Hanoi, 24 June 2003

Speech by Mr. Gerben de Jong, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Vietnam, on the occasion of the signing ceremony of the project PAR MARD phase II, June 24th, 2003.

It’s my great honour to be here today at the office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and together with UNDP to sign the second phase of the project “Support to the Administration Reform programme of MARD”.

For more than a year since the PAR Master Program for the period 2001-2010 was approved by the Prime Minister in September 2001, the PAR Program in Vietnam has markedly improved. The various PAR projects hosted by different ministries, sectors and local governments are well aligned with the master plan under the guidance of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The first phase of the Public Administration Reform project in MARD is being considered as one of the most successful public administration reform projects so far. An important achievement of MARD in this context is the formulation of its 5-year PAR Action Plan, which set the standards also relevant for other Ministries. With the first ever Farmer Needs Assessment Survey, MARD went down to grassroots level to learn about the needs of its most important customers, the farmers.

The Netherlands Embassy has been involved with PAR for a long time now, starting off with pilot projects in Quang Binh in 1996 and in Hai Phong in 1998. Subsequently came the first phase of this project with the MARD from 2000 to 2003. In 2002 the Embassy also co-financed the PAR Master plan secretariat. We are extremely satisfied to see that the first phase of PAR in MARD has worked out so well. This success also reflects the support for PAR by the Government of Vietnam. The Public Administration Reform Program is of key importance to Vietnam’s future development and therefore deserves our full support.

The Public Administration Reform in MARD is central to the development program of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Vietnam. It is linked to the Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (CPRGS) that constitutes the policy basis for the Netherlands Embassy program, as well as to the Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) that is co-financed by the Netherlands Embassy.

With the contribution of 2,3 million US$, the Government of the Netherlands pledges to support the second phase of the project which will last for three years from 2003- 2006. We sincerely hope that in this second phase the programs set out in the first phase will be implemented in the spirit of MARD’s PAR Action Plan 2005. Achieving its objectives will set a valuable example for other Ministries in the public administration reform process.

We wish you good luck and all the success with the project.

Thank you very much for your attention

For further information, please contact the Netherlands Embassy in Hanoi (Mr. Hanspeter Verhoeff or Ms. Do Thi Thu Trang, Economic and Commercial section) at tel: 8315650