UNDP project to help Vietnam further corruption fight hinh anh 1The UNDP project expected to help improve capacity in good governance, transparency, and integrity in public health procurement in Vietnam - Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on October 18 launched a new project to improve Vietnam’s implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

The project is supported by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs under the US Department of State, and the UNDP’s Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies (ACPIS) Global Programme. It is partly sponsored by the Norwegian Government through the ACPIS programme, with an aim to improving anti-corruption and transparency in the health sector in Vietnam.

As a result of its comprehensive economic reforms from 1986, Vietnam’s economic growth has recently been ranked among the highest in the region.

Recognising corruption as a major obstacle to economic development, the Vietnamese Party and State have carried out different reforms to increase confidence of people, businesses and foreign investors in public governance, and step up the fight against corruption and negative phenomena. This project aims to support these reforms.

The 27-month project is expected to help enhance capacities of anti-corruption agencies in effective measurement and monitoring of SDG anticorruption targets, and increase participation of the society in anti-corruption fight;  strengthen anti-corruption legal framework and law enforcement in the implementation of UNCAC commitments and recommendations on preventive measures and asset recovery; and improve capacity in good governance, transparency, and integrity in public health procurement in Vietnam.

Addressing the launch, UNDP Resident Representative Designate in Vietnam Ramla Khalidi highlighted the need to involve all stakeholders in corruption control and prevention.

“UNDP recognises the importance of mainstreaming anti-corruption as a cross-cutting enabler for the broader development agenda and the need to incorporate anti-corruption measures in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda,” she said. “In this regard, we continue to work on strengthening the role of anti-corruption networks of governments, civil society, businesses and academia to promote a ‘whole-of-society approach’ to preventing and combating corruption.”

Khalidi also noted that ICT and new technologies could be a game changer in preventing and combating corruption. “There is clear synergy between the UNDP Digital Strategy and Vietnam’s Digital Transformation Plan, and I look forward to further engagement with Government on supporting their digital transformation efforts over the coming years,” she said.

According to the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI), after 10 years of progressive improvement, there were declining levels of satisfaction in 2021, for example with health services, particularly those provided by public district hospitals. There was a slight annual increase in the number of citizens who revealed that bribes were necessary to realise better care at public district hospitals (from 27 to 28%). At the same time, overall control of corruption in the public sector saw the first decline, although not statistically significant (from 6.90 to 6.88 points) since the anti-corruption campaign was initiated by the Communist Party of Vietnam in 2016.

These results demonstrate the complexity and challenges of governing through a global pandemic, which are not unique to Vietnam but to all countries around the world. They also highlight the absolute necessity to further strengthen the implementation of UNCAC, to ensure a recovery from the pandemic that is fair to everyone and leaves no one behind.

In June of this year, in collaboration with the UNDP, the VCCI published a report on business perceptions of public procurement. The report found that over one-third of businesses agree that paying a commission is essential to improve chances of winning a contract. This figure rises to 50% for businesses supplying medical equipment to public medical service providers.

“The cost of corruption is greater than the sum of lost money,” Hilde Solbakken, Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam, stressed in her remarks. “It undermines the ability of the state to promote sustainable and inclusive growth. It drains public resources away from education, health care, and effective infrastructure - the kinds of investments that can improve economic performance and raise living standards for all.”

The UN Convention Against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. UNCAC and its Implementation Review Mechanism have been critical in stimulating anti-corruption reforms and strengthening national commitments to act against corruption. Vietnam ratified UNCAC in 2009 and since then has continued strengthening its implementation./.