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The Office of National Assembly (ONA) on January 31 launched the third phase of a programme to strengthen the capacity of people’s elected bodies in Viet Nam.

The 7.5 million USD project, sponsored by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the governments of Canada and Ireland , the Danish Trust Fund, the UK Department of International Development (DFID) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), will be carried out between 2008 and 2012.

This phase will be beneficial to all provincial People’s Councils nationwide as an extension from 16 localities in the first and second phases.

The project will enhance the relationship between voters and their representatives and improve the consultations work for selected draft laws before they are submitted to the National Assembly for approval.

Particularly, it will seek opportunities to further strengthen the representative role of elected bodies, public consultations and more effective oversight of the government as well as support the establishment of a Training Centre for Elected Representatives, whose mandate is to serve as a central point to organise training courses for members of the National Assembly, People’s Councils and their staff.

Speaking at a press conference in Ha Noi on the same day, UNDP Country Director Setsuko Yamazaki said the effective representation of elected officials is an essential step as Viet Nam moves to middle-income status.

“This third phase will support the National Assembly and Provincial People’s Councils to better listen to the citizens of Viet Nam and turn their concerns into action,” she added.

At the end of this phase, its objective is to have public consultations for draft laws and oversight as the norm within the National Assembly.

Dr Nguyen Si Dung, Vice Chairman of the ONA and National Director of the project, said UNDP’s continued support to the National Assembly and People’s Councils has manifested the close and efficient cooperation between UNDP and the ONA.

UNDP has worked with the ONA, in one form or another, since 1996. The Project “Strengthening the capacity of People’s Elected Bodies in Viet Nam” which ran from 2003 to 2007, made significant contributions to increasing the efficiency of the National Assembly and Provincial People’s Councils.

Source: VNA