Viet Nam must focus to reach the Millennium Development Goals, says UN

29 Jan 2005

HA NOI -- The United Nations held a forum with leading media officials today to discuss the implications of the recently released Millennium Project report for Viet Nam.

“This new report marks an important step forward in the global effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015,” UN Resident Coordinator, Jordan Ryan told the assembled news editors and dignitaries. “The leading international scholars that have produced this report have provided countries like Viet Nam with a wealth of practical recommendations to accelerate progress towards the MDGs.”

The report, Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals, is the result of the three-year UN Millennium Project led by distinguished development economist, Jeffrey Sachs.

At a workshop with over 40 major media leaders, the UN joined the Party Central Commission for Ideology and Culture (PCCIC), the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the British Department For International Development (DFID) to discuss the MDGs and the role of media, as well as to present the report.

“The release of the Millennium Project’s report comes at an opportune time as Viet Nam works toward the next five-year socio-economic development plan and the Millennium Plus Five Summit,” said Head of DFID Bella Bird. “Now is the right moment to redouble our efforts together to tackle the most pressing development problems in Viet Nam.”

Viet Nam will present details of its national progress toward reaching the MDGs at the Millennium +5 Summit in New York in September of this year. 

Bird noted Viet Nam’s significant progress, but also pointed out the need to intensify the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS, to improve access to health care and education in poor and isolated communities, to protect the environment and ensure equality for women.

“While there have been significant reductions in the number of poor in Viet Nam, the fact remains that 44% of the population is extremely vulnerable to falling below the poverty line, ” she said.

The Millennium Project ‘s report is the most ambitious strategy ever put forward to combat global poverty, hunger and disease. In it, a team of 265 of the world’s leading development experts propose a package of specific, cost-effective measures that together could cut extreme poverty in half and radically improve the lives of at least one billion people in poor developing countries by 2015.

“The report includes ‘quick wins’ that will bring vital gains to millions of people, some of which could be implemented in Viet Nam,” said United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Economist, Jonathan Pincus. “For example, providing free school meals for the poorest children is a simple and inexpensive way to improve nutrition among this vulnerable group of people.” He also mentioned the elimination of user fees for basic health services and national campaigns to reduce violence against women as policies relevant to Viet Nam over the coming five years.

The presentation of the report follows the UNDP’s first “20 Year Review of Doi Moi” workshop, which also reviewed Viet Nam’s progress over recent years and considered implications for the future. Further UN-led research and presentations will be made throughout the year to assist Viet Nam to achieve the MDGs and to formulate practical, effective policies for inclusion in the 2006-2010 socio-economic development plan.

With world leaders gathering at the G8 meeting in July and again at the UN in September to accelerate progress towards the MDGs, 2005 has become the key year for mobilizing international support for the fight against poverty and disease.

“Around the world the UN is supporting national efforts to realize the values and commitments of the Millennium Declaration,” said Ryan. “Here in Viet Nam, the UN and our partners are at work with the government and people to achieve the MDGs and build a prosperous, equitable and just nation.”

Contact Information

Dang Huu Cu, Tel: (84-4) 942-1495 x179 
email: dang.huu.cu@undp.org
or
Michael Coleman, Tel: (84-4) 942-1495 x161
email: michael.coleman@undp.org