In the early 2000s, Vietnam went from being one of the world's most successful emerging economies to a country beset by high inflation, a real estate-induced banking crisis, and an economy burdened by mismanaged state-owned enterprises. Recently it has begun to emerge from these conditions, fueled in large part by new investments in manufacturing, continued rapid urbanization, and internal migration. Our office in Hanoi is responding with programs that promote effective governance, facilitate economic dialogue, address environmental and climate change challenges, encourage private sector development, and empower women and vulnerable populations. Read country overview.
CRITICAL ISSUE: INCREASING TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN GOVERNMENT
The stresses and strains of modernization are putting Vietnam's economic miracle under pressure. Inflation, inefficient state-owned enterprises, a fragile banking sector, and land and environmental disputes are topics of heated public debate. As part of our strategy to support reform, strengthen communities, and enhance state-society relations, we have worked with the National Assembly to develop their landmark website, Du Thao Online, where draft laws and ordinances prepared for the National Assembly are posted for anyone to comment. Options are then shared with the committees drafting the laws. This is a significant step forward to improve transparency in the country's lawmaking process, and supports and increasingly active institution to develop a new depth of engagement with the public. Our office has supported the website since 2007, making it increasingly accessible and user-friendly and dramatically increasing the number of citizens who actively participate in the country's legislative agenda. Since the launch of the upgraded version in 2012, nearly 100 draft laws have been made available to the public. The increase in interest in the website and laws and debates on it have been rapid. In 2012 there were 370,000 page views. In 2013, 1.15 million. Last year, when a draft of the revised constitution was posted, 1,900 Vietnamese commented on it through Du Thao Online.