Representatives from a number of mountainous provinces, businesses and experts gathered in the northern central province of Thanh Hoa from July 16-18 to discuss how to maintain infrastructure facilities in disadvantaged areas.

The workshop also saw the participation of Deputy Minister and Vice Chairman of the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs Son Phuoc Hoan and Fiona Quinn from the Embassy of Ireland in Vietnam.

During the three day event, participants shared their experience in maintaining small-scale facilities in disadvantaged areas, which have benefited from the Government’s Programme 135 on developing isolated and mountainous areas.

They highlighted the importance of involving local authorities, communities and diverse financial resources, especially in the construction, management and operation of the facilities.

They also discussed solutions to deal with the difficulties faced by localities, including the establishment or improvement of the legal framework, while also enhancing the capacity and roles of communities.

Under Programme 135, hundreds of thousands of infrastructure facilities in various scales have been built in particularly disadvantaged mountainous communes, making a significant contribution to local socio-economic development.

The Government also approved an investment of almost 12.4 trillion VND (579 million USD), with a majority of funding allocated from the State budget for the maintenance of infrastructure facilities in disadvantaged areas as part of the national target programme on sustainable poverty reduction in the 2012-2015 period.

Chairman of the People’s Committee of Du Sang commune in Kim Boi district in Hoa Binh province, Bach Cong Quynh, highlighted the role of local residents in maintaining hundreds of communal facilities.

A project funded by Irish Aid has been piloted in the six poorest communes in the province since late 2013, and has proven effective in terms of maintenance, according to Quynh.-VNA