Capacity Building on Aid EffectivenessThe Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) in collaboration with Reality of Aid (RoA) organised a capacity building workshop for Vietnamese civil society organisations (CSOs) on aid effectiveness on 19-20 October 2010 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The objectives of this workshop were to build the knowledge and capacity of Vietnamese non-government organisations (VNGOs) in relation to aid effectiveness, and to develop a core group of VNGO representatives to take forward the aid effectiveness agenda including developing an action plan on aid effectiveness for Vietnamese civil society.

Participants included Vietnamese NGOs such as the Cooperation Development Group (CDG), the Consulting Center for Environment Resources and Rural Poverty Alleviation (CERPA), the Center for Promoting Development for Women and Children (DWC), and other civil society organisations such as Towards Transparency (TT), as well as donor organisations including the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the World Bank, representatives from the Government of Vietnam including the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), and International NGOs such as CARE.

The importance of aid effectiveness to the Government was demonstrated in 2005 when Vietnam became the first country to develop a localised statement of commitment to the aid effectiveness principles enshrined in the Paris Declaration. Although this document, the Hanoi Core Statement, tailors the main elements of the Paris Declaration into locally-relevant terms, it was not developed in partnership with NGOs and does not clearly identify the role of civil society in achieving aid effectiveness.

Participants of the capacity building workshop in Hanoi last week agreed that civil society has a very important role to play in ensuring that aid in Vietnam is delivered effectively and transparently. However, a key conclusion of the workshop was that this can only be achieved if they are able to work together in an open and collaborative way with the Government and donors to share information and discuss measures for ensuring aid effectiveness.

The workshop provided a valuable opportunity to build a bridge between the many different stakeholders involved in aid effectiveness in Vietnam. Participants worked together to explore the challenges faced in striving for aid effectiveness, to develop ideas for how to resolve these, and to identify the particular role that Vietnamese civil society can play in ensuring that Vietnam maintains a strong reputation for aid effectiveness.

While this workshop was just one step in an ongoing process of enhancing the role of civil society in supporting aid effectiveness in Vietnam, the atmosphere among participants was proactive, collaborative and forward-looking. By the end of the workshop, a core group of active and committed individuals and organisations had been formed, who will work together in the coming months to turn these ideas into action.

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