The Government announced on April 18 that it will establish forums where scientists and experts in various fields will debate the country's socio-economic development policies and projects.

Decision 501, posted on the Government website, said the forums would operate on the basis of honesty, neutrality, non-profitability and humanitarian principles to challenge and identify shortcomings in the country's policies.

Initially operating on a trial basis, the forums are expected to contribute to national development, uphold national interests as well as existing laws and regulations, thus fostering democracy, equality, transparency and openness.

The country's intellectuals, including overseas Vietnamese will be encouraged to not only voice their opinions independently and professionally, but also monitor implementation of policies and projects with the proviso that information concerning national interest and security would be protected.

The Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology will establish and operate the forums over the next five years.

The Government has ordered the Ministry of Science and Technology to facilitate establishment of the forums, support their operations, receive feedback and report them to the Government.

The Ministry of Finance has been asked to build a financial mechanism for the forums that will allow them operate with State budget together with funds raised from other legitimate parties.-VNA