People's Participation Working Group

The People's Participation Working Group (PPWG) was established in 1999. It is an informal network that acts as a forum for organisations and professionals - such as donors, government employees, NGOs, project managers, consultants and researchers - to exchange information and ideas on issues relating to people’s participation, grassroots democracy and civil society. The PPWG is open to all  who are interested in contributing to sharing information and carrying out joint goals and objectives.

As a partnership group, it provides inputs to the Vietnam Consultative Group, the high-level meeting held twice a year between the Vietnamese Government and the donor community.

The overall goal of the People's Participation Working Group is to promote people's participation in the development and poverty reduction process of Vietnam. The specific objectives of the group are to:

  1. Enhance exchange of information and coordination amongst PPWG members.
  2. Advocate and promote an enabling environment for effective people's participation in the development and poverty reduction process of Vietnam.
  3. Facilitate dialogue and improved understanding of people's participation experiences and lessons learned among different stakeholders (state, civil society, international organisations, donor community).

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Contact Information

Ms Nguyen Thi Bich Diep, Chairperson
Email: vandiep_nguyen@yahoo.com

Papers and Resources

PPWG Overview

The People's Participation Working Group was established to promote the implementation of the Government of Vietnam's Grassroots Democracy Decree, people's participation in development programmes and projects.

Government Decree No. 29, 1998 (including later amendments promulgated through Decree No. 79, 2003) established the principles of grassroots democracy at the commune level. These principles are: “people know, people discuss, people decide, and people supervise."

This decree entails the rights of people to be informed about local development policies and budgets, to be consulted about economic development and other plans, to participate in decisions about community contributions to projects, and to monitor the activities of the elected representatives at the local level. Therefore, the Grassroots Democracy Decree is the legal basis for people's participation in making decisions that effect their lives and development.

The People's Participation Working Group forms part of a network of thematic Development Partnership Groups, which facilitate information exchange and government-donor coordination and provide input to the Vietnam Consultative Group Meetings, the high-level meetings between the Government and donor agencies.

The group emerged,  together with the Public Administration Reform Partnership Group, out of the Governance Group in 1998 and its first meeting was held in February 1999.

In 2003, the group, then called the Civil Society Working Group, decided to take stock and reconsider its purpose and activities. As a result, the group decided to change the name to the People's Participation Working Group, and draw up a mission statement reflecting the revised orientation, objectives and character of the group.

Participation

The People's Participation Working Group is open for all who have interests in the promotion of people’s participation. The group soundly believe in participatory development and advocates for greater involvement of local people, knowledge, priorities and skills as a key to development.

The group conceives people’s participation as a multi-dimensional process through which socially, politically and economically marginalised people and non-State actors increase their involvement in decision-making processes that affect their lives.

The group is devoted to tackling and properly integrating a number of key concepts related to participatory development into the Vietnamese context such as grassroots democracy, civil society, decentralisation and empowerment.

The People's Participation Working Group approaches these concepts from an impartial perspective, acknowledging the very fact that truly democratic systems cannot be imported, but can be homegrown and internally-led, developed and improved. The strengthening of the channels and mechanisms of people’s participation, along with the creation of innovative participatory arrangements within existing local institutional frameworks, can contribute significantly to the enhancement and consolidation of any country’s socio-economic development process.

Accordingly, the group concentrates it efforts and resources on the following four directions:

Information and knowledge exchange: The group focuses on sharing focused and needs-based information, experiences and policy research on relevant government and civil society initiatives that have impacts on people’s participation.

Promotion of thematic dialogues among key stakeholders: The group seeks to facilitate an enabling environment for open dialogues amongst INGO/VNGOs and other important stakeholders from government, mass-organisations and donors, and foster their active participation in discussions on relevant issues related to people’s participation.

Institutional advocacy: The PPWG proactively seeks opportunities to bring value-added inputs to decision-making processes affecting policies and initiatives on people’s participation, grassroots democracy and civil society development.

Networking: The PPWG seeks to strengthen networks and forge clearer links between the group and relevant stakeholders in order to update and better coordinate the group’s activities.

Working Definitions of People's Participation

Participation is the process of including and empowering stakeholders in decision-making that affects people's lives and their development.

There are three main dimensions to participation:

  1. Civil Society
  2. Decentralisation
  3. Democracy

People participate by forming civil society organisations and taking part in activities that are decentralised to commune and village levels and being involved in democratic processes.

In Vietnam, the five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan (2006-2010) constitutes, among others, the strategic vehicle to reach the overall objectives of socio-economic development and poverty reduction, including the Millennium Development Goals and the Vietnamese Development Goals to which the Vietnamese Government is committed.

The Millennium Development Goals and the Vietnamese Development Goals emphasise the need for good governance for poverty reduction. With regards to participation, the national development strategies referred to above clearly articulate the need to:

The strategies further point out the need to provide a legal framework for NGOs and for civil society and community organisation at the local level. The aim is to improve the poor people's participation in development processes and improve their capability to overcome poverty.

