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Socio Economic Planning and Actors Cooperation Study Tour, England and Sweden; Chia Se Poverty Alleviation Programme

‘Chia Se’ is a Sida-funded poverty alleviation programme that started in November 2003 and is planned to run until the end of 2008. With an overall budget of USD 43.5 million it is part of Vietnam’s Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP) for 2006-2010 and supports the thrust towards decentralisation by making poverty alleviation a bottom-up and demand-driven process in three Provinces of Ha Giang, Yen Bai and Quang Tri, using poverty reduction tools such as Local Development Fund (LDF) and Local Planning for Management and Development (LPMD).

The Consultant was responsible for the planning and implementation of two study tours, one to England and one to Sweden, which looked at socio-economic planning in each of the countries. Each tour had 10 Vietnamese participants, including staff from the Chia Se project, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Government Statistics Office and the Ministry of Finance. The objective of the study tour was to learn from UK and Swedish experiences on formulation and implementation of strategies, policies for sustainable and pro-poor development at central and local levels as well as contributions of private sector, media organizations, professional associations and NGOs in these processes. The study therefore focused on the interaction between central government and other bodies in setting policy and creating mechanisms for it to be carried out; the ways in which local authorities interpret and implement national policies and associated incentives and sanctions; the roles of the media, NGOs and research organisations in challenging policy and contributing to policy development through provision of information to the public, consultations and debate.

The visit also concentrated on certain topics, related to rural development & coastal zone management (in the UK), and followed how decisions are taken in these areas, but also studied the general planning process, involving budgetary, fiscal and physical planning. Particular attention was given to how plans are financed, how expenditure is controlled and how transparency is maintained in the planning process.
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