On December 15, 2023, the International Cooperation Department (ICD) of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Integra Government Services International convened for the Annual Review, a moment of reflection on the Vietnam Public Financial Management (PFM) Activity under the Asia Emerging Opportunities contract. The agenda assessed achievements and explored potential areas for future collaboration under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Representatives from the International Cooperation Department (ICD), the Insurance Supervisory Agency (ISA), and the State Securities Commission (SSC) reflected on the significant strides made in strengthening the Ministry of Finance’s central role in managing state finances. Leaders from the ICD, MOF, and a representative from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) set the tone for the event with welcoming remarks, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and the collective effort driving the initiative. The event highlighted that this initiative has been a driving force for improving efficiency and transparency in financial matters at the state level.

The AEO Vietnam Public Financial Management (PFM) activity aimed to enhance the Ministry of Finance’s central role in managing state finances, promoting efficiency and transparency at the state level. With a $2.45 million buy-in from USAID, the project spanned two years and six months (June 2021 – December 2023). The challenges in Vietnam’s PFM, highlighted by USAID, included low transparency, public participation, and a high budget deficit. The project’s objectives centered on strengthening the Ministry’s capacity, improving legal frameworks, and deepening financial markets. The first year focused on finalizing a ten-year PFM strategy, capacity building for MOF staff, and developing legal frameworks. In subsequent years, efforts continued to forecast state budget revenue, complete legal frameworks for the security market, enhance capacity building, study taxes, and address other tasks. Notable accomplishments included comprehensive training sessions, workshops on green finance, taxes, and green financing studies, a debt securitization report, and initiatives in artificial intelligence and machine learning training, e-commerce, and risk-based capital models for the insurance market. The project aimed to support Vietnam’s economic growth, public health, and overall governance improvement.

In its inaugural year, the Integra AEO team prioritized key objectives to strengthen the Ministry of Finance. This included finalizing a ten-year public financial management strategy through extensive stakeholder consultations, developing action plans, and assessing policy impacts on the budget and financial sector. They also conducted training programs on evidence-based budgeting, data-driven analysis, gender-based budgeting, and debt management to empower ministry staff. Additionally, efforts were made to enhance legal frameworks in the securities market, improve tax policies, and establish a foundation for a transparent financial system. In the subsequent second and third years, the team made substantial progress, focusing on tasks such as state budget forecasting, completing the legal framework for the security market with an emphasis on green bonds, ongoing capacity building for Ministry of Finance officials, comprehensive evaluation of tax policies, and engagement in diverse initiatives like SSC Capacity Building, Green Taxonomy Workshop, and efforts for a Stock Exchange for Start-Ups, demonstrating the project’s multifaceted impact.


Throughout the closeout event, representatives from the beneficiary departments pointed out numerous remarkable milestones, highlighting the effectiveness of Integra’s work, including:

  • SSC Capacity Building Training: Collaborative sessions with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission experts received high participant satisfaction.
  • Debt Securitization Report: A comprehensive report on debt securitization, including a qualitative impact study, laid the foundation for further initiatives.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Training: Responding to SSC’s request, AEO committed to providing AI and ML training, aligning with establishing an exchange for small, high-growth companies and startups.
  • Risk-Based Capital Model: AEO developed a risk-based capital model for Vietnam’s insurance market, providing a roadmap for its full implementation.


Despite the short implementation period, the initiative’s impact is already profound, marking a testament to the power of strategic collaboration and dedicated efforts in shaping a resilient and progressive future for Vietnam. By empowering the Ministry of Finance, fostering transparency, and embracing innovation, the project is enhancing Vietnam’s financial landscape and contributing to its overall governance systems. This even celebrated achievements while laying the groundwork for future collaboration. The MOU implementation has been a positive force for change, and the potential areas discussed during the event signal a promising future. The collaborative spirit evident throughout the day underscores a commitment to international cooperation and a collective journey toward shared goals. A representative from USAID Vietnam remarked, “We concluded the USAID Public Finance Management successfully with positive momentum for potential cooperation with the Ministry of Finance.”

Pictured: Representatives of Integra and the acting director of USAID/Vietnam and the trade and competitiveness advisor presented with letters of appreciation from Vietnam’s MOF for their valuable contributions to the technical assistance provided on public financial management.


The changing hydrology in the high mountains of Central and South Asia is of concern for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and their water resource management investments. The uncertainty of future water supplies will likely negatively impact agriculture, food security, and hydropower generation. Better tools for measuring, forecasting, and understanding how run-off contributes to river systems and water allocation are needed to advance the region’s food security under a changing climate and managing water supplies for energy markets. However, there is no robust understanding of the climate sensitivity of water and energy supply and the interconnected impacts on agricultural and electricity production. Efforts to quantify contributions from rainfall, seasonal snow melt, and glacier ice melt to total river run-off and their effects on irrigated agriculture and hydropower have often not been included in water management strategic planning. The USAID/Asia Bureau seeks to synthesize available information so it can be understood and used by policymakers and water managers and contribute to successfully implementing USAID Mission activities in the region.


