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Speech on the Launching Ceremony of the National MDGs Report

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Speaker: Mr. Christophe Bahuet, UNDP Deputy Country Director, on behalf of the UN in Viet Nam

2 June 2009

Launching Ceremony of the National MDGs Report

I would like to thank MPI for the opportunity to hear and discuss the key findings of the MDG Report. Clearly the UN attaches high importance to the MDGs, but also to the monitoring and reporting of them by member states.

The UN highly appreciates the fact that Viet Nam maintains its commitment to monitoring and reporting on the MDGs and VDGs.

I want to underscore a key feature of the report, which is that this is a government report with full ownership by the MPI. It offers the Government’s perspective. It also includes Viet Nam position on MDG global issues and the Millennium Declaration. It is also worth mentioning that through this document, Viet Nam reiterates its commitment to the 2000 Millennium Declaration.

In this context of full government ownership, the UN has played the role of partners and has:
  • Provided examples and analysis from MDG reports from other countries;
  • Sent comments on drafts; and
  • Worked on data, identified early on as a key issue.

I would also like to underscore the significant efforts that the Government put into collecting and analyzing data for evidence-based reporting, especially at the disaggregated level. This is an improvement from earlier reports in methodology and validation and was done with the active involvement of other Ministries, State agencies & the GSO.

The dissemination of the report will offer an opportunity for participatory discussions with state agencies, civil society and media.

With respect to the content, the report clearly shows progress made in Viet Nam towards the MDGs. We should never loose track of where Viet Nam was in the 1990s. While poverty reduction is often rightly quoted as impressive, another striking example is the maternal mortality rate – from 203/100,000 in 1990 to 75/100,000 in 2007. The report also demonstrates Viet Nam commitment and efforts to move towards meeting the MDGs.

But the report also documents that the country is lagging behind in several MDGs, with respect to ethnic minority and some geographic areas.

At the time when much discussion is taking place around accession to middle-income country status, the findings remind us that there are development issues to be faced in Viet Nam and that there is a development agenda to be worked on. It also makes it clear that economic growth in itself will not be enough to address some challenges. Report findings therefore need to inform policies, in particular the Social Economic Development Strategy, Social Economic Development Plans, and other national programmes.

I would also like to point out that the drafting team made specific efforts to include considerations linked to the current economic and financial crisis. The UN has real concern that both the global crisis and climate change may not only slow down but actually reverse progress towards the MDGs and Human Development globally and possibly in Viet Nam. It is therefore necessary to continue to closely monitor the impact of the crisis and climate change on human development.

I would like to use today’s event as an opportunity to reaffirm the double commitment of the UN in Viet Nam. One is to work with the government, the people of Viet Nam and other interested partners so that the MDGs are met at both national and local levels. The second commitment is to work with the Government and all stakeholders on the monitoring of MDG progress and the use of the findings for planning and policy making. As the former UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan said: “Our work won’t be finished until MDGs are achieved in every village and commune in Viet Nam.”