Vietnam’s shift from a centrally planned to a market economy has transformed the country from one of the poorest in the world into a lower middle-income country. Vietnam now is one of the most dynamic emerging countries in East Asia region.
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A World Bank-supported project has brought strong social, environmental and economic benefits to local communitiesHUE, March 27, 2015 – More than 43,000 households in central Vietnam have received acc... Show More +ess to micro finance and technical support to establish over 76,500 hectares of forest under a World Bank-supported project.Implemented from 2005 to 2015 in the provinces of Binh Dinh, Quang Ngai, Quang Nam, Thua Thien Hue, Nghe An and Thanh Hoa, the Forest Sector Development Project has brought strong social, environmental and economic benefits to local communities.“Many families have escaped poverty thanks to forest plantations under the project,” said Pham Quoc Chien, Director of the Project Central Coordination Unit.The project funded efforts to survey land and facilitated the issuance of land use right certificates for about 35,000 households. Farmers use the certificates to apply for low-interest loans from the project’s fund managed by the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies.“The project is the first, and to date, the only one in Vietnam using the approach of lending to small-holder plantation which proves to be much more sustainable, compared to the country’s traditional approach of subsidizing plantation,” said Nguyen Thi Thu Lan, World Bank Sr. Environmental Specialist, Project Task Team Leader.Project officers often provided regular training and on-site support for farmers on developing business plans, budget estimates, planting, monitoring and harvesting.Under the project, a pilot area of 850 hectares received the International Stewardship Forest Certification for meeting strict international technical, social and environmental standards. The price of certified timber is 30% higher than non-certified timber of the same type.More than 400 km of access track have been upgraded, which has lowered transport costs, significantly increased labor productivity and income as well as generated more employment for local people. The project has also supported the construction of 86 fire watchtowers and 102 information boards across the project area to raise public awareness on forest protection and minimize risks of forest fires and damages.Although the project was completed in March 2015, the revolving fund, managed by the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, will continue to run for 20 more years after the project completion, so many more households will have access to this source of credits.“The modernization of forestry approaches under the project is an internal part of Vietnam’s efforts to modernize agriculture,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “I hope that good practice from this project can be scaled up so many more households in Vietnam will have access to credits and modern forest plantation approaches.”The project received financing of more than 100 million USD from the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group, the Trust Fund for Forestry, and the Government of Vietnam. Show Less -
Ho Chi Minh City, March 12, 2015 — The State Bank of Vietnam and the World Bank today signed agreements for a total of US$450 million in loans and credits to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to furth... Show More +er improve Ho Chi Minh City’s environment and sanitation.The funding, which goes to the Second Ho Chi Minh City Environmental Sanitation Project, will improve the environment by treating wastewater, strengthen institutional capacity to manage sanitation and wastewater services, and increase public awareness on the benefits of improved sanitation practices."The project is part of the World Bank strategic partnership with Ho Chi Minh City which supports economic growth, urban development including flood risk management and improving urban services. The improvements to environmental sanitation to be funded under the project will increase the quality of life for about 1.3 million residents," said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Country Director to Viet Nam.The project includes a waste water treatment plant that will treat wastewater collected in the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe basin and from parts of District 2 of the city. The plant will treat untreated wastewater that is currently being discharged to the Saigon River. Through the project, sewer networks and house connections to the network will be installed in parts of District 2. The project will also provide technical assistance to improve sanitation and wastewater management practices in the city.“We place emphasis on both improved wastewater treatment infrastructure and management, as well as awareness raising to bring about a sustainable liveable urban environment,” said Sudipto Sarkar, World Bank Lead Specialist and task team leader. “Thus, an Environmental Learning Center will be established to raise awareness of sanitation issues and the environment that will benefit the people of the Ho Chi Minh City.”The total project cost is US$495 million, of which US$250 million will be financed through a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and a US$200 million credit through the International Development Association (IDA). HCMC will provide US$45 million from its own resources for the project. Show Less -