USAID is working with Central Asia Governments and research institutions—under the Asia Emerging Opportunities (AEO) mechanism—to evaluate the status and possible causes of lower-than-usual regional water supplies. In 2021, Integra helped draft a series of reports on using the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Contributions to High Asia Run-off from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) project to work with regional stakeholders to ascertain the current methods employed to assess regional water supplies and update existing hydrological models in Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan. The reports reviewed existing CHARIS literature and examined the current use of CHARIS. The reports aimed to understand to what extent actors working on water monitoring have used CHARIS outputs and demonstrate the data potential to stakeholders. A larger goal was to address how changes in water supplies and associated run-off affect the production of hydroelectricity and agriculture (particularly related to irrigation) in each country and how downstream countries receive discharge from their rivers. As a continuation, Integra is delivering snowmelt and glaciermelt training modules in Central Asia using data from eight primary river basins.


In early 2022, Integra partnered with Innovative Water & Environmental Solutions (IWES), a research institute that uses innovative methods, data, and tools, such as the MODSNOW tool, to solve emerging water and environmental issues. IWES focuses on using remote sensing-based products as a data source and advanced Geographic Information System (GIS) and other programmatic languages to solve complex issues. To date, Integra and IWES have collected, processed, and observed satellite-based data from eight river basins across five countries throughout Central Asia to develop snowmelt and glaciermelt modules for integration into the MODSNOW tool.

The MODSNOW operational tool, originally developed by Dr. Abror Gafurov of IWES, aims to provide Central Asia crucial information for monitoring snow cover and water resources. The functions of MODSNOW Tool include 1) operational and automatic monitoring of snow coverage in any river basin, 2) hydrological forecasting using remote sensing-based snow cover data, 3) operational monitoring of daily snow water equivalent, snow depth and snowmelt, and 4) forecasting water availability for short-term (several days) considering glacier melt in summer months.

Integra and IWES are delivering a series of trainings to National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) in Central Asia on how to use the tool. The focus is on the full development of the MODSNOW tool as a solid hydrological model that can assess water availability in the Central Asian Region and provide the necessary training for local hydrometeorological services to monitor local water supply continually.


Caption: Snowmelt monitoring of the Varzob River Basin in Tajikistan depicting changing snow depth between 200 and 2023, produced by the MODNSOW tool. (Photo Credit: IWES) 



Representatives from IWES traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan and presented at an International Conference, “Central Asia: Towards sustainable future through strong regional institution,” dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. The Executive Committee of IFAS was organized by with the support of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and in cooperation with development partners. The conference aimed to reflect on past accomplishments, provide insight into current streams of cooperation and develop an agenda for future vision in this space. This Conference was a great place to introduce the training objectives to all interested organizations in Central Asia. Furthermore, a meeting was dedicated to discussing the MODSNOW model, its development and improvement, the existing experience of operational use of MODSNOW in the work of national hydrological and meteorological services and other organizations, and the future development of the model. Representatives of all National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NHMSs) and other organizations from each country in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and a USAID representative took part in the meeting (20+ in-person and 15 virtual attendees).

CAPTION: Integra/IWES representative at the main exhibition hall of the National Library of Tajikistan during the conference, June 05–07, 2023.


Since the announcement, the first training took place in Bishkek from June 26–30, 2023. Participants from the National Hydrometeorological Services of the Kyrgyz Republic were introduced to the MODSNOW snowmelt and glacier melt modules. The training included theoretical demonstrations highlighting the modules’ basic functions and practical exercises tailored to the region’s needs to ensure the application of the tool at Kyrgyzhydromet is sustainable. The proper interpretation of the MODSNOW outputs for improved water management and the strengths and weaknesses of the tool were also discussed. The sessions were attended by 13 officials representing Kyrgyz Hydrometeorological services, the Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower NAS KR, and the Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences.

Caption: Opening of Kyrgyzhydromet training in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on June 26, 2023.


The team returned to Dushanbe, Tajikistan in early July for the second training. Eight officials from Tajikhydromet’s Department of Hydrological Forecasts and Snow and Avalanche Departments attended three days of information sessions. Additional participants included representatives from the Center for the Study of Glaciers, NAS Tajikistan, and the Head of the Laboratory from the Institute of Water Problems, Hydropower, and Ecology. Example exercises included inputting initial glacier thickness, temperature, and precipitation data to model when a glacier will disappear and how to synthesize predicted glacier melt into predicted river discharge. The training series will continue throughout July and August 2023, with IWES representatives traveling to Astana, Kazakhstan, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Ashgabat, and Turkmenistan—ultimately providing trainings across all eight of Central Asia’s most critical river basins.

