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Lund researchers assist reforms in Vietnam

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is investing in a new type of aid in cooperation with Vietnam. In a project which has received SEK 9.8 million of funding, researchers at Lund University will help the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture to prevent a human and environmental disaster as a large proportion of Vietnam's population leave rural areas to move to the cities.

Vietnam's economy is growing strongly and it is today considered an important growth economy. However, as countries move from being low-income to middle-income countries, normal Swedish aid falls away. For these countries, Sida instead puts its efforts into partner-driven, long term cooperation where the parties involved not only receive aid but are also involved in co financing development projects.

In partner-driven cooperation, universities have been identified as important players to help development. With a global perspective permeating education and research, universities can contribute to greater knowledge and understanding of global development processes and facilitate reforms and democratisation processes. As a step in this work, Sida is now starting a three-year research project coordinated by the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University in Sweden.

The researchers, economic geographer Magnus Andersson and political scientist Christian Göbel at the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, will contribute research-based expertise for the reforms which Vietnam will need to carry out as it faces major economic and geographical challenges. These include reforms of the ownership rights to land and reforms to manage the economic migration that is taking place from rural areas to the expanding manufacturing industry.

"A structure needs to be built up to be able to absorb the migration that is happening to the cities. Ownership rights are weak in Vietnam and legislation and organisations are needed that can take charge of people's rights", says Magnus Andersson.

The research will partly be conducted on site in Vietnam, starting in October, where comprehensive interviews will be carried out with migrants. The researchers will also see how democratisation processes and policy work have been carried out in other countries with similar challenges, such as Taiwan and Thailand.

About the project: The partner-driven project has a total cost of SEK 9.8 million. Sida is contributing SEK 5.3 million and Vietnam is contributing SEK 2.3 million. Other partners and co-financers are the Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University, which is also coordinating the project, the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen and the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm.

For more information, please contact: Project coordinator Magnus Andersson, Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, tel.: +46 735 878949, email: magnus.andersson@ace.lu.se

idw :: 17.10.2011