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Chia Se II: Study Tour on Socio-Economic Development Planning (SEDP)

The program objective of Chia Se 2 is “Efficient mechanisms for achieving enhanced poverty reduction and decentralized governance in poor rural areas are integrated into national development plans and applied”. This is quite different from Chia Se 1 which focused on the poverty reduction results as such. In principle, it seems easy to for most ‘policy influencers’ to support the Chia se model, but in practice institutional interests take over. It becomes a very difficult task to go from theory to action (which is the purpose of Chia Se 2). We are aiming at having policy influence that is also reflected in the field. This is a problem that is also encountered in other parts of the world and quite known with development professionals.

A study tour can have a large catalytical influence. It brings people closely together, and they can exchange ideas more informally during a prolonged time. They can also refer to what they see in another country, which may be less threatening than for your own country. However, discussions after the study visits almost always circle around the situation in Vietnam. Secondly, study tours seem to fit very well in with the “Vietnamese“ way of learning, if there is such a thing. Vietnam is very keen on bringing in international experiences, and adapt them to Vietnamese conditions. Previous experience from arranging study tours for Vietnam is that the participants work very hard, are interested and serious.

Vietnam’s overall development is planned through Socio-Economic Development Planning (SEDP). A five year plan forms the basis, and detailed yearly plans are then elaborated at all administrative levels: Commune, District, Province and Nation. Chia Se is a development program that for six years has experimented with a more decentralized planning system: The villages (who are not an administrative unit and as such has not participated in the SEDP planning) have been allocated a budget frame, and have planned poverty alleviation activities according to their own priorities. The experiment has been successful and advanced plans are underway to scale up the approach.

A high level delegation led by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (the ministry responsible for SEDP planning) now wanted to study overall SEDP planning, decentralization and relations to stakeholders outside Vietnam, and Brazil was proposed as the most interesting example.

Overall purpose
Study Local Development Planning. The overall purpose of the study tour is to learn experiences from establishment and implementation of the comprehensive development planning for geographical areas, exclusively rural or with a very high proportion of rural population. Examples of such plans can be the comprehensive development plans for Local authorities (districts, communes, municipalities). In Vietnam this corresponds to SEDP: Socio-Economics Development Plan.

Focal topics should be:

  • Processes to establish long term, mid-term and short term (annual) Local Development Plans
  • Formal procedures and mechanism for submission of the plans, and how they are approved.
  • How different stakeholders and interest groups are consulted. How different groups can influence the design of the plans. How planning transparency and democratic principles are held up during planning.
  • Policies and mechanisms for mobilizing resources to implement SEDP; System for implementation of the plan. How the plans are monitored and evaluated. Transparency in monitoring of the plans.
  • How to integrate climate change, environment, and gender issues into SEDP.
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