Recently, the 10 remaining Danida advisers in Vietnam gathered in Hanoi along with Embassy staff, representatives of NGOs and other invited guests for the annual Danida adviser seminar. The role and tasks of the advisers and the impact on Vietnam by the latest economic crisis were among the key issued discussed.
The seminar was arranged by the Board of Danida Advisers’ Association (DAA) together with the Embassy and took place on the 22nd and 23rd of April in Hanoi. While the first day consisted of an internal meeting for the advisers, the second day was open for advisers, embassy staff and other invited guests.
Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen opened the seminar with a presentation of the main priorities and future plans of the Danish development cooperation, plans for the cooperation with Vietnam in the years to come, and particular issues of importance to the relations between Danida advisers and the Embassy.
The morning session dealt with the general conditions in Vietnam seen in the light of the economic crisis. Senior Resident Representative from IMF, Mr. Ben Bingham, gave a presentation on the current economic situation and prospects for the future. According to his findings, Vietnam came out of the economic crisis surprisingly well and the goal of the country joining the ASEAN 4 is not unrealistic.
Poul Quarles Van Ufford from UNICEF Vietnam had a different take on the economic crisis focusing on child poverty in Vietnam based on a new multidimensional approach that takes more than just economic aspects into account. By using the multidimensional approach together with the regular monetary approach, as many as 1 in 3 children in Vietnam can be considered poor.
The afternoon session was reserved for group discussions based on presentations made by four Danida advisers on adviser modalities, role and authority of the advisers and national consultants. The presentations generated a lot of discussion on the role of the advisers.
The seminar was the last of its kind in Vietnam due to the fact that the numbers of advisers are going to be reduced by half by the end of 2010. However, the ambassador stressed that regular contact between the remaining advisers and the Embassy was important – even more so now where there will not be an annual occasion to meet.