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Strengthening the Capacity of the VN Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA)
Commissioning Unit: Viet Nam
Evaluation Plan: 2006-2011
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 05/2010
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Viet Nam
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: Strongly Focus on Strengthening Social Consultation and Policy Feedback: Seek to develop a structured, institutionalized, coordinated ?upward? consultation mechanism with the Party, National Assembly and Government that is not dependent on personal contacts and that is fully coordinated and increasingly institutionalized within VUSTA. Develop a structured, institutionalized, coordinated ?downward? consultation and coordination mechanism with the member associations and Decree 81 organizations in policy advocacy. Develop a toolkit, handbook and/or guidelines to help the member groups, including the Decree 81 organisations, in social consultations and policy feedback.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/12/28]

VUSTA?s social feedback capacities need to be further developed. The project was asked to develop further initiatives under objective 3 of the project to make sure that VUSTA becomes an effective bridge for VUSTA?s member organisations to other stakeholders, upward and downward consultation. Toolkits, handbooks, guidelines for social consultations and policy feedback should be elaborated while, commenting the Socio-economic Development Strategy (SEDS 2011 ? 2020) and Political Programme of the Communist Party, etc.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
VUSTA is intensifying relations with policy makers in the Party, National Assembly and Government. The project will organize several workshops on policy frameworks and the policy development roadmap of the Government as well as strengthening dialogue with the NA. The project will continue supporting the completion of the member consultation mechanism.
[Added: 2010/12/28] [Last Updated: 2013/01/02]
InternationalCooperation Department 2012/12 Completed Despite VUSTA's strong involvement on issues like the constitutional reform, there is currently no enabling environment (to work on strengthening social consultation and policy feedback systems. The main challenge in this area of activity seems to be the matching of demands and expectations of civil society actors in a constantly changing socio-economic context with the acceptability of VUSTA?s feedback and consultancy for the Government and its agencies. Updates Dec2011: cooperation agreements with the NA committees are currently prepared and planed to be signed in the first semester of 2012
2. Recommendation: Strongly Focus on Improving VUSTA?s Governance and Capacity to Represent Member Groups, including Decree 81 Organisations: Work closely with VUSTA in developing an initial five year restructuring and implementation plan in connection with the newly adopted development strategy Finalize procedures on expenditures and internal communication/ collaboration policy between different departments and work very hard on implementing those in the time remaining Continue and further develop the Young Leaders Training Programme (including placement component) to enhance change in the working culture within VUSTA and to increase professionalism within the organization.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/12/28]

The Project should continue to support VUSTA in planning for the implementation of the strategy. Concrete project activities should be derived from VUSTA?s strategy and thus help implementing the strategy. The project should in particular translate the contents of the Strategy into the organizational system, professional and international cooperation actions, inclusive of consultation mechanism for member organizations, and facilitate monitoring the implementation of the Strategy as well as the reporting to the Presidium, Central Council. Previous research work done by the project on better systems for information sharing and knowledge management of/for its member organizations, on the creation of effective networks and communities of practices among VUSTA member organisations etc. got little to no follow-up. The project has been advised to ?reactivate? and better disseminate previous research work like the ?International Knowledge Management Study? (2008) which could have offered good examples of bridging to members with communication tools for instance. The Young Leaders Training Programme (including placement component) should be adjusted based on the findings of an evaluation looking into the effectiveness of the conducted training courses and the needs of departments and individuals. Short comes of the programme should be effectively addressed in the review of the programme.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The action plan to implement the VUSTA strategy 2010-2020 is in the process of being finalised. Consultation workshops were held and a core drafting team is currently consolidating inputs to the action plan. The instalment of better systems for information sharing and knowledge management of/for its member organizations as well as the creation of effective networks and communities of practices among VUSTA member organizations etc. is still ongoing. The evaluation of the Young Leaders Training Programme (including placement component) has been finalized. A revised training programme is still to be designed. The objective is to propose clearly defined expected learning outcomes (general and individual), a well thought pedagogical approach to enhance learning and a strategy to address the needs for practical leadership skills.
[Added: 2010/12/28] [Last Updated: 2011/12/27]
PMU and all implementing units 2011/12 Completed Unless VUSTA's internal structure can be changed to fit better into its strategy, the project can produce only very limited results. To change structures, the support by the highest leadership is required. VUSTA?s leaders and department heads (with some exceptions) lack thorough understanding of the project and its aims. They are not utilizing the potential to develop VUSTA as an organization (in HQ level, not in department level) with the additional resources available from the project. VUSTA should develop a long-term staff training programme to increase the staff capacity. Furthermore, VUSTA should develop a solid recruitment policy in order to find the right people to the right positions. VUSTA is highly experienced in government type administrative procedures, but lacks knowledge on how to run a non-government organisation in a professional manner. Too little attention is being paid to development needs within the organization and responsibilities of the leadership to take actions for the necessary changes. The Young Leaders Training Programme can partly improve the situation, but as it is focused on the future, it cannot fix the current problems observed. Updates Dec2011: Completed
3. Recommendation: Strongly Focus on Rapidly Strengthening Support for Member Associations and Decree 81 Organisations Develop and conduct an independent survey of members (including Decree 81 organisations) for long term usage and regular updating, to identify the needs and expectations of members (including member organizational demands on VUSTA, services to be provided, concrete support, roles in social consultation and lobbying, etc.), in order to develop a set of key member services according to their needs and demands Create a register of all members that is shared by all departments using proper software that can be used to contact the members, seek their input on VUSTA and policy work, and for other purposes Train local authorities (including provincial Party committees and People?s Committees) and provincial VUSTA unions in selected provinces in Decree 81 issues to facilitate the process of establishing and to strengthen support for Decree 81 organisations at sub-national levels
Management Response: [Added: 2010/12/28]

