On morning 22nd November 2013, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) organized a workshop entitled “Theoretical basis and practical advocacy activity” in Ho Chi Minh City with participation of delegations from eight Southern provinces. The workshop was one activity which belongs to the project “Strengthening policy consultancy and advocacy of VUSTA” – a cooperation between Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Asia and VUSTA.
Starting the workshop, Mr. Pham Bich San explained the technique and strategy for carrying out advocacy work with regard to VUSTA’s activities. According to him, VUSTA had given critical consultation to Vietnam’s government through advocacy activities when deciding to construct new nuclear power plants, to carry out the bauxite plan and build the express railway. Also discussing about practical advocacy activities in Vietnam, Mr. Nguyen Lan Dung talked about activities of the Vietnam Fatherland Front and its policies. It is an irony that in Vietnam, the lobbying/advocacy activity is not legal but now increasing.
Meanwhile, Mr. Phan Anh Son analyzed advocacy activities as the “supply-demand” of an economy: Vietnam has “supply” but “demand” seems to be uncertain. He added that the policy-maker bodies should have their own need to be advocated. The advocacy activity in Vietnam has not been effective because of the incapability of those agents who operate in the field.
Later, the experts shared about international practices regarding advocacy activity. A typical model of an advocacy organization is a think-tank which is quite popular in the world: there are now 2300 think-tanks in America while this number in China is 1600.
In general, the workshop was a success – it delivered thoughtful presentations and speeches from reputable experts such as Mr. Nguyen Lan Dung, Mr. Tran Viet Hung and Mr. Pham Bich San. The discussion sessions were also exciting with many frank questions and contribution ideas from participants.