The UNDP-Netherlands jointly-funded project to support the Machinery for the Advancement of Women to Mainstream Gender in National Policy and Planning with the specific output of “increased understanding of emerging gender issues” sought to evaluate the effects of Vietnam’s economic integration on women. The aims of the research were to find out the disparities between men and women, and other critical gender issues in the economic integration period and other issues of concern in key sectors for macro-level policy attention. The study focused on the key sectors of garments and footwear, where women’s participation is significant.

About one third of the Vietnamese population lives below the poverty line, and 85% of the poor live in rural areas. The primary expenditure instrument used by the Government of Vietnam to improve rural incomes has been subsidized irrigation investments. Irrigation accounts for about half of all public expenditures in the agricultural sector, and three-quarters of all capital investments. The primary question posed by this study is: how effective are public irrigation expenditures in increasing rural incomes, particularly for the poor? 

The Government of Timor Leste, through its National Statistics Directorate, was about to finalize its second Survey of Living Standards (TLSLS-2007) in February 2008. The completion of this survey was an important accomplishment in producing relevant and detailed socioeconomic data that can guide the policy decisions in the country across a wide range of sectors. As part of its work in the country, the World Bank had an interest in deepening its understanding of four themes that were not covered in the questionnaire of the TLSLS-2007, specifically issues of households’: (a) vulnerability to shocks, (b) access to financial services, (c) land management techniques and (d) perceptions and use of community dispute mechanisms.