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Empowering Viet Nam’s women and rural poor

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sericultureLike many Vietnamese farmers, Lang Thi Kieu, a widow who lives with her two sons and daughter-in-law, struggles to make ends meet. Farming doesn’t produce enough to support her family, so she supplements her income with weaving - but the silk she needs to make her crafts is expensive.

Now Mrs. Kieu is raising her own silkworms as part of the UN Joint Programme “Green production and trade to increase income and employment opportunities for the rural poor”. This UN Joint Programme targets about 4,800 farming and craft-producing households in four northern provinces of Viet Nam, including 1,400 beneficiaries from disadvantaged ethnic minority groups.

Boosting silk production

Mrs. Kieu can raise these silkworms with help from this MDG-F-funded programme to boost rural incomes. The initiative is providing some 200 households with a new high-yielding variety of mulberry - which silkworms eat - that produces trees and leaves two to three times larger than traditional varieties. The new mulberry trees can be harvested six months after planting, feed six to eight cycles of silkworms a year, generating the equivalent of three to four months’ average income for Mrs. Kieu’s family.

Improving value chains

The programme's approach is to develop better integrated, pro-poor, and environmentally sustainable “green” value chains in the production of bamboo/rattan, sericulture (raising of silkworms) and weaving, sea grass, lacquerware, and handmade paper. The goal is to enable poor growers, collectors and producers to improve their products and link these to more profitable markets.

In the sericulture initiative, demonstration sites were prepared in the villages concerned to show best practices in the cultivation of mulberry trees and to encourage local people to grow mulberry. The programme provided silkworm eggs as well as technical guidance on the use of fertilizer while minimizing the use of environmentally-damaging pesticides.

Similarly, practical Farmer Fields Schools have been organized for farmers, and public-private partnerships have emerged that provide further support to growers. The programme has also provided technical training to some 150 farming households and local staff on the sustainable exploitation of wildly growing Lung bamboo, which is being depleted due to over-harvesting.

Mr. Hoang Binh Thuy, chairman of his commune’s agricultural services cooperative, says that he and his fellow-farmers are very grateful for the mulberry seedlings and training on mulberry plantation that they have received from the joint programme.

Empowering Viet Nam’s women and rural poor

The joint programme “Green production and trade to increase income and employment opportunities for the rural poor”, a collaboration between the Vietnamese government and the ITC, UNCTAD, FAO, UNIDO and ILO, disproportionally benefits women, as they are traditionally more engaged with craft production. As such, the programme contributes directly to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and hunger and increasing gender equality and environmental sustainability.

More information

There is a Joint UN study available that values women's economic empowerment and silk production boost: “Taking a Value Chain Approach towards Local Economic Development and Women’s Economic Empowerment”. This study focuses on the sericulture value chain in Quy Chau district of Nghe An province in Viet Nam.




1 December 2017

Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

This World AIDS Day, we are highlighting the importance of the right to health and the challenges that people living with and affected by HIV face in fulfilling that right.


Community spaces design contest for an exciting hanoi

Ha Noi, October 17/10/2017 - Aiming at improving the living environment and bringing culture and art to the community towards a better urban future, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) successfully developed the project “Promote participatory, community-based and youth-led approach in safe, greening public spaces in Hoan Kiem district toward a pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable urban development” (hereinafter called Public Spaces project) under the Block by Block program with Mojang, the makers of the videogame Minecraft.


Deadline for round 1: From 17/10/2017 to 04/11/2017 Extended to 9 November 2017


Harsh punishment for child offenders doesn’t prevent further criminality

The age at which a child, can be held criminally liable is a controversial issue around the world. Within Viet Nam, this issue is currently being grappled with in the Penal Code amendments. Some argue that a "get tough on crime" approach is necessary to punish children to prevent further criminality.

However, international research shows that because of their developmental stages, labelling and treating children as criminals at an early age can have serious negative impacts on their development and successful rehabilitation.


New Year Greetings from the United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


On the occasion of New Year 2017, on behalf of the United Nations family in Viet Nam I wish to reiterate our appreciation and express our warmest wishes to our partners and friends throughout the country. We wish our partners and their families in Viet Nam peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in the coming year.

As we enter the second year of the Sustainable Development Goals era, we look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the sake of Viet Nam’s future development; one which is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, with no one left behind.

Youssouf Abdel-Jelil
United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December


Thirty-five years since the emergence of AIDS, the international community can look back with some pride.  But we must also look ahead with resolve and commitment to reach our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

There has been real progress in tackling the disease. More people than ever are on treatment.  Since 2010, the number of children infected through mother to child transmission has dropped by half. Fewer people die of AIDS related causes each year.  And people living with HIV are living longer lives.

The number of people with access to life-saving medicines has doubled over the past five years, now topping 18 million. With the right investments, the world can get on the fast-track to achieve our target of 30 million people on treatment by 2030.  Access to HIV medicines to prevent mother to child transmission is now available to more than 75 per cent of those in need.