From 29-31 August 2017, VUSTA, with support from RLS SEA, organized a training on consultation, assessment and monitoring skills for VUSTA’s members in Nha Trang. Around 60 participants, who were representatives from 14 of VUSTA’s member organizations, ) from Central to Southern Vietnam attended the training.
The trainer addressed examples of consultancy cases in practice, how it worked and its results like the Law on Association, North-South train project, Long Thanh airport, Thach Khe steel project, etc. He also discussed the pros and cons for the works of VUSTA’s consultancy: It is advantageous to have trust by State and Party, employ qualified experts while maintaining an independent position. On the other hand, they face challenges from a lack of access to information, lack of a feedback mechanism, human resource, low investment sources or a difficult financial mechanism.
The trainer analyzed the multi-dimensional approach and scientific evidence for the arguments in the process of consultation. He also pointed out the lack of participation from impact people (for example: ethnic minority people) in the development of projects, which in return causes difficulties for the comprehensive assessment.
The training also highlighted the role of media, its importance and how to select correct information. The trainer compared the present trend with past experiences illustrated by examples of recent hot cases, which involved media. The trainer emphasized the role of social media in modern society, but also its implied threats to the stability and political soundness of the society.
Talking about the processes of consultation and assessment, the participants shared difficulties of their weak position in submitting critical comments, when the idea of criticism is not always favored in traditional practice. Also, most of their work is following ordersand the schedule of the local agencies but not actively proposing for the engagement.
Trainees also shared their wish for developing capacity, not only limited to skills for consultation, assessment and monitor but also soft skills in presenting criticism ideas, etc.
The event was also an opportunity for VUSTA’s members to exchange and enhance their network.