Study Report: A preliminary analysis of power relations of Vietnamese NGOs

Dear MSD’s readers,

As civil society actors have become increasingly important in the development agenda at the global level and in Vietnam’s context. These actors represent commitment to democratic and inclusive governance and also have the capacity and potential to bring about social change.

Civil society space in Vietnam includes mostly booming Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) registered with political-social-professional associations. For example, VUSTA (Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations) alone has granted the inception of more than 500 institutes and centers under its umbrella. In principle, these organizations have to comply with a reporting regime to their umbrella organization and the line ministry on project – approval basis. However, in practice, they have a quite large degree of operational autonomy. These local NGOs have benefited from the experience and human resources of INGOs operating in Vietnam in 1990s and 2000s. Most of the leaders of the local NGOs are former staffers of INGOs or/and have strong connections with both INGOs and the party-state officials. Indeed, the international donors have been partnering with Vietnamese NGOs on policy advocacy and promotion of international human rights norms and standards as they are seen as bridges between the party-state and the society.

However, the Vietnamese party-state still has a lot of reservations about the role and position of the NGOs in the development field. There are certain concerns about anti-party and anti-state elements in the NGOs that can potentially pose threats to the regime, both in terms of its legitimacy and its grip on power. There are signs that the Government is tightening regulations on the NGOs with more restrictive measures designed in new decrees including the one on sanctioning the organization of international conferences, meetings and seminars. It is likely that the civil society space is becoming more repressed over the next few years as a result of the new measure to be enacted.

MSD Vietnam would like to introduce to you A study report: A preliminary analysis of power relations of Vietnamese NGOs which includes:

  • PART 1: Introduction of Vietnamese Civil Society Organizations
  • PART 2: Theoretical Framework
  • PART 3: Sources and Forms of VCSOs power
  • PART 4: Spaces of VNGOs power
  • PART 5: Levels of VNGOs power

(Download the full version here)


MSD Vietnam