Technology’s transformative promise for societies has never before had more potential, and awareness is building that women might hold the key to unlock the door to progress. On the occasion of intern... Show More +ational women’s day, public debate around gender often centers on what society needs to do for women. But this is only one part of the discussion.The broader question is how women can contribute to social transformation in a fundamentally important way. What can women do to encourage innovation – and through innovation, bring about higher growth and shared prosperity?Equality of opportunity across gender is widely recognized as an identifier of a healthy and prosperous society around the world. The good news is that on this front, Vietnam is ahead on many indicators, such as the enrollment of girls in basic and higher education. Women account for more than 40 percent of scientific researchers in Vietnam, substantially more than just few decades years ago, and well above the figures for other countries in the region .However, when it comes to leadership in science and technology – whether in academia or in the private sector – the data shows a different picture:• While 40 percent of master’s degree holders are women, they account for only 26 percent of associate professors, and only 10 percent of professors;• Just 19 percent of key national science and technology programs were conducted with women as scientific leaders or with a high percentage of women researchers;• Of 1,134 Vietnamese individual patent applications in the period 2008-12 from a recent patent database, less than 9 percent were from women.These figures are, in part, the legacy of the past. As more bright and dedicated young women come through the ranks, more women should reach higher ranks. And it is true that in some of these areas women have made considerable gains in recent years. The point is whether the progress will be sustained. We need to encourage young women not only to pursue science and engineering degrees, but also to pursue scientific careers and careers as entrepreneurs. Women innovators may very well pave the way for Vietnam to become a prosperous economy within one generation, indeed it may prove an impossible task without the participation of women scientists and engineers.Why are women considered to be so critical to innovation? A recent study in the academic review Science, examined the determinants of success in teams across a range of tasks – the researchers studied hundreds of teams and explored factors such as the intelligence level of individual team members. A critical factor of success? The proportion of females in the team.Researchers reason that a motivating factor behind success of teams is social sensitivity – or the abilities of team members to ascertain the spoken and unspoken needs of others and to be able to respond proactively to those needs. Researchers in a follow-up study ascribe the superior ability of women to read complex emotions to success in teamwork. Scientific research with more women researchers in teams is more likely to be breakthrough because the diversity brings about greater creativity and fresh approaches to look at the same problem in a new way.A study of entrepreneurship found start-ups led by women entrepreneurs tend to perform better. High technology firms established by women generated higher revenues and had higher survival rates. The reason? Women were found to be more resilient to setbacks and persevere in the face of adverse outcomes – perhaps the struggles of our mothers and grandmothers have made us women the stronger sex!We are at the threshold of a truly transformative revolution in the way things are manufactured through collaborative teams that sometime span the globe. Wherever tomorrow’s brilliant ideas come from, whatever sectors they affect – from mining for gold to mining for data, it is very clear that the people who will make those ideas come true will have higher skills of analysis, creativity, resilience and social influence.Societies where more of those groups are led by women, formed only of women or have substantive female members will be ahead of the curve. People working collaboratively in real and virtual groups, are building solutions to current problems and problems whose existence we have not yet realized. It is certain that women will play a critical role for all the solutions – from cleaner energy to smarter appliances.The women entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers of tomorrow are the girls of today. Parents and educators can work hard to encourage girls to do well in science and mathematics—areas of study that can charge a child’s imagination early - Vietnam has a strong tradition in this area, that needs to be strengthened and modernized. Industry can make a stronger effort to reach out to girls in high school, at a time when adolescents are considering alternative careers. Successful women engineers can serve as powerful role models. Vietnam will soon have maker spaces – centers of hubs of activities where people get together to collaborate on designing and prototyping innovative products using technology such as 3-D printers. Somewhat on the periphery of the formal education system, such maker spaces can serve to break the mold of outdated beliefs about the capabilities of women in the field of technology. In the formal education system, universities that are successfully able to enroll and graduate more women will prove to be more successful in helping their graduates secure jobs and build a reputation for innovation.This Women’s Day is not just about celebration and commemoration – it is about an affirmation of the great responsibility that women and men equally share to bring about innovation for a sustainable and prosperous future. Show Less -