Mekong Delta Region Debates New Poverty Reduction Programme
Ha Noi - The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is consulting with officials and representatives from the poorest areas in the Mekong delta region on the design of the new National Targeted Programme for Poverty Reduction for the 2006-2010 period. The consultation, opened in An Giang province on 17 March 2005, is the third one in a series of consultations on the draft document of the Programme.Two similar consultations were organised in Dak Lak province and Ha Noi with local officials and people from the Central Highlands and the North provinces, respectively. Another consultation meeting will be held in Yen Bai in mid April to gather opinions from Northern mountain provinces. The consultation series aims to seek opinions from officials and people in different regions of Viet Nam on how the new programme would be designed and implemented so that it could best meet the needs of local poor people. This is also a good opportunity to provide additional guiding information for provinces to start preparing their respective poverty reduction plans for the 2006-2010 period.
UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Mr Subinay Nandy welcomed this initiative of MOLISA. “Local opinions, especially those from the poorest areas, are essential for the new Programme to be relevant, practical and feasible,” he said.
Viet Nam, in the last fifteen years, has been very successful in poverty reduction. According to a report of the United Nations in Viet Nam – “Closing the Millennium Gaps”, poverty rates in Viet Nam have been reduced to some 29% in 2002, down from well over 60% in 1990. The National Target Programme for Hunger Eradication and Poverty Reduction (known as HEPR) and the Programme for Socio-Economic Development of poorest communes (known as 135 Programme) have made considerable contributions to the success, a UN Development Programme-supported independent evaluation of the two programmes noted.
The evaluation report also highlighted the needs for the two programmes to improve in increasing people participation, developing a participatory monitoring and evaluation system, better targeting mechanisms and strengthening local capacity to ensure the effective implementation. Such improvements would be key to ensure that the new programmes would be able to help reducing the persistent poverty prevalence in the mountainous and ethnic minority areas as well as reverting the trends of increasing disparity in poverty across the country.
“The evaluation’s findings and opinions of the local officials and people provide rich information on areas for improvement in the new Poverty Reduction programme in 2006-2010, ” said Madam Nguyen Thi Hang, MOLISA Minister. “The programme should focus on improving existing targeting mechanisms. In other words, the new programme will have to be designed and implemented in such ways that all of the targeted poor, and especially the poorest women and men, girls and boys, ethnic minority people can access and benefit directly from programme interventions”. Madam Hang noted the need for more simple, participatory, flexible and equitable ways of allocating programme resources and implementing the programme to allow local people to effectively utilize these resources to meet their needs and priorities.
Both MOLISA and UNDP are satisfied with the trustful and close cooperation between the Government of Viet Nam and UNDP on the National Target Programme for Hunger Eradication and Poverty Reduction and the Programme for Socio-Economic Development of poorest communes. The UNDP technical assistance aims to support the Government of Viet Nam in designing and effectively implementing the new poverty reduction programmes, including this consultation series. The Government of Viet Nam and UNDP share the common objective of sustainable poverty reduction of the national programmes. By the completion in 2010, the two programmes are expected to contribute substantivelly to realizing the strong commitment of the Government of Viet Nam in reducing the proportion of poor households from 26% in 2005 (according to new poverty threshold to be applied this year) to about 15% by 2010, or each year, more than 300,000 households will be lifted out from poverty.
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