Development partners witness impact of flexible resources on Viet Nam’s progress

A delegation of development partners tours the country from 1-3 October.

News | 14 October 2019
The delegation meets with Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Nguyen Thi Ha.
HANOI (ILO News) – A delegation of development partners lauded Viet Nam’s achievements, particularly those supported by the International Labour Organization (ILO), during their visit to the country from 1-3 October.
The visit sought to highlight the important role flexible, or un-earmarked voluntary funding, which ILO refers to as RBSA (Regular Budget Supplementary Account), can play in supporting a country’s joint efforts for decent work. 

The delegates were impressed by Viet Nam’s commitment to supporting the Decent Work Agenda and its progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the reforms the country has initiated in policy areas important to the world of work, often with the ILO’s technical support.

The delegation included representatives of the Governments of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the European Union. Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland currently contribute to RBSA funding alongside Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, and Norway. This funding modality allows ILO development partners to contribute to a pool of flexible, and voluntary resources that can be spent when and where needed.

The delegates had separate discussions with ILO’s tripartite partners – Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL), the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Viet Nam Cooperatives Alliance (VCA) as well as ILO Viet Nam staff.

“We have always treasured the support by the ILO and donors over the past years,” said MOLISA Vice Minister, Nguyen Thi Ha, in her meeting with the delegation. In 2018-19 alone, she highlighted ILO’s “timely and effective support” and donors’ indirect assistance in the on-going revision of the Labour Code, reforms of wage policies and social protection.

Representing the delegation, Chief Adviser on Technical Quality Support from the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Henrik Vististen, said he congratulated Viet Nam’s major achievement of ratifying three ILO conventions, including fundamental Convention 98 on collective bargaining, this year. He added that this official visit to Viet Nam yet again convinced him of the important functions of flexible RBSA funding that allows the ILO to respond more quickly to the needs of the countries and provide technical support for projects of priority importance to national governments.

Thanks to the support provided by the ILO through RBSA resources, Viet Nam has made remarkable progress over the past years to promote decent work in the informal economy and to modernize its labour market data systems. It was one of the first countries to embrace and institutionalize the Sustainable Development framework. The main channel for the delivery of ILO support over the last two years has been the RBSA-funded project ‘Enhancing implementation of the 2030 agenda in Viet Nam,’ which strengthened the capacity of ILO constituents – the Government, workers’ and employers’ organizations – to contribute to the SDGs. RBSA has also allowed the ILO to reinforce the scope and scale of its work in Viet Nam.

During the visit, the delegation toured factories, which joined ILO’s programmes in garment and woodwork sectors – Better Work (a joint initiative of the ILO and the International Finance Corporation with the support of multiple partners) and SCORE (Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises), which is supported through a multi-partner trust fund.

Working with Better Work Viet Nam since 2014, May Hai garment company in Hai Phong City has made significant progress in worker-management dialogue, law compliance, and effective management systems.

May Hai garment factory in Hai Phong joined the Better Work Programme in 2015.
“We might be able to reach our goals [of improving working conditions, harmonizing industrial relations between workers and company management, boosting productivity and increasing income for workers] on our own. But by joining Better Work, it takes a short cut to get there and the results are even better,” said Tran Thi Sinh Duyen, the Director-General of the company with more than 2,000 workers.

Meanwhile, Viet A furniture company in Hai Duong Province also explained the achievements they have made since joining ILO’s SCORE programme in May 2019.

“Since we started SCORE Training, we have adopted a more participatory management approach and improved many production processes,” said the company’s Director-General, Le Van Ba. The company now has regular team meetings and encourages all workers to share their ideas.

Viet A furniture factory in Hai Duong also takes part in SCORE programme.
“Most companies in our neighbourhood are FDI factories. To compete with them for labour, we have to not only match what they pay but also provide a safe and comfortable workplace so that workers who we train stay with us. SCORE Training helped us with that,” he said.

Accompanying the delegation’s visit, ILO Director of Partnerships and Field Support, Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, explained that they chose Viet Nam for the visit “because of the country’s successes as well as its current (and likely future) development achievements.”

“I wanted to show the development partners what a comprehensive ILO programme, which includes flexible funding, does at country level. And particularly I wanted to show when ILO works in a strong partnership with MOLISA, VGCL, VCCI and VCA, tremendous results can be achieved and ILO support can be best used,” she said.

Click here to see photos of the visit!