Vietnam needs national action plan to promote responsible business practices: workshop

A consultation workshop took place in Hanoi on April 7, presenting recommendations to the development a national action plan (NAP) on improving laws and policies to advance responsible business practices (RBP) in Vietnam.

The event was co-organised by the Ministry of Justice, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam.

In his opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Justice Phan Chi Hieu stated the key to balancing Vietnam's economic growth with sustainable development is promoting RBP.

The official said that his ministry has so far identified three orientations for the project’s contents, which are completing laws and policies on RBP; boosting effectiveness and quality of related law and policy enforcement; and raising awareness and capacity on the matter for state agencies, businesses, and the society.

Caitlin Wiesen, UN Resident Coordinator a.i. and UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, highlighted Vietnam’s candidacy to the UN Human Rights Council for the 2023-25 term, and said the development of a national action plan to promote respect for human rights in the context of business operation strengthens Vietnam’s voluntary pledges as a future member of the council.

According to her, UNDP, with support from the Swedish Government, has been working with the Vietnamese ministry to conduct two studies. A preliminary assessment of the legal framework of RBP in Vietnam was published in 2020 and the current one is the baseline exercise to identify and prioritise course of actions for NAP for the upcoming years. The ministry is now finalising a baseline document which will inform the development of NAP. Five areas have already been identified as priorities: investment, labour rights and standards, civil rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups, environment, and consumer rights.