The latest  impact assessment shows that COVID-19 had a disproportionate impact on vulnerable households, especially households of Ethnic Minority people, migrant and informal workers.  As a result, there has been a surge in transient income poverty, especially among Ethnic Minority households.

 The “COVID-19 Socio-economic Impact on Vulnerable Households and Enterprises: a gender sensitive assessment” was jointly conducted by UNDP, UNWomen and the Centre for Analysis and Forecast under the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (CAF, VASS). Its key findings were presented in Ha Noi today at the workshop “COVID-19: Impacts and perspectives on economic recovery in Viet Nam”, alongside with report: “Impacts on key economic indicators, external factors and recovery perspectives” by the National Center for Information and Forecast under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (NCIF, MPI).

The assessment confirmed that COVID-19 substantially reduced revenue for both household businesses and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) forcing most MSMEs to cut back business operations and reduce numbers of workers, due to the serious decrease in their output demand and supply disruptions.

According to NCIF, the COVID-19 pandemic had immediate, strong and negative impact on the global and Viet Nam’s economy, with the worst economic recession in many decades. The economic growth declined faster than that of the 2008-2009 financial crisis period. Economic activities were suddenly disrupted, trade and investment reduced. The world’s financial market is unstable. Many new geographical political economy trends were formed and forecasted to become the essential trends in the coming time, especially the supply chain reestablishing trend. It is difficult to control the epidemic over the world; many countries are facing with the risk of outbreaks due to early reopening of the economy.

President of NCIF Luu Quang Khanh informed that the space for economic growth in the second half of the year would be considerably narrowed. “As COVID-19 has affected many social and economic aspects and groups, ‘expanding the market’, ‘promoting investment’, and ‘stimulating consumption’ are the motivation for growth,” he said. “It is crucial that in the long term, break-through solutions are needed for the new normal of the economy. In the short term, it is important to speed up of the policy implementation in order to stabilize the economy for further development”.

The joint assessment makes recommendations for the Government to refine the response actions to protect livelihoods of vulnerable households, support MSMEs in recovering their operations and ensuring continued employment for workers.

Addressing the workshop, UNDP Resident Representative in Viet Nam Caitlin Wiesen highlighted that The objective of the joint assessment is to inform the Government’s response and recovery to COVID-19. This is the first assessment that brings evidence of COVID-19 impact on vulnerable households and businesses,  simulates the impact on poverty,  and captures  information on early recovery”.

 She stressed  the importance of early, anticipatory, adaptive and agile   actions of the Government combined with  innovation of the people as key to the country’s initial success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic and limiting its negative socio-economic impacts. “I believe that anticipatory governance responses  and innovations will also play a critical  role in helping Vietnamese enterprises and people achieve a bold, sustainable, resilient and gender sensitive recovery,” she said. (read full speech here)

Ms Elisa Fernandez Saenz, UN Women Representative in Viet Nam, said: “The consequences of the health and socio-economic crisis caused by COVID-19, if not addressed adequately, are likely to result in serious setbacks in gender equality and put the gains achieved on women’s empowerment in recent decades at risk. We hope this gender-sensitive assessment of the crisis can effectively contribute to the government’s efforts in developing viable solutions to meet the specific needs of women and girls while safeguarding and leveraging gains made on gender equality and women’s empowerment.”

The assessment, based on the UN’s focus on the most vulnerable and leaving no one behind, complements the NCIF’s efforts on the COVID-19 impact on macro-economic indicators. With a purposive sampling of more than 900 vulnerable households and 900 vulnerable household businesses, MSMEs in 58 out of 63 provinces across Viet Nam, the survey brings to the fore:  (i) evidence of COVID-19 impact on vulnerable households and businesses, (ii) their coping strategies and (iii) provides  voices of those impacted on the Government support policies.

Read the assessment report here.

For further information, please contact:

Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Communication Officer, nguyen.viet.lan@undp.org, phone: 84-914436769

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