The Ministry of Justice and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on Nov. 27 kicked off a project to strengthen access to justice and the protection of rights in Vietnam.

The 5-year project, which has a total investment of 6.4 million USD funded by the UNDP, will assist Vietnam in implementing legal and judicial reform activities between now and 2014. It will help the Secretariat of the Central Judicial Reform Steering Committee conduct research on the implementation of the Judicial Reform Strategy towards 2020.

The project, which is supported by bilateral donors through the One-UN Fund, also aims to strengthen partnerships and aid coordination between the Vietnamese government, donors and social organisations.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Minister of Justice Ha Hung Cuong said that the project will help create a new cooperation framework and open a new chapter in legal and judiciary cooperation between Vietnam and the international community. The implementation of the project will help realise objectives set out in the country’s 10-year socio-economic development strategy as well as plans to implement the One-UN Initiative and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said.

According to UNDP Country Director in Vietnam Setsuko Yamazaki, reaching a middle income will be a challenge for Vietnam ’s legal and judicial reforms and this requires to have a law-governed state with wider access to justice and stronger legal rights granted to poor people.

The project represents UNDP’s continued commitment to supporting the country’s important reform efforts, she said./.