Activities

Through its activities, mainly in the form of workshops and meetings, the People's Participation Working Group contributes to:

Its activities include:

PPWG Activity Plans, Documents and Matrices 2006-2008

2008

2007

2006

PPWG Meetings & Events 2008

Introduction
In collaboration with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), UNDP is supporting research in the field of evidence-based policy advocacy in Viet Nam. The aim of this work is to develop the capacity of Vietnamese researchers to use research based on scientific evidence to inform and support sound government policies.

Within the framework of the “Assistance to the Twenty Year Review of Doi Moi” project, VASS is undertaking an assessment of the ways in which evidence-based research currently links to policy development in Viet Nam. As part of this work, a workshop was organised in collaboration with the PPWG on May 16, at 8:30am in Room 3D at the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences to bring together VASS researchers and members of the PPWG, which include representatives from non-government organisations (NGOs), civil society organisations (CSOs) and donors, to share experiences about the role that research has played in shaping policy dialogue and decision-making processes.

The workshop consisted of: an introduction to key concepts and tools related to evidence based policy advocacy; a discussion of experinces from abroad that highlight the potential links between CSOs, NGOs and research institutes; a presentation of the results of the needs assessment on evidence-based policy advocacy that has been carried out in VASS; and a presentation outlining the experiences of the PPWG in relation to policy development.

Introduction

In response to the broad rage of changes in Vietnam's socio-economic context since 1999, when the People's Participation Working Group (PPWG) was first established, the PPWG Steering Committee has been revising the PPWG strategy for 2008 to 2010, including a revision of the overall goals and objectives, and strategic directions.

The next important step was to receive feedback from PPWG members on the revised Strategy Draft and to seek comments and advice for successfully implementing the new strategy. Therefore, the PPWG Steering Committee held a consultation meeting on the draft 2008-2010 PPWG strategy on May 6 from 14:00 to 16:30 at the World Bank, 63 Ly Thai To, 1st floor, Vietnam Development Information Center.

The meeting also included a presentation on UNDP's current and planned key programmes and activities relating to peoples’ participation, civil society, and grassroots democracy in Vietnam, and UNDP feedback on the PPWG strategy and how the UNDP might link their work with, and support, the draft revised PPWG strategy and related future activities. For more information, presentations and meeting minutes, click on the links below. 

Relevant documents  

PPWG Meetings and Events 2007

Please click on the links below to read background documents, presentations and meeting notes.

Overview of the Legal Environment Affecting Civil Society Organisations: 2007 Workshop

To take stock of the legislative changes affecting the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) and the active participation of people in the development process of Vietnam, the People's Participation Working Group (PPWG) organised a workshop on 29 May, 2007, at the World Bank in Hanoi on the Legal Environment Affecting CSOs in Vietnam. The workshop's purpose was to share an overview of the law-making process and key legislations that had been recently promulgated or were being drafted relating to CSOs and people's participation.

The workshop aimed to update information and increase awareness among CSOs about the overall legal environment that CSOs are operating in, and identify and discuss opportunities and constraints for CSOs concerning their participation in the socio-economic development process in Vietnam.

Background papers

Presentations

Workshop Reports

PPWG Partnership Notes

Click on the links below to review current and past PPWG Partnership Notes.

PPWG Partnership Note November 2007

People’s Participation Working Group
Partnership Note
Ha Noi, Nov 2007

The People's Participation Working Group (PPWG) was established in 1999 as part of a network of thematic Development Partnership Groups. It is an informal network that acts as a forum for organizations and professionals - donors, government employees, NGOs, project managers, consultants, researchers, etc. - to meet and exchange information and ideas on issues relating to people’s participation, grassroots democracy and civil society. The PPWG is open to all those who are interested in participating and contributing to sharing information and carrying out joint goals and objectives. As a partnership group, PPWG provides inputs to the Consultative Group (CG) meetings, held semi-annually between the Government and donor community.

The PPWG is co-ordinated by an elected Chairperson assisted by a voluntary Steering Committee (former Core Group). This Steering Committee consists currently of 17 members from UNDP, World Bank, Embassy of Finland, international and Vietnamese NGOs, who meet regularly to organise relevant thematic workshops and other events. The current Chairperson is Ms. Vu Thi Bich Hop, Director of SRD (Centre for Sustainable Rural Development). The PPWG is open to all those who are interested in participating and contributing to sharing information and carrying out the joint objectives.

The overall goal of PPWG is to promote people's participation in the development and poverty reduction process of Vietnam. The specific objectives of the group are to:

1.Enhance exchange of information and coordination amongst PPWG members.
2.Advocate and promote an enabling environment for effective people's participation in the development and poverty reduction process of Vietnam.
3.Facilitate dialogue and improved understanding of people's participation experiences and lessons learned among different stakeholders (State, civil society, international organizations, donor community, etc.).

