On December 25, 2018, the Budget Transparency, Accountability and Participation (BTAP) held a workshop to publish findings of the Report “Voice of local people and officials on the National Program on New Rural Development (NTM) in 2016-2020 period: The case of Hoa Binh and Quang Tri provinces ”. Attendants in the workshop include representatives from the Finance and Budget Committee – Office of the National Assembly, Department of Social Affairs, Social Affairs Committee, NGOs, authorities of Quang Tri and Hoa Binh provinces and press agencies.
The biggest achievement of the NTM in the period of 2016-2020, according to the report and experts, is the change in the “appearance” of the rural. Quang Tri and Hoa Binh also had a fundamental change in appearance: particularly, in Hoa Binh, 51/191 communes had met NTM standards, while Quang Tri had 42/117 communes recognized to meet the national standard. Deposits in NTM projects in the two provinces mentioned above were basically resolved.
However, assessment also shows that NTM needs intensive and synchronous efforts to bring about sustainable and long-term results. In Quang Tri and Hoa Binh, after 2 years of implementation in 2016-2020 period, in some criteria, the results come up are low such as transportation, schools, cultural facilities, poor households, organization of production, environment and food safety… In addition, due to uneven socio-economic conditions, there are also large disparities in results between districts in the province and communes in the district; it is more difficult for the late communes to reach NTM targets; recently NTM movement has seemly slowed down. Besides, NTM needs to consider suitability according to specific criteria such as conformity with M&E criteria; suitability with local situation; suitability with local performance; relevance to people-centered orientation, relult-focus, efficiency and adaptation to change and risk contexts. Many objective and interesting comments about CTNM were given as:
“The root must be a NTM person, not an NTM path. How can rural become new when living standard remains under everage. Production is the must now” – (A comment from Hoa Binh)
“NTM is what the commune have recorded, but the people still live a hard life. When the commune gets certified as NTM, there is less chance of investment than before. That is why people prefer not to get NTM claim”- (A comment from Hoa Binh)
“Local people’s needs should be taken in consideration to define suitable NTM criteria, specific localized charateristics should be taken in account as well. Even production push should be considered. As the most important is what value NTM will bring about”- (An opinion from Quang Tri)
“To implement NTM is difficult for Dakrong district. NTM must be region-oriented. Where a region is too poor, poverty reduction should come first. When people have run out of poverty in a sustainable way, then NTM fits. Here we are still difficult. We must get to national target while in lack of investment and resources. NTM pressure may cause outstanding debt then. ”(Opinion from Quang Tri).
From findings of the survey in Hoa Binh and Quang Tri, attendants and stakeholders at the workshop have proposed some recommendations for adjustment and effectiveness enhancement of NMT in the next phase. Regarding the NTM evaluation criteria set, 3 proposed options were given including (1) Replace the set of criteria with M&E indicators on ocal socio-economic development; (2) Shorten the set of criteria, focusing mainly on the core criteria directly related to people’s lives alongside with M&E indicators of progress; (3) Maintain the current set of Criteria and clearly define the priority criteria for each stage. Whichever option is chosen, the results of NTM focus on people active participation, voluntary involvement and benefit -orientation to the people, especially the poor and disadvantaged.
The workshop is an opportunity for stakeholders at the central and local levels to listen to the report findings, assess the advantages and limitations of the NTM in the last 2 years; and make ontime decisions for adjustment as well in the current context. Positive and sustainable changes are what NTM aimed at in the new period.
Contact Mr. Nguyen Quang Thuong (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a full report.