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Cablegate: Vietnam: Launch of Smartwork Labor Cooperation

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HANOI 000197

SIPDIS

STATE PASS USDOL ILAB
STATE ALSO PASS USAID FOR ANTOINETTE FERRARA
STATE ALSO PASS USTR FOR EBRYAN
PHNOM PENH FOR USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EAID ECON ETRD SOCI VM HIV AIDS
SUBJECT: VIETNAM: LAUNCH OF SMARTWORK LABOR COOPERATION
PROJECT ON HIV/AIDS IN THE WORKPLACE

REF: 02 HANOI 2914

1. (U) SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL)
funded Strategically Managing AIDS Responses Together
(SMARTWork) project officially commenced on January 23. The
Charge and senior GVN officials spoke at the launch. The
SMARTWork project focuses on the prevention of HIV/AIDS in
the workplace by working with the government, labor unions,
and employers to formulate effective workplace policies and
programs. It is clear to the international community here
that over the last few years HIV/AIDS has become a
development issue. Given its positive response to this
program, Vietnam finally appears ready to face and address
this reality. Of the six USDOL projects falling under the
2000 MOU on labor cooperation, this program was the last one
approved by the GVN. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Continuing implementation of the 2000 U.S.-Vietnam
Memorandum of Understanding on Labor and its accompanying
technical assistance programs described in reftel, the U.S.
Department of Labor (USDOL) funded Strategically Managing
AIDS Responses Together (SMARTWork) was officially launched
on January 23. This 4-year, $600,000 program is being
executed by the Academy for Educational Development in
collaboration with Vietnam's Ministry of Labor, Invalids and
Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Vietnam General Confederation
of Labor (VGCL) the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(VCCI), and the Ministry of Health (MOH). These bodies will
cooperate to carry out research, provide technical
assistance, develop communication materials and strategies,
and conduct national and provincial workshops for the
benefit of workers, managers and their families. The
program calls on them to work together in the development of
workplace and national-level policies and in the provision
of support for workers and their families infected and
affected by HIV/AIDS.
3. (U) At the official launch, speakers from the Embassy
and every agency present emphasized the importance of this
project. Universally, they recognized Vietnam's growing
HIV/AIDS problem and appreciated the unique opportunity
provided by this program. As the first attempt to address
the epidemic by bringing together the government, unions,
and employers, it will reach a larger audience and encompass
more viewpoints. Charge Porter emphasized the need to
address HIV/AIDS in order to ensure that the considerable
progress made on poverty reduction and economic growth in
Vietnam is not reversed.
4. (SBU) COMMENT: Although the program was originally
designed to work with twenty enterprises, it will probably
work with many more because of strong demand from the firms
themselves. If the GVN was previously unsure of the need or
utility for such a project, clearly the demand exists as
Vietnam attempts to cope with its growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Over the last few years, the international community has
sought to address HIV/AIDS as a development issue, but the
GVN had resisted. Given the GVN's positive response to this
program, Vietnam appears ready to finally face and address
this reality.
PORTER

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