UNDP to Help Viet Nam Better Capture Progress on Living Standards

31 Dec 2002

Ha Noi  - The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the General Statistical Office (GSO) signed today a $ 900,000 project to support the Government in developing and implementing a household survey strategy for better monitoring of poverty trends as well as of overall socio-economic development results.

This 3 year project, which aims at improving the national capacity to generate, analyse and disseminate socio-economic data and analysis, will also help monitor development policies and programmes in Viet Nam including specifically the progress made by the Government in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Viet Namÿs national development targets.

"Viet Namÿs poverty reduction strategies must be grounded in consistent and verifiable data" said Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative. She noted: "Over the past decade, UNDP has helped strengthen national capacities to provide socio-economic social statistics and conduct household surveys and we see clear improvements in the data collected. However, there is further scope for improvement and consolidation of surveys within an overall system to help reduce duplication and improve the overall quality of data collected, its analysis and its dissemination".

Important commitments to the achievement of international development goals have also been made by the Government, but mechanisms for monitoring both their reach abd their effectiveness remain incomplete. Therefore, more accurate, comparable, dis-aggregated statistical indicators achieved under this project will be important to assess such progress, evaluate equity and efficiency issues under the various programs and improve or develop new programs. The project will also generate information for applied research to raise overall awareness of exisiting poverty characteristics and equity gaps in order to better address them.

SIDA joins UNDP in supporting this new project with a cost-sharing budget of approximately $400,000. One important activity under this new initiative will be assisting the GSO in designing a National Social-Economic Survey program in line with the new Statistical Law, including the household living standards survey to be implemented every two year.

Two Viet Nam living standards survey (VLSS) were implemented in 1992-93 and 1997-98 with funding from UNDP and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and with technical assistance from the World Bank. They provided a valuable tool for informing governmentsÿ as well as donorsÿ decisions for prioritising interventions and targeting investments to specially deprived areas.

Other areas for assistance include developing and refining a survey data dissemination policy. The GSO has already committed its own funds and mobilized funds to the amount of approximately 4 to 5 billion VND for preparation, implementation, analysis and dissemination of the 2002 Vietnam Household Living Standard Surveys and expects to mobilize similar or growing amounts for future rounds.

Ms. Wignaraja said: "UNDP is delighted to contribute towards a sustainable research infrastructure in Viet Nam to carry out further the statistical and analytical work related to poverty reduction. Strengthening national capacity for the collection, processing and interpretation of development statistics is an important first step for adequate policy analysis and monitoring to occur".

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