Speech at workshop on national MDG report for 2010

Apr 2, 2010

Speaker: Ms. Setsuko Yamazaki, UNDP Country Director
Date:       2 April 2010
Event:     Workshop on national MDG report for 2010

Your Excellency, Vice Minister Cao Viet Sinh;
Distinguished participants from the Government;
Ambassadors and fellow colleagues from the UN and international community;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

Let me start off by thanking the Ministry of Planning & Investment (MPI), for inviting so many national and international development partners to the workshop today. This provides all of us with an important opportunity to comment on the proposed outline and to contribute with our expertise to the development of a high-quality report on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Viet Nam. I am sure I speak for my fellow UN colleagues when I say that we appreciate this open and inclusive process.

The national MDG/VDGs report comes at a critical time. This year it is exactly ten years since Viet Nam, along with other UN member states, signed the Millennium Declaration in 2000. There are now just five years left to achieve the eight goals agreed upon. 

The Viet Nam MDG report will feed into a high-level MDG summit taking place in New York this September. The summit is a major opportunity to generate renewed commitment to reach the MDGs and to discuss what can be done differently in order to speed up progress worldwide to reach the goals. Thirty governments around the world, including Viet Nam, are preparing MDG progress reports. The reports will highlight the advances which have been made, and look at what has worked and why, while also identifying where more needs to be done. The aim is to place country-specific, empirical evidence before the summit, so that there is a strong basis for reaching agreement on the concrete actions needed to speed up MDG progress.

2010 is also an important year for Viet Nam’s socio-economic development planning – with the development of the 2011-2020 SEDS and 2011-2015 SEDP taking place.  I hope that a comprehensive review of MDG progress will help to renew and revitalize efforts to achieve the goals in Viet Nam and contribute to the development of national strategies and plans which promote a model of socio-economic development that is both equitable and sustainable – and one which will help Viet Nam achieve a higher quality of growth.

The intention is that the 2010 MDG report will provide the Government, as well as national and international stakeholders, with information in five key areas. These are: (i) the progress of each of the MDG targets; (ii) inequality in MDG achievements; (iii) bottlenecks that impede progress on MDGs that are off-track; (iv) the impact of the global economic and climate crises; and (v) good practice examples that can accelerate progress.

Let me briefly touch on some of these key areas.

Firstly, Viet Nam’s impressive progress towards achieving the MDGs is well-known and recognised. This includes progress in areas such as extreme poverty, universal primary education and child mortality.

Yet despite this progress there are two MDGs in particular which Viet Nam – at the current rate of progress – is unlikely to achieve by the 2015 deadline. This includes the target of reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS (MDG6) and ensuring environment sustainability (MDG7). In the area of environmental sustainability it is particularly the area of water and sanitation which will require further work and attention.

This brings me to my second point – inequality in MDG achievements. While it is important to achieve the MDGs in aggregate we also need to make sure that the goals are achieved in every province and in every commune in the country. And for each goal we need to make sure that issues of quality and equity are being addressed at a sub-national level.

For instance, although Viet Nam has already halved extreme poverty the challenge now is to consolidate these gains and make them permanent. There is a need to ensure that people who have come out of poverty in recent years do not fall back into it.  We also need to focus on improving living conditions in those areas where poverty has become a chronic problem, that is in ethnic minority communities and in remote mountainous regions. And we need to work harder to ensure that poverty in all its forms – whether it is deprivations in health, education, shelter or sanitation – is recognized and addressed.

Another example relates to equal access to quality public services. While we know that access has increased to, for instance, health and education, we also know that there are far too many men, women and children who still do not have full and equal access. Whether it is those living in poverty and relative isolation in the most remote parts of the country, or those living in Viet Nam’s cities as unregistered and ‘hidden’ migrants, there is a need to ensure access to basic social services for all Vietnamese people, and to quality services. This is what it means to achieve the MDGs with equity.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier the national MDG report will analyze the obstacles that may hinder progress towards the MDGs/VDGs, including the global financial and economic crisis and the effects of climate change.  External factors such as international integration and WTO accession helped Viet Nam advance its development in the past, but the recent external shocks can derail its MDG progress.

In conclusion, we very much welcome today’s consultation on this first outline of the MDG Report which enables development partners to contribute to the report and enhance its quality so that it will meet international standards.  I would like to emphasize that it is extremely important to record up-to- date and accurate data. The UN family in Viet Nam is ready to provide support to MPI in developing the report – contributing with the best of our research, insight and expertise. We will also continue our support to the Government in its work to ensure that all eight MDGs are achieved in each and every province and commune in Viet Nam.
Let me once again thank MPI for this opportunity for open consultations on the draft outline of the MDG Report. I look forward to active and constructive discussions today.

Thank you.