Remarks at the launch of the global Human Development Report 2010

09 Nov 2010

Speaker: United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam, Mr. John Hendra
Date:       Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Event:      Launch of the global Human Development Report 2010

Let me start by welcoming all of you to the launch of this year’s global Human Development Report. I am very pleased to see so many of you here and trust we will have a lively Q&A session on the issues covered in the report and how they relate to Viet Nam.

We have with us today a panel of UN colleagues who will be able to provide different perspectives on the topics raised in the report. Let me briefly introduce them: Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Deputy Country Director, Alex Warren-Rodriguez, economic policy advisor at UNDP, Geeta Narayan, Chief of the social policy and planning section at Unicef, and Ingrid Fitzgerald, UN gender advisor.

I will shortly ask Christophe and Alex to present the main findings in the report. After that, there will be an opportunity for you to ask questions to the panel. But first let me share some brief introductory remarks to set the key issues raised in this report in the context of Viet Nam.  

The first Human Development Report, published in 1990 by UNDP, opened with a simple premise: “People are the real wealth of a nation”. Ground-breaking at the time, this concept of people-centered human development has since significantly influenced policymakers, academics, development practitioners and the media. We now take for granted the idea that the development progress of any country cannot be measured simply by the level of national income. Access to health and education are also important measures of whether people are able to live long, healthy and creative lives.

The 2010 Human Development Report tracks human development over the past forty years and focuses on three central themes: empowerment, equity and sustainability. These are themes which are also highly relevant for Viet Nam.

The remarkable economic growth in Viet Nam over the past twenty years, and the success in already achieving many of the Millennium Development Goals, has rightly been widely acknowledged – most recently at the global MDG Summit. Yet, with Viet Nam now a middle income country, it is increasingly important to also focus on the quality of growth, rather than just GDP growth.

From a human development perspective, this for instance means making sure that growth translates into better quality education and healthcare for all Vietnamese. And focusing on the quality of growth also means addressing existing social inequalities and disparities, as well as ensuring that future growth is sustainable and is not at the expense of the next generations of Vietnamese.

I am very pleased to see that the draft national development strategies are focusing on these exact issues. Both the draft SEDP and SEDS emphasize social, human and sustainable development for all Vietnamese citizens. This reaffirms the relevance of the human development approach – both for national governments and development partners. 

The UN will continue to assist Viet Nam to respond to these development challenges. Through the One Plan for 2012-2016 the UN will focus its support on helping Viet Nam ensure inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth; provide universal social protection and access to quality social services; and ensure good governance and an active and effective voice for all groups in society.

We will also continue to support efforts to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals in every province and in every commune in the country, so that all Vietnamese men, women and children can reap the benefits of development and economic growth. 

Let me end here. I hope the report will spark further discussion among the media, policy makers and development partners in Viet Nam and will help inform your work. I will now hand over to Christophe, who will take you through the main messages and findings in the report.

Thank you.