1. Update on PPWG activities in 2007
During the year the Steering Committee of PPWG has used a lot of time on reviewing the objectives and strategy of the Group and developing a Strategy for the period 2007-2010. Based on SWOT analysis and environmental scan, it was agreed to develop a strategy aligned with the period of the current Socio-Economic Development Plan of Viet Nam. To support the effective implementation of the Strategy, promoting the achievement of the overall goal and objectives set by the Group, an Operational Plan has been prepared for the Steering Committee. The new Strategy and Operational Plan are available at the PPWG website: http://www.ngocentre.org.vn/node/119.

The Steering Committee is currently working on a context analysis as well as stakeholder analysis to further align PPWG’s work to the interests and needs of its members and other important stakeholders. Meanwhile the PPWG concentrates it efforts and resources on the following four strategic directions as defined in the 2007-2010 Strategy:

1.Information and knowledge exchange: The group focuses on sharing focused and needs-based information, experiences and policy research on relevant government and civil society initiatives that have impacts on people’s participation.

2.Promotion of thematic dialogues among key stakeholders: The group seeks to facilitate an enabling environment for open dialogues amongst INGO/VNGOs and other important stakeholders from government, mass-organisations and donors, and foster their active participation in discussions on relevant issues related to people’s participation.

3.Institutional advocacy: The PPWG proactively seeks opportunities to bring value-added inputs to decision-making processes affecting policies and initiatives on people’s participation, grassroots democracy and civil society development.

4.Networking: The PPWG seeks to strengthen networks and forge clearer links between the group and relevant stakeholders in order to update and better coordinate the group’s activities.

2. Thematic meetings of PPWG in 2007

The PPWG has organised 3 thematic meetings in 2007. The meetings have been very well attended with presentations by Government officials, researchers, technical specialists, or other relevant experts depending on the topic.

May: Overview on the Legal Environment Affecting Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)

Within the past few years the Government of Viet Nam has showed determination to promote the growth of Civil Society Organisations. CSOs are playing and increasingly important role in improving the active participation of people at all levels to promote development nation-wide (VDR/PRSC Consultation Exercise, VUFO-NGO Resource Centre, 2006). Several legal documents have been or are in process of being drafted offering new opportunities to the CSOs.

To take stock of the legislative changes affecting CSOs role in facilitating a greater/active citizens participation at all levels, the PPWG organised a workshop on the ‘Legal Environment Affecting the CSOs in Viet Nam’. The overall purpose the workshop was to create an overview of the legislative process and of the legislation recently promulgated or in process of being drafted relating to the role CSOs in enhancing people's participation in development.

The workshop report is available on link: http://www.ngocentre.org.vn/node/241

August and November workshop on Decree 151

On 10th October 2007, the Decree 151/2007/ND-CP on Organization and Operation of Collaborative Groups (hereby called ‘Decree 151’) was officially approved by the Prime Minister. This is a good case of effective collaboration between PPWG and government agencies in policy formulation. PPWG has indeed provided supports and consultation to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and to the Decree’s drafting team during the formulation process with the result that the Decree reflects a better understanding of CG/CBO situation and their needs.

In August 2007, when the final Draft of the Decree was submitted to the Prime Minister for approval, having recognized the importance of the CGs/CBOs roles and the implication of the Decree, the PPWG organized a workshop by the title: ’Overview of Collaborative Groups/CBOs‘. The purpose of the workshop was to share experiences and create a better understanding among CGs/CBOs of their roles and contributions to the community development, the CG Decree formulation process, to update on the progress of the Decree, and to share experiences of CGs/CBOs in promoting peoples’ participation and poverty reduction.

In order to follow up on the August Workshop and in accordance with the approval of the Decree by the Prime Minister, PPWG in collaboration with MARD organised the second workshop on the Decree on 26th  November 07 on “Effective implementation of the Decree 151”. The workshop aims to update on the Decree, the plans of MARD and PPWG to disseminate and implement the Decree as well as to discuss how PPWG and other stakeholders can effectively engage in and support the effective implementation of the Decree.

 3. Other activities in 2007

The PPWG had planned a meeting on the new aid modalities and implications for people’s participation in Viet Nam. However, it was decided not to conduct this meeting as two other workshops in October 2007 covered this topic. In early October a national consultation workshop on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Aid Effectiveness (AE) was organised by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) with support from the Centre for Sustainable Community Development (S-CODE), the VUFO-NGO Resource Centre, UNDP as well as different members of the PPWG.

Following the national consultation, a regional consultation workshop covering East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific was organized in mid-October in Hanoi. Hanoi was chosen as the venue for this regional event since Viet Nam has shown a strong commitment in the implementation of the Paris Declaration (PD) on Aid Effectiveness and the Hanoi Core Statement (HCS). The workshops were part of a global consultative process on the issue of aid effectiveness relating to CSOs led by the Advisory Group on CSOs and Aid Effectiveness created by OECD-DAC. Moreover, workshop results will feed into the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Ghana, September 2008.

