Viet Nam

In Viet Nam, culture’s role in development has been increasingly recognized in such key documents as the National Strategy for Cultural Development (2010-2020). The challenge is to ensure that the full range of culture’s benefits is considered and that culture is consistently mainstreamed as a defining and sustainable component in national development plans. The new wealth of data on culture and development, which resulted from implementing the CDIS, has made it possible to empirically illustrate culture’s multidimensional contribution to development and advocate for its greater integration in the national development agenda. In addition, the participative implementation process unveiled gaps in national statistics and monitoring systems, pointing the way to strengthening them and further reinforcing the knowledge base to inform national policies.

Culture matters in Viet Nam: CDIS indicators highlight Viet Nam’s culture sector’s potential for prosperity, while underlining certain obstacles in place that inhibit it from reaching its full potential.

The results suggest that there is a high level of appreciation for culture’s development potential amongst Vietnamese authorities, reflected by very positive results for the indicators on the normative, policy and institutional frameworks, civil society participation, and heritage sustainability  8 9 11 22 (0.81/1; 1/1; 0.95/1; 0.75/1), which suggest that the foundation for good cultural governance for development is in place. The outcome of such legislation, policies and mechanisms is already reflected by the majority of Vietnamese benefitting from the cultural right to an education 4 (0.76/1), as well as significant opportunities to explore arts and culture subjects in key formative years at school 6 (12%), and the comprehensive professional training opportunities in culture at the TVET and tertiary levels 7 (1/1). The impact of the government’s promotion of culture is also illustrated by the significant supply of domestic fiction productions on public TV (46.83% of broadcasting time of fiction programmes), which indirectly reflects publically supported opportunities for diffusion and exposure of cultural contents provided by local creators and cultural industries, as well as the culture sector’s important contribution to national production levels and the economy.

For culture to further contribute to development and social cohesion, persisting obstacles regarding the quality and distribution of cultural infrastructures may need to be addressed 10 (0.66/1), to not only favor increased participation and enjoyment in cultural activities, but through increased access, reinforce feelings of mutual understanding, tolerance and trust across culturally diverse groups 14 15 (57.13%; 52.1%).  Similarly, while international cultural diversity is already promoted through language programmes in schools, strengthening the promotion of multilingualism 5 (46.3%) by increasing exposure to local and regional languages may likewise promote cross-cultural understanding amongst the people of Viet Nam and improve minorities’ education and working opportunities.

Finally, to enhance culture’s impact on wellbeing, increased focus may need to be placed on culture’s role in improving gender equality for development, as well as targeted actions to address the freedoms of expression and self-determination. Indicators on the objective outputs and perceptions of gender equality suggest that new forward-looking legislation and objective outputs 17 (0.69/1) do not translate into subjective opinions regarding its importance for development 18 (53%). While Vietnamese individuals feel that they are free to say what they think and that they benefit from the freedom of self-determination 16 (6.7/10), other indicators suggest that enhancement of the freedom of expression 19 (16/100) is still possible and that additional support may be necessary to assure that such freedoms fuel dynamic cultural and creative industries and permit culture to be a medium of communication and satisfaction.