment to public medical service providers.

Corruption in public health procurement leads to inaccessibility of drugs and medical technologies, increased prices for patients, and further challenges the achievement of SDG 3 in relation to good health and wellbeing. For this reason, the portion of this project funded by the Norwegian Government, through the UNDP ACPIS Initiative, or Anti-Corruption for Peaceful Inclusive Societies, has a specific focus on improving anti-corruption and transparency in the health sector in Viet Nam. I am heartened to see the enthusiasm from Government, in particular from the Ministry of Health and the Government Inspectorate of Viet Nam, to pursue these activities in the area of health.

INL-funded aspects of this project concentrate on other recommendations from the UNCAC 2nd Review Cycle Executive Summary Report such as improving policy, legal framework and capacities in relation to asset recovery, expanding the definition of conflict of interest, supporting a pilot of a Ministerial Anti-Corruption Assessment Index, and improving engagement with non-state actors on anti-corruption. A more detailed presentation will follow about the scope and expected results of the project.

Dear colleagues and partners,

Strengthening governance and anti-corruption efforts have been a priority for UNDP during the last three decades and this is even more important now, if we hope to meet the needs of our planet and our people without leaving anyone behind.

UNDP recognizes the importance of mainstreaming anti-corruption as a cross-cutting enabler for the broader development agenda and the need to incorporate anti-corruption measures in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, we continue to work on strengthening the role of anti-corruption networks of governments, civil society, businesses and academia to promote a “whole-of-society approach” to preventing and combating corruption.

UNDP also firmly believes that ICT and new technologies could be a game changer in preventing and combating corruption. UNDP’s new Strategic Plan (2022-2025) and its Digital Strategy recognize and leverage the tremendous potential of using digital technologies to solve complex development challenges. I’m looking forward to what no doubt will be an interesting panel discussion later this morning on the use of digital technologies to strengthen implementation of UNCAC in Viet Nam. There is clear synergy between the UNDP Digital Strategy and Viet Nam’s Digital Transformation Plan, and I look forward to further engagement with Government on supporting their digital transformation efforts over the coming years.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Much of the work we do in many countries is only possible thanks to the strong support and cooperation of our donor and programme partners.

I would like to sincerely thank the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (or INL) of the State Department of the United States of America and the Norwegian Government for their generous financial support which is enabling this important work. I’m glad that Charge D’Affaires Bishop and Ambassador Solbakken can join us here today, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for their ongoing support as partners of UNDP in Viet Nam.

Successful implementation of development initiatives also requires the strong engagement of Government. With this project that engagement is clear to be seen! Today we launch a collaboration between UNDP and many areas of Government and business, including the Central Commission for Internal Affairs, The Government Inspectorate of Viet Nam, the Ministry of Justice, Supreme People’s Procuracy, Supreme People’s Court, Ministry of Health and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It is very promising to see that the importance of the subject of this project is being matched with the enthusiasm of all participants!

In closing, let me reiterate UNDP’s unwavering commitment to strengthen the synergies between the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism and the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda. We look forward to supporting the implementation of this project and to witnessing a strengthened implementation of UNCAC in Viet Nam!

Thank you.

Xin cảm ơn.