Vietnam will continue to strengthen its public governance and develop mechanisms to better engage the public and other stakeholders in improving policymaking, anti-corruption and citizens' access to justice, especially those from vulnerable groups.

This statement was made on November 14 by Deputy Minister of Justice Hoang The Lien at a meeting convened by the United Nations in Vietnam and the Vietnamese Government.

The United Nations in Vietnam launched the Delivering as One in 2006 with six mutually reinforcing pillars - one plan, one budget, one leader, one set of management practices, one voice and one UN house – to avoid duplication and improve coherence and coordination to help UN agencies work more effectively together.

As part of the initiative, the Vietnamese Government and 17 UN agencies signed the One Plan 2012-16 in March last year which aims to promote inclusive, equitable and green growth, people's access to quality social services, and stronger governance and participation.

At the meeting, Lien applauded the support of UN agencies, noting that the mechanism has helped the country and the agencies to maximise resources and jointly address pressing issues in Vietnam.

For example, in-depth research on key amendments to the Constitution include local governance, human rights provisions, the change from four months to six months maternity leave in the Labour Code and a new ban on advertising breast milk substitutes for children aged below 24 months in the Law on Advertising.

UN agencies also helped speed up the introduction and adoption of laws including the Law on the Handling of Administrative Violations, the Law on the Prevention and Combating of Human Trafficking, and the Law on Persons with Disabilities.

The UN annual report, titled "Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index", captured public opinion about the country's administrative performance through their own experience.

Director of Criminal and Administrative Laws under the Justice Ministry Nguyen Kim Thoa said that Vietnam wants to put human rights at the heart of any policymaking process to develop the legal system.

She noted that there was gap between laws and regulations and law enforcement in the country, and that UN support helped translate and implement laws more effectively.

Thoa said that limited funding and experience are major challenges for the country to overcome.

As a Co-chair of the Focus Area Coordination Group 3 of the One Plan 2012-2016 on Governance and Participation, the country manager of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Zhuldyz Akisheva, said the UN has a unique role to play in helping the Government to leverage resources, using its convening power and normative role to ensure resources are utilised effectively in the interests of the ultimate beneficiaries – the Vietnamese public.

Nguyen Thi Kim Lien, a governance adviser from the UK Department for International Development, said that as Vietnam became a middle income country, donor assistance may fall or be redirected from capacity building to policy making and technical aid.

However, she said so far, State agencies has still been hesitant to seek advice from civil societies and organisations. She said the UN agencies should create forum in which civil societies could join.-VNA