The workshops provided a good overview of the aid effectiveness among CSOs and facilitated good discussions on the role of CSOs in aid effectiveness, but it also made clear that the awareness amongst CSOs on aid effectiveness, Paris Declaration and Hanoi Core Statement is very low. There is a great interest though amongst CSOs to take a more active part in implementing the aid effectiveness agenda.

It has been discussed in the PPWG Steering Committee to organize a meeting on the topic in 2008.  

The planned meeting to follow-up on the recommendations from the NGO workshop in 2006 has been postponed.

4. Meetings planned for 2008

PPWG plans to organize workshop for every three months as in previous years, below are some ideas for 2008 workshops:

Workshop 1: CSOs & Aid Effectiveness
As mentioned in item 3, this topic is in accordance with The Paris Declaration (PD) and Hanoi Core Statement (HSC) and to follow up on the National and Regional Consultation on Aid Effectiveness (Hanoi, October 2007 ). PPWG plans this workshop to support CSOs preparing for the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, Ghana 2008. So far the role of CSOs is not mentioned in the HCS and CSOs are not involved and not aware of HSC. This was an agenda discussed and agreed mainly by government and donors. Therefore, PPWG would like to raise awareness and to ensure involvement of CSOs on Aid Effectiveness and in the implementation of HSC. Different models of CSOs on aid effectiveness, e.g. participatory approach, village/commune development planning, participatory budgeting and planning, ODA’s monitoring, etc. will be presented and discussed on the workshop 2008.

Workshop 2: Training on Decree 151
Decree 151 could bring better benefits to the grassroots and especially the poor if they could form into “collaborative group“ as appropriate enabling them to increase their capital, their production/ management capacity and access to market. Thus PPWG, with financial support from Oxfam America, plans to organize two trainings on Decree 151 in 2008 aiming at raising awareness and application of CG Decree among stakeholders at different levels with CBOs being given utmost priority. Promoting Decree 151 into practice and outreach to grassroots and poor communities is as a long –term strategy. The two proposed training workshops must be therefore seen as critical for the definition of the PPWG vision according to which civil society organizations (CSOs) can contribute their resources and efforts to the development and application of Decree 151 and other related CBOs regulations in Vietnam.

Workshop 3: Evidenced Based Advocacy Workshop
Lobbying and advocacy in Vietnam is not so common, especially with CSOs who lack of skills and experiences with tools and practices in this area.  The workshop, aims at providing a forum for various stakeholders, especially INGO and CSOs, who support and work at grassroots level to learn and share their experiences with evidenced based policy advocacy. This will support the sharing of good practices and establish a network among stakeholders and CSOs on lobbying and advocacy towards social changes and pro-poor policies for sustainable development.

Workshop 4: Updates on Legal environment and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
The Government of Vietnam has showed determination to promote the growth and increasing role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the active participation of people at all levels in promoting socio-economic development nation-wide. PPWG to want to organize annual workshop to update information and increase awareness among CSOs about the overall legal environment that CSOs are operating in, and identify and discuss opportunities and constraints for CSOs concerning their participation in the socio-economic development process.

PPWG Partnership Note June 2007


The People's Participation Working Group (PPWG) was established in 1999 as one of the partnership groups, and it provides an informal forum for organisations and professionals - including donors, government employees, NGOs, project managers, consultants, researchers - to meet and exchange information and ideas on issues relating to people’s participation, grassroots democracy and civil society. Participants are encouraged to share information relevant and interesting to other members of the network.

The PPWG is co-ordinated by an elected Chairperson assisted by a voluntary Core Group. This Core Group consists currently of 15 members from UNDP, World Bank, Embassy of Finland, international and Vietnamese NGOs, who meet regularly to organise relevant thematic workshops and other events. The current Chairperson is Ms. Vu Thi Bich Hop, Director of SRD (Centre for Sustainable Rural Development). The PPWG is open to all those who are interested in participating and contributing to sharing information and carrying out the joint objectives (see below).

Update on PPWG activities in 2007

During the first months of 2007 the Core Group of PPWG has focused on reviewing the objectives and strategy of the group for the period 2007-2010. Based on an environmental scan and SWOT analysis of the Group it was agreed to develop a strategy, aligned with the period of the current Socio-Economic Development Plan of Viet Nam. The strategy should have clearer focus and improved impact indicators, with more recognition by the Government and other key stakeholders of its activities. PPWG should be more conscious of the identified needs of group members, increase its cooperation with existing networks and expand its membership base to include also government agencies and mass-organisations in Viet Nam. 

The revised strategy will be shared amongst PPWG members and other stakeholders for comments in June 2007 before finalisation and updating on the PPWG website. An operational plan for the strategy to be used by the Core Group to implement the new strategy is equally being prepared.

In the revised strategy the overall goal and objectives of PPWG are suggested updated as follows.