The development of a database on VUSTA members for internal use should be supported by the project. The suggested survey to identify the needs and expectations of VUSTA members in order to develop a set of key member services according to their needs and demands, as well as the training of local authorities and provincial VUSTA unions in selected provinces in Decree 81 issues will not be supported by the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The creation of a database on VUSTA members is ongoing
[Added: 2010/12/28] [Last Updated: 2011/12/27]
PMU and various implementing units 2011/12 Completed The database on members to be developed for the internal use of organizations (internal assessment and development tool), not for an authoritative outside evaluation of VUSTA member organizations. Particular attention needs to be paid on the sustainability of the database designed. Updates Dec2011: the baseline survey is currently under final review by the project and will be shared with UNDP shortly.
4. Recommendation: Strongly Focus on Strengthening the Policy and Legal Environment for Civil Society: Conduct a comparative analysis of civil society in other countries and organize a workshop on that topic, focusing on key themes of interest to the Party, to feed directly into the current study on civil society being undertaken by the Party Commission for Propaganda and other Party groups Organize a high-level visit to Scandinavia by the members of the Political Bureau responsible for civil society issues, as well as the Director of the Party Propaganda Commission, to study civil society in contexts where states are open and supportive towards civil society organisations. Conduct a comparative workshop and publish a volume on key issues in the legal framework for civil society that are of particular interest to Vietnam, bringing in perspectives on those focused issues from China, the Philippines, and other countries.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/12/28]

There is an increasing need for research on civil society in Vietnam. The project will intensify its research activities on civil society and its growing role for the socio-economic development of Vietnam. As a very first step, the project will commission a comparative study, to be made available to senior Party and government policymakers, on the policy climate and legal framework for civil society-government relations in countries that are directly relevant to Vietnam. The idea to organize a high-level visit to Scandinavia by the member of the Political Bureau responsible for civil society issues will not be pursued.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
The recruitment process of national and international consultants for carrying out the study has been launched. The research team is expected to take up the proposed assignment in January 2011.
[Added: 2010/12/28]
UNDP 2010/12 Completed
5. Recommendation: Strengthening Project Management: Contract a consultancy firm that has a pool of international and national consultants to provide technical assistance and consultancy services to the Project in a rapid, timely and effective manner. This would not be to solve problems for VUSTA, but to assist in concrete activities. Maintain the NPD role in the hands of a senior VUSTA leader (President or Vice President) and abolish the position of DNPD because there is no need for multiple levels of management and supervision that may not effectively facilitate the work of the Project. Have the Project Manager report directly to the NPD, with direct and unfettered access to the NPD, and relate to VUSTA departments and department heads on a direct basis Organize regular monthly or bimonthly meetings between senior leadership of UNDP and VUSTA in a more frequent manner to encourage more direct involvement of VUSTA?s leadership in the Project. We envision meetings every two months between Professor Liem as NPD and Christophe Bahuet, and monthly meetings between relevant department heads and the Project Manager and Patricia Barandun and Marc Schanck Increase the level of project staffing by adding an additional project assistant
Management Response: [Added: 2010/12/28]

UNDP shares the view that an even stronger involvement of the NPD should be sought and should thus be facilitated and encouraged, especially when project activities are becoming more and more dependent on organisational realities such as the coordination among departments and the senior management structure of VUSTA itself. UNDP advocates therefore organizing meetings between senior leadership of UNDP and VUSTA in a considerably more frequent manner as a way to encourage more direct involvement of VUSTA?s leadership in the project and to strengthen UNDP?s understandings of VUSTA?s role and the issues it faces. As for the recommendation to contract a consultancy firm that has a pool of international and national consultants to provide technical assistance and consultancy services to the project in a timely manner, UNDP sees a serious danger that the consultants would ?solve? the problems for VUSTA. The project however should not encourage the outsourcing of ?thinking? and ?problem-solving?. Instead, UNDP suggests that a part time national consultant/facilitator could support VUSTA in concrete activities when needed along with the current STA.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Regular meetings are held: (1) on monthly/bi-monthly basis with the participation of the DNPD, PM, UNDP Governance cluster head and PO; (2) on quarterly basis with the participation of the NPD and the UNDP Deputy Country Director. To improve the efficiency of the PMU, an additional staff member in charge of translation and administrative work will be recruited. A part time national consultant/facilitator will support VUSTA in concrete activities when needed along with the current STA. The PMU participates in VUSTA leadership and departments meetings and minutes of these meetings are systematically shared with the PMU.
[Added: 2010/12/28] [Last Updated: 2011/12/27]
UNDP, PMU and all implementing units 2011/12 Completed VUSTA's leadership commitment has to be observable in actual behavior and not just in words. There seems to be no full understanding on how the project can contribute to VUSTA?s future development. Only very little can be gained from activities that are ?one-time-only? events. Priority should be given to activities involving and requiring cooperation of several departments to enhance organizational level development and positive changes in VUSTA?s organizational culture. It is crucial for the effectiveness of the PMU action to be able to directly reach out and work with VUSTA leaders and departments. Updates Dec2011: Completed

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