The Vietnam Integrity Alliance (VIA) will be integrated into the Governance & Transparency Working Group of the Vietnam Business Forum (VBF).

Below is a paper prepared by the VIA explaining the rationale.

It is proposed that the existing VBF Governance & Transparency Working Group will provide the joint home for the initiatives and activities of what is currently the VIA and the activities to date of the Governance and Transparency Working Group, and that all activities will be reported in accordance with existing VBF requirements.

It is further proposed that:

  • The VIA and the G&T Working group merge together to create one group only
  • The working group name is changed to Governance & Integrity Working Group
  • The working group has a chair and a co-chair/vice chair
  • The working group will extend beyond the current scope of work – to cover both policy recommendations and practical activities towards long term integrity/compliance collective initiatives

Rationale

Over the last twelve months, the VIA Steering Committee and VIA members have built a strong foundation for ongoing initiatives and activities to promote business integrity and provide space for the wider private sector to play a prominent role. One of the key objectives has been to determine a governance structure to take this work to the next stage of development. Therefore, in discussions with the VBF, the Steering Committee has determined that the most appropriate vehicle to undertake ongoing business integrity-related activities is the VBF Working Group. This helps nurture the VIA to grow in scope and members during its next phase. As the initiative develops, a review will be carried out to determine the best governance structure in the long-term.

Specific reasons for this move include:

  • The VBF, being established by Prime Ministerial decree and recognised as the peak business lobby group in Vietnam, enables a wider group of chambers of commerce and their members to become involved in business integrity activities
  • The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) as co-chair of the VBF becomes an important stakeholder (on behalf of the government) and can also represent the interests of the Vietnam local business community in future integrity initiatives conducted by the Working Group
  • The new structure enables a closer relationship between key policy and reform dialogue, and practical activities

Members

In line with the existing VBF Working Group Terms of Reference, companies or organisations who are members of the existing VIA and/or members of VBF Chambers of Commerce may join the Working Group. To maximize the impact, activities organised or implemented under the practical initiative stream will be open to all interested parties. Therefore, all existing signatories to the VIA Statement of Intent will automatically become members of the reformulated Governance & Integrity Working Group, with opportunities to contribute to initiatives and activities as they are developed.

Scope of Work for Practical Initiatives

  1. Promote business integrity and corporate governance through conducting workshops, roundtables and networking events to share best practice and experience. These events may be held in partnership with other registered business associations in Vietnam.
  2. Work to develop a code of ethics / code of conduct for companies doing business in Vietnam, including a manual/guide on good business practice in Vietnam and develop a supply chain strategy to encourage companies to lift the standards of compliance and operation across supply chains that include both local and international companies. As much as possible, this work will be done in collaboration with the VCCI to include Vietnamese companies and/or organisations.
  3. Support foreign companies to implement home country anti-bribery acts in Vietnam
  4. Closely collaborate with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI) to support the implementation of Project 12, sharing international best practice on business integrity, compliance and business standards. (To be discussed with VCCI)
  5. Contribute to the Working Group by providing policy recommendations as appropriate, based upon evidence and experience gained from events and activities

Scope of Work for Policy Review and Recommendations

The Working Group will continue to address Vietnam’s competitiveness index as it relates to transparency and integrity, providing comparative analysis by province and by country, and solutions based on global best practice.

Budget

The VIA and WG have no core funding. Contributions of ideas, expertise and resources are made voluntarily by interested business leaders, chambers of commerce and technical specialists.

Currently, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UK DFID) has provided a fund of approximately €23,000 to be used for activities, workshops, roundtables and other events. This fund is available until 30 June 2015. The fund is administered and disbursed by EuroCham Vietnam in a similar manner to other VBF funding.

From July 2015, the Working Group will rely upon the ongoing voluntary and in-kind contribution of chambers of commerce and business people who have already expressed interest in supporting the initiative. Towards Transparency will continue to provide in-kind technical support and advice within the Governance and Integrity Working Group. From time-to-time, funding may be sought from the donor and development community and interested companies and business associations for specific activities or events. It is anticipated that any such funds raised will be administered in a similar manner as above.