Overall Goal

To promote people's participation in the development and poverty reduction process of Viet Nam

Specific Objectives

  1. To enhance exchange of information and coordination amongst the group's members;
  2. To advocate and promote an enabling environment for effective people's participation in the development and poverty reduction process of Viet Nam;
  3. To facilitate dialogue and improved understanding of people's participation experiences and lessons learned amongst different stakeholders (state, civil society, international organizations, donor community, etc.).

Thematic meetings planned by PPWG in 2007

The PPWG is planning to organise 4 thematic meetings in 2007, two in the 2nd quarter, one in the 3rd quarter and one in the 4th quarter of 2007. The four meetings are organised by members of the Core Group with presentations from government officials, researchers, technical specialists, or other relevant experts depending on the topic. In 2007 the tentative meeting plan is as follows:

1st meeting - 2nd quarter (May): Overview on the Legal Environment Affecting Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
Within the past few years the Government of Viet Nam has showed determination to promote the growth of Civil Society Organisations, and the CSO sector in playing and increasingly important role in improving the active participation of people at all levels to promote development nation-wide (VDR/PRSC Consultation Exercise, VUFO-NGO Resource Centre, 2006). Several legal documents have been or are in process of being drafted offering new opportunities to the CSOs.

To take stock of the legislative changes affecting CSOs role in facilitating enhanced active people's participation of people at all levels in the development of Viet Nam the PPWG is organising a workshop on the Legal Environment Affecting the CSOs in Viet Nam. The overall purpose the workshop is to create an overview of the law making process and key legislation recently promulgated or in process of being drafted relating to the role CSOs in enhancing people's participation in development.

2nd meeting - 2nd quarter (June): New aid modalities and implications for people’s participation in Viet Nam
Viet Nam has experienced rapid economic growth over the past 15 years of Doi Moi reform and made great achievements in reducing the national poverty rate. The Government of Viet Nam has played a crucial role in achieving this development result.

The Paris Declaration and Hanoi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness make strong emphasis on the ownership and leadership of the Government of the development agenda. With the new aid modalities such as direct budget support and the emphasis on increased donor coordination/harmonized and alignment, questions arise on how to ensure participation of Civil Society Organisations in monitoring the use of the funds and participation in government-led important policy discussions and decision-making process.

The main objective of the meeting is to get an overview of the new aid modalities (aid effectiveness/direct budget support) and discuss how these new modalities influence the work and role of Vietnamese NGOs in the development of Viet Nam. When applicable, recommendations will be made on how to strengthen the broader participation of the CSOs in this regard.

3rd meeting - 3rd quarter: Follow-up on recommendations from the NGO workshop in 2006
On 9 November 2006 a multi-stakeholder workshop on “Capacity Building and Strengthening the Participation of NGOs for the Socio-Economic Development in Viet-Nam” was held, organised by Viet Nam Union for Science and Technology Associations, co-chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and supported by UNDP, SNV and the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

The workshop 9 November 2006 was a landmark event with presentations from national and international speakers, the Government and Non-Government sector. The afternoon was spent on group discussions on the challenges facing Vietnamese NGOs and how different stakeholders can support an enabling environment for, and strengthen the institutional/organisational capacities of, NGOs. The workshop concluded with a number of specific recommendations to the donor community, international NGOs, the Government and the Vietnamese NGOs themselves on how to move forward.

The objective of the 3rd PPWG meeting is to follow-up on the conclusions from the workshop. The meeting will in particular look at capacity building opportunities and needs for Vietnamese NGOs, how to further promote the participation of VNGOs in the implementation of the SEDP 2006-2010 and Vietnamese NGOs’ involvement in service delivery. 

4th meeting - 4th quarter: Decree on Rural Collaborative Groups
A final draft Decree on Rural Collaborative Groups (RCG) was prepared with consultation from NGOs and others in the end of 2006. PPWG has been proactive in the consultation process by organising a consultation meeting with NGOs to give their comment to the draft Decree, and thereby supporting the process of finalising this legal framework for small rural groups that so far have not had such.

It is expected that the Decree will be approved by 3rd quarter 2007. Upon approval by the Prime Minister, the PPWG will work with Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to organise a PPWG meeting to thereby enable discussions on the implementation and implications of the Decree, and other possible follow-up actions.

Other activities foreseen in 2007

  • Finalise and start implementing the new strategy for PPWG including stakeholder analysis
  • Continuous update of the PPWG website
  • Inventory update for organisations involved in PPWG. It will be updated twice a year.
  • Additional meetings if/as required

PPWG Partnership Note November 2006

People’s Participation Working Group
Partnership Note
Hanoi, November 2006

The People's Participation Working Group (PPWG) was established in 1999 as one of the partnership groups, and it provides an informal forum for organisations and professionals - including donors, government employees, NGOs, project managers, consultants, researchers - to meet and exchange information and ideas on issues relating to people’s participation, grassroots democracy and civil society. Participants are encouraged to share information relevant and interesting to other members of the network.

The overall goal of the group is to support the Government of Vietnam in its efforts to enhance people’s participation in their own development and the development process in Vietnam including participation in development policy design, implementation and monitoring.

