Even before Vietnam became affected by COVID-19 pandemic, poverty, economic growth and environmental issues were top concerns of citizens, according to the 2019 Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) report released on April 28 in Hanoi.
|UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen went live on UNDP Vietnam's Facebook page__Photo: VLLF|
The report also highlights the country’s encouraging progress in governance and public administration performance to address citizens’ needs in the past year and delivers key insights into a broad spectrum of reform areas across nearly a decade.
Speaking at the report’s online launching ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen stressed that the PAPI survey’s nationally representative findings on top citizen greatest concerns, including poverty and job loss, and evaluation of recent reform priorities regarding control of corruption and e-governance, provide valuable insights for policymakers as Vietnam enters the recovery phase of COVID-19.
She pointed out that provincial governance performance has gradually improved over the two government terms from 2011 to 2019, especially in the areas of control of corruption and transparency in local decision-making. This is a testament to the strong commitment of central and local leaders to improve governance.
Looking at the issues of greatest concern, poverty has topped the list of most important issues facing Vietnam in the past five years and 2019 was no exception with nearly one-quarter of respondents saying that it was their main concern. Meanwhile, jobs and employment have remained in the top four of greatest concerns since 2015, Caitlin said.
These concerns are likely to be amplified in the coming months with large groups of citizens having been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. The PAPI results indicate that more citizens without social insurance consider poverty to be a pressing issue. The unprecedented USD 2.6 billion social protection package adopted by the National Assembly, therefore, is expected to help address some of these concerns.
Interestingly, the environment has made it back into the top three citizen concerns in 2019, with many reported that air quality has remained the same or degraded in their localities, she added.
According to the report, further streamlining of administrative procedures and promoting e-governance should be prioritized as many respondents reported that efforts to streamline administrative procedures and implementing “one-stop shops” have been less impactful for citizens than for businesses.
This year’s PAPI report also contains a special chapter on gender and leadership. With elections for the coming National Assembly and People’s Councils in 2021, the 2019 PAPI report found that voters exhibited a strong bias against women in leadership roles, especially at hamlet level, nearly three times greater than that faced by female National Assembly candidates.
In 2019, PAPI measured eight dimensions: participation at local levels, transparency, vertical accountability, control of corruption, public administrative procedures, public service delivery, environmental governance, and e-government.
PAPI survey is a collaboration between the Center for Community Support and Development Studies, the Center for Research and Training of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, the Real-Time Analytics and the United Nations Development Programme. Following the initial pilot in 2009 and a larger survey in 2010, the PAPI survey has been implemented nationwide each year since 2011. For the 2019 PAPI report, 14,138 randomly selected citizens were surveyed. In total, 131,501 Vietnamese citizens nationwide have been directly interviewed for PAPI since 2009.- (VLLF)