Viet Nam Office


Viet Nam Office


The UNODC Hanoi Liaison Office was established in 1994 to support the Vietnamese Government in its efforts to control and prevent drug related crimes. Subsequently, the office gained full country office status in 1998. Since 2008 the work of the Country Office in Viet Nam directly contributes to the Regional Programme Framework for East Asia and the Pacific in close cooperation with the Regional Centre in Bangkok.

Since 1994, Viet Nam experienced a significant decrease in recorded poverty and a general improvement in democratization and implementation of the rule of law. The poverty rates decreased from over 60 per cent in 1990, to 18.1 per cent in 2004, largely due to rapid annual economic growth, averaging 8- 9 per cent annually (UNDP, 2009)

In light of Viet Nam's successful strategy on socioeconomic stabilization from 1991 to 2000, the Vietnamese Government's efforts to eradicate poppy cultivation has resulted in a significant reduction of opium poppy plantations. Official figures indicate that opium poppy cultivation coverage has more than halved between 1992 and 2004. However, while opium largely has been eradicated in Viet Nam, Heroin remains the most commonly used illicit drug in Viet Nam, followed by opium and cannabis. However, methamphetamine, both in pill and crystalline form, along with ecstasy and ketamine, were all seen as being equal in severity in the hierarchy of illicit drug use in Viet Nam in 2008. The nexus of injecting drug use (IDU) with the transmission of HIV has lead to a concentrated epidemic among heroin users and other vulnerable populations, such as sex workers. While Viet Nam faces numerous challenges to respond to drug use, prevention, and treatment, the country's economic growth and internationalization has created problems in other UNODC mandated fields as well.

Trafficking in persons, both international and domestic, and smuggling of migrants is believed to be an increasing problem in Viet Nam. Although the recorded official statistics on victims are very limited (422 victims returned from China in 2007[1]), it is believed that the phenomenon has much larger proportions. Over four years, UNODC successfully provided technical assistance to strengthen the legal and law enforcement institutions of Viet Nam in preventing and combating trafficking in persons, contributing to the national commitment to ratify and implement the UN Convention against transnational crime (UNTOC) and its protocol on trafficking in persons.

Widespread corruption is another major concern. The low ranking of Viet Nam in recognized international corruption indices - such as the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index and the Worldwide Governance Indicators by the World Bank - is a clear signal of the difficulty of the national Government to adequately tackle this major challenge. UNODC assisted the Government of Viet Nam to respond adequately to corruption and as a result of these joint efforts, Viet Nam ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in June 2009.

Money laundering is a relatively new problem in Viet Nam and the level of awareness about how to best respond among law enforcement, prosecution and judiciary is generally low. UNODC supports the Government's efforts to strengthen the national capacity to investigate and prosecute money laundering offences through a Viet Nam-based AML project. At the same time UNODC is present in Viet Nam - with extensions in Cambodia and Lao PRD - through the Global Programme Against Money Laundering, as part of a joint World Bank/UNODC programme. Special support is provided to the Financial Intelligence Unit, within the State Bank.

Violence against women, in particular domestic violence, is yet another major problem in Viet Nam, occurring in all social classes, in both rural and urban areas. Limited awareness within society, law enforcement and legal sector hampers the capacity to provide adequate response to prevent and control domestic violence and efficiently protect the victims. As data collection is essential to every comprehensive policy development, UNODC has supported the first ever survey on the quality of criminal justice services in Viet Nam. Moreover, UNODC is committed to enhance public awareness through robust media outreach and train law enforcement and legal officers to efficiently respond to domestic violence cases.

One UN Initiative

UN Viet NamViet Nam is one of the few pilot countries of the global reform of the United Nations and UNODC is one of the 14 UN agencies actively involved in the related "One UN Initiative". Launched in 2006, the Initiative aims at insuring a common approach, harmonized programming and coherent management between UN agencies in Viet Nam, ultimately transforming the United Nations to deliver better results for the benefit of the people of Viet Nam. In the heart of the reform are the five One's - One Plan, One UN House, One Set of Management Practices, One Budget and One Leader. In order to monitor the implementation of the One Plan and insure common and coherent programming, 11 Programme Coordination Groups (PCGs) were created. UNODC is currently an active member of the Gender, Governance, Protection and HIV PCG. For more information, visit the UN Viet Nam website.


[1] UN.GIFT Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, UNODC February 2009