The immediate objectives of the group are to promote i) an enabling environment and capacity building for enhanced people’s participation and ii) co-ordination of activities for efficient use of resources invested in this area.

Co-ordination of the PPWG
The PPWG is co-ordinated by an elected Chairperson assisted by a voluntary core group. This core group consists currently of about 15 members from UNDP, Embassy of Finland, International NGOs and Vietnamese NGOs, who meet regularly to organise thematic workshops and other events. Ms. Nguyen Thi Le Hoa from Oxfam Great Britain chaired the group up to end of August 2006. The current Chairperson is Ms. Vu Thi Bich Hop, Director of SRD (Center for Sustainable Rural Development). The level of activities in respect of people’s participation and civil society development increased during 2006, and the core group met regularly to plan and keep the group updated on activities and events.

The PPWG is open to all those who are interested in participating and contributing to sharing information and carrying out joint objectives.

I.  Update on PPWG activities in 2006
In 2006, the PPWG continues to provide a forum for exchange of information and networking between international and Vietnamese organisations engaged in promoting people's participation. During this year the PPWG has attracted more participation from Vietnamese governmental bodies and civil organisations. In particular, the main thematic workshops and other meetings described below provided a forum for dialogue between different stakeholders. Some of the core issues include participation of organisations in the implementation of the SEDP, the Grassroots Democracy Decree and to participate in other forums; to strengthen the organisations; to follow the development of the legal frame for organisations. Furthermore, the PPWG will continue the discussions on working definitions used by the group related to civil society and participation.

II.     Thematic meetings organised by PPWG in 2006

Volunteering in Vietnam 17 February

This meeting was organised by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) office and hosted by the PPWG with the purpose of promoting discussion on national volunteering including the idea of a National Volunteer Centre in Vietnam.

Law on Association, 15 May

The draft Law on Associations was reviewed by the National Assembly during spring session 2006 and had drawn a lot of attention from the development community and the mass media in Vietnam. Considering the importance of the law to Vietnamese NGOs PPWG core group decided to conduct a PPWG meeting on the topic. The meeting was conduced 15 May 2006 with the objective to share information and promote discussion about the draft law. Prof. Giao from LERES gave a thorough presentation of the draft of the Law on Associations and the implications of its contents. MOHA was invited to the meeting but had to send regrets. The meeting was well attended by local NGOs.  

The status of Civil society in Vietnam and how to strengthen it, 14 June
The meeting presented the UNDP/SNV supported CIVICUS Civil Society Index Study, an initial assessment of what it describes as ‘the emerging civil society’ in Vietnam. The national coordinators, Dang Ngoc Dinh from VIDS and Irene Norlund, International consultant for UNDP/SNV, presented the outcome of the one-year long study, and four of the senior researchers involved in the project gave each their comments to the strengths and weaknesses of the study. The meeting was very well attended and the participants were engaged in the discussions.  
Link: http://www.undp.org.vn/undpLive/digitalAssets/3202_Civicuc_report__E_.pdf

Mapping out Participatory Models, 16 November
Plan International has commissioned a consultant, Anna Lauridsen, to compare various approaches to participation. Based on the recognition that various organisations carry out ‘participation’ differently from one project to another, the study was conducted to inform about the different models and facilitate learning about advantages and disadvantages in the various approaches. The study findings were presented during a PPWG meeting on the 16 November 2006.  

Two PPWG meetings planned for the autumn 2006 were cancelled due to overlapping with Government workshops and events. One meeting on Vietnam’s 5-Year Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2006-2010: experiences from Vietnamese and International NGOs on participatory planning in its implementation was cancelled/postponed due to a workshop hosted by Ministry of Planning and Investment with support from SCF UK on 26 September on a very similar subject. Another meeting on Rural Collaborative Groups and Networking amongst Vietnamese NGOs was postponed as the thematic study (led by Department of Cooperatives, MARD with field survey support from IFAD, CARE, OXFAM GB and SRD) to the 7th draft of RCG Decree. This Draft is being circulated among PPWG Core group for feedbacks and comments will be provided to MARD prior National Workshop planned for 13 December 2006. The Decree will be submitted for Government approval.

III.    Other activities during 2006
Update of the PPWG Website at http://www.un.org.vn/donor/donor.htm, working group space. The VUFO-NGO Centres has established a new, more active and updated website, and PPWG core group decided to move the PPWG webpage.
The link under the UN Vietnam website under partnerships is maintained. The PPWG server for distributing messages to the full group of interested persons has moreover changed to ppwg@ngocentre.org.vn. The VUFO-INGO website will be launched 10 December 2006.

Inventory update for organisations involved in PPWG. It will in the future be updated twice a year from 2007.

IV.    Related activities/activities of interest in 2006
Participation in the briefing on the draft Law on Associations at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) for Ambassadors as well as PPWG members, 3 April.
Launch of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index Study supported by the Vietnam Institute of Development Studies, SNV and UNDP, on 9 May.

