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Promoting people's participation and governance in Vietnamese Cities

Presentation of Assessment Study and Opinion Poll Results

In the framework of the EU co-financed Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s and ACVN (Association of Vietnamese Cities) project on promoting people’s participation and governance in Vietnamese cities, the results of of the first project activities (opinion poll with 3000 citizens and the expert assessment study) on the quality of local governance and people’s participation at municipal level, have been presented and discussed in a two days workshop in Hanoi. The workshop report tries to summararize the findings of the reports and recommendations resulting from the group discussions. more…

Denis Schrey | Event Reports | October 6, 2009

Koordinationsveranstaltung des Dreijahresprogramms auf dem Gebiet des Rechts und der Justiz

Am 21. September 2009 hat das Auslandsbüro Vietnam zusammen mit dem Vietnamesischen Justizministerium eine „Koordinationsveranstaltung zur Umsetzung des Dreijahresprogramms auf dem Gebiet des Rechts und der Justiz zwischen Vietnam und Deutschland“ durchgeführt. Ziel war es, die an dem Programm teilnehmenden Partnerorganisation, die in Vietnam tätig sind, zusammen zu bringen, um über bereits durchgeführte Maßnahmen des Programms zu diskutieren, bevorstehende Arbeiten zu benennen, Probleme zu identifizieren, Aufgaben zu priorisieren und Koordinationsschwierigkeiten zu beseitigen. more…

Event Reports | October 5, 2009

Decentralisation, Administrative Reform, Strengthening the Communal Self-Administration in Vietnam

The decentralization and democratization of political structures, a modernization and reform of the administration as well as strengthening the communal self-administration are important objectives and programs for the international co-operation of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. more…

Dr. Willibold Frehner | January 7, 2009


Niklas Aschhoff - A field study on local democracy and civil society in Vietnam

Vietnam develops strongly in economic terms but much less so democratically. Thus, the issues of this study, civil society and local-level democracy still play a relatively small but increasing role in this Southeast Asian country. It is important to consider that the Western ideas of civil society and democracy are not identical with those we find in Vietnam. The Communist central government and the big importance of Confucian values influence the values of social life. If we take this into account, we can seriously speak of progress in Vietnam. But still there are considerable deficits in both fields. Whereas the big mass organisations still have an enormous impact, real NGOs are rare and restricted in their action by the state. However, NGOs have more freedoms than before. NGOs moreover are key actors in terms of democratisation. By cooperating with the state as well as the local population they serve as a medium for both. They are seen as useful service providers and help to introduce government policies. The same legal bases on civil society organisations as well as on grassroots democracy allow NGOs to implement successfully efforts for more democracy. NGOs are mostly seen as more effective than government bodies by the people. Despite some progress of grassroots democracy – also due to the work of civil society groups – strong improvements in the general state of democracy will have to follow in the next decades. Still, there are several approaches for criticism. However, the Vietnamese government respects the desires of the people and implements policies according to these general wishes. The policies admitting more opportunities for participation on the local level can be seen as one example for the government’s desire to be perceived as a representative of the people. The successful implementation of the decrees on grassroots democracy is very often hindered by remaining old structures and the unwillingness of local politicians. Theory and reality differ considerably in this case. However, local NGOs seem to be able to improve the implementation and to be key actors for grassroots democracy in Vietnam. Civil society and democracy are two variables depending on each other. This study analyses civil society and grassroots democracy in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Although these issues might also be addressed separately, there are good reasons to have a look at them in connection. This particularly makes sense for the case of Vietnam as here both civil society and local-level democracy are based on the same legal bases and are two variables influencing each other. Vietnam still is one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet, the country has expanded heavily in economic terms since the policies of economic opening in 1986. In the field of democratisation, however, only little and very slow progress has been achieved yet. I found it very interesting to see which progress is made in this field in a country concentrating in economic development and through which measures. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) as a political foundation involved in development assistance seemed to be an appropriate organisation as the issues of my interest are among the topics on their agenda in Vietnam. The KAS does not implement projects directly in Vietnam but supports and cooperates with local Vietnamese partners. One of the major advantages that is approved in nearly every conversation definitely is the fact that Vietnamese actors are much better aware of the local customs, know the language and thus are much easier accepted by the affected people. Concerning the topic of local democracy, one of the KAS’ partners is the Center for Rural Progress (CRP). I therefore had a special focus on this local NGO and their current project on the island of Cat Ba. more…

September 18, 2008

Vietnam after the Accession into WTO – An Ambitious Country between Hope and Challenge

Vietnam after the accession into WTO – an ambitious country between hope and challenge more…

Country Reports | September 3, 2008