Caption: Opening of Tajikhydromet training in Dushanbe, Tajikistan July 3, 2023.

Participants at Democracy Camp in the Kyrgyz Republic (IFES, June 2017)

By Pin Thanesnant, AEO Director of Operations

Democracy has been declining across Asia and the Pacific for more than ten years. Information disorder—a term in which distorted and manipulated information is ubiquitous—is believed to be playing a role in destabilizing democracy across the region.

The USAID/Asia Bureau’s Technical Services wanted to understand how distorted information is used to gain and maintain unchecked and unaccountable power in Asia and the Pacific. They asked Integra (under the Asia Emerging Opportunities mechanism) to analyze how information disorder may be affirming authoritarianism in Asia and the Pacific.

Integra approached this question through a series of in-depth country case studies identifying supply- and demand-side factors contributing to information disorder at the national and sub-national levels. The case study countries included the Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand. These countries represent regime types ranging from relatively democratic political systems to de facto military dictatorships.

Five regional experts conducted desk-based research, consulting open-source documents (academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles), think tank reports, publicly available government documents, and broadcast, print, and social media publications. In addition, the experts accessed and explored grey literature, unofficial documents, and other materials not readily available—due to their local networks and language skills. Where there was not enough information for a case study; our experts conducted key informant interviews with people identified through their “on the ground” networks.

Integra found that there has been a long history of information manipulation for political ends in Asia and the Pacific for centuries, focused almost exclusively on influencing operations by states in other states.  Integra also found that the most sophisticated disinformation campaigns identify cleavages and rifts unique to a society. They can insert themselves into a political arena and are constructed around local fears and anxieties. In addition, all case studies revealed a need for mitigation strategies tailored to the local contexts to contain and counter-information disorder. This localization may effectively respond to the challenge put forward by the USAID Administrator Samantha Power to find ways to work with small partner organizations in each country. The case studies found that the most effective mitigation strategies should pursue holistic approaches that consider the many interconnected dimensions of information disorder. Mitigation strategies also need to focus on political and economic conditions rather than just the technical aspects of information disorder. These findings will help USAID understand the causes and consequences of information disorder in Asia and the Pacific, identify strategies to effectively address the issues in the region, and adapt and replicate these solutions worldwide.

June 10, 2021. Integra Government Services International, an international development firm based in Washington D.C., announced today that it was named the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Small Business of the Year.  This award acknowledges not only the contributions of Integra but also the many small businesses that supported USAID providing timely and effective humanitarian response amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Making an impact and transforming our opportunities into opportunities for the beneficiaries and stakeholders of the work we do is core to our Mission. For me and our staff, this award is recognition that we are delivering on our Mission,” said Timothy Schur, CEO of Integra, who accepted the award at the USAID Annual Small Business Conference on Thursday.

USAID’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization uses this award as an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the impact of outstanding small businesses’ innovation and support USAID’s small business program. This award recognizes the creative, unique, and extraordinary performance of a small business that has significantly impacted core USAID mission objectives and requirements.

“OSDBU’s Awards Committee reviewed the nominations and selected Integra based on your consistent support of our agency’s Small Business Program and record of performance in support of USAID’s Programs and Missions,” said John Watsons, Office Director (acting), USAID Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.  “Your contributions and support are greatly appreciated by the OSDBU team.”
As a small business, Integra has delivered large-scale impact for 11 years, working across more than 50 different countries, impacting millions of stakeholders, and leveraging over $1.2 billion in public and private investment for development reforms.  The team is proud to “deliver impact from opportunity“ and for being recognized for providing high–quality services that support USAID in their mission to promote a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.

Integra’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr. David Quinn, noted “After more than a decade of partnership with USAID, we are proud that Integra has been selected as small business of the year. Integra has a focused mission to utilize high-quality analytics and private sector engagement to provide large-scale impact for the development community.  We are thrilled to accept this award not only as an acknowledgement of our efforts, but also as recognition of the key role that the small business community plays in supporting USAID. While representing an enormous challenge, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided small businesses the opportunity to quickly pivot and provide creative and innovative solutions to real time development challenges.”

About Integra
Integra is a small-business international development firm dedicated to results-oriented programming that promotes economic growth and improves livelihoods throughout the developing world.  Through rigorous analytical tools and private sector engagement, Integra promotes self-reliance in emerging economies.

USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience.

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