The Embassy of Finland’s study on Measuring Grassroots Democracy, conducted by Mekong Economics, and review of support for GDD. The Finnish Embassy has conducted some consultation with NGOs.

UNDP/VASS paper on grassroots democracy and participatory governance in Vietnam. It was available at the “20 years of doi moi conference” organised by UNDP and VASS in June.

Case Study of VNGO Network under the Capable Partners Program (CAP), USAID Office of Private Voluntary Cooperation (USAID/PVC) and the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and its main partner Management Systems International (MSI). This report was expected to be finished by mid-year.

PPWG members were actively taking part and contributed to the Vietnam Development Report by the World Bank. INGOs and NGOs were for the first time invited to take part, from June to November.

PPWG supported the preparation for the workshop “Capacity Building and Strengthening the NGO for Socio-Economic Development in Vietnam”, 9 November. The workshop was organised by VUSTA with support from UNDP and SNV and was a major event with participation of more than 140 participants from different stakeholders groups (Vietnamese and international NGOs, government officials and donor community).

Support for Plan International’s project on assessing different participatory models, presented at the PPWG meeting, 16 November.

V.     Meetings planned for 2007

Topic 1: Participatory planning and budgeting - role of I/NGOs
This topic is being discussed by various organisations involved in the new type of participatory development, and PPWG would like to ensure involvement and networking on the results from these approaches. Organisations which have gained experiences will present cases to be discussed by the plenary.

Topic 2: Rural Collaborative Groups and Networking amongst Vietnamese NGOs
It is expected that the final draft Decree on Rural Collaborative Groups (RCG) will be formulated by end of the 2006. PPWG have been proactive in pushing for this change in the legal frame for small rural groups that hitherto had no legal frame. The purpose of this PPWG meeting would be to discuss the draft and the report that came out as a result of the meeting in 2005 on the same topic. The RCG topic might be combined with discussion of how to form networks between RCG. Topics to be addressed will include formation of networks, structure and capacity, activities, contributions to the development process, and challenges faced in promoting these networks to follow up on activities from 2005.

Topic 3: Reflections of how to follow-up on the “Capacity building and strengthening of NGOs”
The VUSTA workshop 9 November 2006 was a landmark event with presentations from national and international speakers, government and non-government sector. The afternoon was spent on group discussions on how to support NGOs and their participation in the development process in Vietnam. UNDP, SNV and VUSTA all expressed commitment to contribute to strengthening the NGO sector, for instance through the suggested establishment of a fund for Capacity Development of NGOs. The PPWG meeting would be on follow-up measures from the workshop.

Topic 4: Participation of INGOs and NGOs in implementation and M&E of the SEDP
This PPWG meeting will aim to explore the involvement of Vietnamese and International NGOs in the development and implementation of the SEDP, and what this means for the contribution of these organisations to government policy and the improvement of participatory governance.

Topic 5: Developing an enabling environment for CSOs development
It is clear that CSOs can only develop and contribute if they are facilitated by an enabling environment. Other than to follow-up the Law on Association (which might not be taken up in the NA again before 2008) PPWG members would seek opportunities to look into the overall CSOs legal framework (including legal documents for other types of CSOs such as funds, foundations, CSOs at grassroots levels...) and other mechanism necessary to facilitate the growth of CSOs. This include assuring sustainable finance for CSOs as tax provision, grants, aids, donation, voluntary work...; assuring actual and effective participation of CSOs in public service delivery, national program 135...; capacity building to enhance CSOs capability, accountability and transparency; enhancing the State-CSOs and State-CSOs-Market dialogues...

Other activities

Of other activities planned for 2007 include:
Identify means and ways to strengthening the PPWG further and identify strategic directions. This includes reviewing goal, objectives, working definitions, etc.  
Discussions to provide inputs for the Ordinance on Grassroots Democracy
WTO impacts on the NGO sector.

PPWG Partnership Note June 2006

The People's Participation Working Group (PPWG) was established in 1999 and provides an informal forum for organisations and professionals - including donors, NGOs, projects and consultants and researchers - to meet and exchange information and ideas on issues relating to people's participation, grassroots democracy and civil society. Participants are encouraged to share information relevant and interesting to other members of the network.

The overall goal of the group is to support the Government of Vietnam in its efforts to enhance people's participation in their own development and the development process in
Vietnam including participation in development policy design, implementation and monitoring.

The immediate objectives of the group are to promote i) an enabling environment and capacity building for enhanced people's participation and ii) co-ordination of activities
for efficient use of resources invested in this area.

The PPWG is co-ordinated by an elected Chairperson assisted by a voluntary core group. This core group currently consists of 10 members from UNDP, Embassy of Finland, International NGOs and Vietnamese NGOs, who meet regularly to organise thematic workshops and other events. The current Chairperson is Ms. Nguyen Thi Le Hoa from Oxfam Great Britain.

