Speech at the national workshop on post-2015 consultations in Viet Nam

20 Mar 2013

Speaker: United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Pratibha Mehta
Date:       Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Event:      National workshop on post-2015 consultations in Viet Nam
Venue:     Melia Hotel, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet St, Ha Noi

Your Excellency;
Senior Government officials; 
Ambassadors and development partners;
Representatives from mass organizations, NGOs, research organizations and the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

I am very pleased to welcome you all to this important workshop. Let me begin by thanking the Government of Viet Nam for co-chairing this workshop with the UN, and for their strong support throughout the consultation process. This is testament to government commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and to sustainable development today and beyond 2015.

It is a pleasure to see such a diverse audience here today. I would like to especially welcome those of you who have contributed in the consultations held over the last few months. In the past three months, listening to so many people from different backgrounds on their priorities has been an exciting journey for all of us involved in the consultation process. Today we will share what people have to say, as well as hear how to continue discussions on the future that people want and Viet Nam’s development priorities.

As you know, the MDGs were adopted by the UN member states in 2000 with a commitment to achieve the goals by 2015. The world has seen unprecedented changes since then. Poverty is down from 43% to 22%; school enrolment has increased on an average of 89% and girls are almost as likely to be enrolled in schools as boys; a significantly less number of children are dying of diseases; 40 countries are experiencing fast human development, including Viet Nam, and by 2013, nearly 80% of the world’s middle class will be residing in the South, accounting for 70% of the planet’s consumption. 

However, at the same time, worldwide inequalities have increased; gender based violence has become almost an epidemic, women are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, war, malaria and car accidents combined; nearly 200 million people are out of a job; nearly 600 million young people are not in school, or training, not employed and not looking for work, risking not only permanent exclusion from the labour market but also social exclusion; and natural disasters of huge proportions have destroyed lives and livelihoods of millions around the world.

Against this backdrop and with just about 1,000 days to go before the deadline to achieve the MDGs expires in 2015, the UN Secretary-General has launched inclusive and open national consultations; thematic consultations and public outreach on what should replace the MDGs. People are being directly consulted, including in Viet Nam, dialogues are taking place among experts, policy makers and high level leaders on issues ranging from governance, health, equality, demographics and environment. 

In addition, last week the UN Secretary-General launched an innovative on-line global survey known as My World, providing citizens around the world an opportunity to tell world leaders what they think should be included in the next global development framework. Later this morning, you will have the opportunity to add your voice to the My World survey with the help of the laptops at the end of the hall.

Given its impressive MDG achievements, Viet Nam was identified by the UN Development Group as one of the countries for national consultations to listen to what people have to say. In Viet Nam, the UN Country Team, with agreement of the Government, decided to focus on eight groups who are either lagging behind or have little opportunity to be consulted. The eight groups were ethnic minorities, the urban poor, rural poor, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, young people, older persons and the private sector. Efforts were made to ensure that both women and men, and girls and boys, were heard in each group. You will have an opportunity later this morning to hear directly from these eight groups.

Taking this opportunity I would like to highlight that the post-2015 consultation process also exemplifies the UN in Viet Nam ‘delivering as one’ for an effective and efficient outcome.  All UN agencies contributed as per their unique skills, expertise and mandate and partnering with respective line ministries and counterparts made it possible to reach out for in-depth consultations with 1,300 people in 31 separate occasions across more than 11 provinces in a matter of just three months.

While each stakeholder group spoke of their particular challenges and aspirations, we also heard several common themes expressed, including the need for participation; a more equal society; quality employment and stable jobs; universal access to affordable health care; and quality education and vocational training.

This rich information directly coming from people will be useful not only for the global process on post-2015, but also to support other development and planning processes in Viet Nam.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Since 2000, the MDGs have helped galvanize development efforts.  The clear, concise, measurable and time bound eight goals brought diverse actors together around a common cause. Much has happened since 189 countries got together to sign the Millennium Declaration. In Viet Nam for instance, we have seen how climate change and the global economic crisis have had a direct impact on people’s life and livelihoods.

It is vital that the post-2015 development framework reflects the world in which we live today and takes into account issues that were not addressed in the MDGs adopted in 2000. The new development agenda has to address social, environmental and economic objectives in an integrated manner.

At the same time, we must not forget the unfinished MDG agenda. While Viet Nam has indeed made impressive national progress on the MDGs, efforts are still needed to see that they are achieved in very village, city and province.

With just 1,000 days left before the MDGs expire, now is the time for Viet Nam to accelerate progress on those MDGs that have not been achieved, while using its experiences to actively contribute to the global discussion on the post-2015 agenda.

The next three years offer an unique opportunity to discuss how we can best work together to ensure that all people everywhere can enjoy a life of prosperity, equity and dignity – today and beyond 2015.

This morning we will listen to the representatives from the eight groups as well as consolidated findings from the eight consultations. To remain true to what people said, we have avoided interpreting their opinions and the consolidated report mainly highlights commonalities and uniqueness. The consolidated report will be input from the UN in Viet Nam to a global UN report with ideas for a post-2015 framework. 

We have a busy morning ahead of us, so let me close by thanking you for your interest and attendance. I would like to encourage all of you to take the opportunity to voice your opinion in the My World survey using one of the laptops placed at the end of this room.

I look forward to our deliberations and wish you all good health, happiness and prosperity.