Update on PPWG activities in 2006

In 2006, the PPWG continues to provide a forum for exchange of information and networking between international and Vietnamese organisations engaged in promoting people's participation. During this year the PPWG has attracted more participation from Vietnamese governmental bodies and civil organisations. In particular, the main thematic workshops and
other meetings described below provide a forum for dialogue between different stakeholders.

Thematic meetings organised and planned to be organised by PPWG in 2006

Discussion: Volunteering in Vietnam
This meeting was organised by the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) office and hosted by the PPWG with the purpose of promoting discussion on national volunteering including the idea of a National Volunteer Centre for Vietnam.

Workshop 1: Law on Association
It is expected that a draft revised Law on Associations will be discussed in the mid-year session of the National Assembly. The drafting process has attracted interest and discussion within the development community and the mass media in Vietnam. The objective of this workshop was to sharing information and promote discussion about the draft revised law
(Postponed from February).

Workshop 2: The status of Civil society in Vietnam and how to strengthen it
This workshop will consider the recently released CIVICUS Civil Society Index Study which provides an initial assessment of what it describes as the emerging civil society in Vietnam and a discussion paper based on the study prepared with support from UNDP and SNV).

Workshop
3: Vietnam's 5-Year Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) 2006-2010 - how will Vietnamese and International NGOs participate in its implementation?

This workshop will aim to explore the involvement of Vietnamese and International NGOs in the development and implementation of the SEDP, and what this means for the contribution of these organisations to government policy and the improvement of
participatory governance.

Workshop 4: Rural Collaborative Groups and Networking amongst Vietnamese NGOs
It is expected that a draft decree on Rural Collaborative Groups (RCG) will be formulated by end of the year. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the draft and the report that came out as a result of the meeting in 2005 on the same topic. The RCG topic might be combined with discussion of how to form networks between RCG. Topics to be addressed will include formation of networks, structure and capacity, activities, contributions to the development process, and challenges faced in promoting these networks to follow up on activities from 2005. (The Capable Partners Program's report on case studies of VNGO network is
not finished yet but should be available at that time).

The core group has identified other topics for possible future thematic workshops including:

  • Public participation and the socialisation of service provision - user fees, public monitoring of service quality, tax issues
  • Village Development Planning
  • Understanding the status and roles of the Mass Organisations


III. Other activities during 2006

  • Ongoing update of the PPWG Website at http://www.un.org.vn/donor/civil.htm (including civil society readings)
  • Maintaining the list of participants and the PPWG email discussion list
  • Inventory update for organisations involved in PPWG

IV. Related activities

  • Support for Plan International's project on assessing different participatory models
  • Briefing on the draft Law on Associations at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA)
    for Ambassadors as well as PPWG members on 3rd April
  • Launch of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index Study supported by the Vietnam
    Institute of Development Studies, SNV and UNDP, on 9th May
  • The Embassy of Finland's study on Measuring Grassroots Democracy, conducted by Mekong Economics, and review of support for GDD.
  • UNDP/VASS paper on grassroots democracy and participatory governance in Vietnam
  • Case Study of VNGO Network under the Capable Partners Program (CAP), USAID
    Office of Private Voluntary Cooperation (USAID/PVC) and the Academy for Educational Development (AED) and its main partner Management Systems International (MSI) - this report is expected to be finished by June

PPWG Resources

PPWG-Related Legal Documents

Overview of Decree 29/1998/ND-CP on Regulation of the Exercise of Democracy in Communes

 

1. Fourteen major areas where people must be kept informed of changes and revisions in areas such as law and policy; administrative procedures; local socio-economic development strategy; land use plan; budget planning and expenditures; state or other funded programmes; loan programmes for poverty reduction; (Chapter 2 in Decree 29)

2. Six major areas where people should discuss and directly decide, such as: people's contribution for infrastructure development; formulation of customary rules; formulation and monitoring the management of people-created funds, etc. (Chapter 3 in Decree 29)

3. Eight major areas where people should discuss and be consulted before the local government makes decisions, such as: draft economic development plan; draft land use plan; draft plan for implementation of national programme on environment and clean water, etc. (Chapter 4 in Decree 29)

4. Ten major areas where people should monitor and check, such as: activities of people councils; implementation of resolutions of councils and decisions of people committees; settlement of claims; land use; expenditure of funds, etc. (Chapter 5 in Decree 29).

PPWG Structure

Steering Committee

To ensure the effectiveness of group interactions, a voluntary Steering Committee of regular PPWG participants was formed in 2004 to take on a coordination role. The Steering Committee helps organise PPWG meetings in the course of the year.

Membership

The PPWG is open to all those who are interested in participating and contributing to sharing information and carrying out joint objectives.

Resources

The PPWG does not have specific funding for its activities and relies on members to contribute to joint activities in terms of staff time, the use of meeting rooms and other logistical matters. All members' activities related to people's participation are funded from each members' own sources.

Contact information

Ms Nguyen Thi Bich Diep, Chairperson
Email: vandiep_nguyen@yahoo.com