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UNDP calls for stronger social assistance

Update: September, 12/2014 - 08:59
In Viet Nam, the annual growth rate in the Human Development Index has slowed from 1.7 per cent in the years before 2000 to 0.96 per cent in recent years.— Photo baodautu

HA NOI (VNS) — A recent United Nations report ranked Viet Nam 121st out of 187 countries and territories in terms of human development, putting the country in the medium category.

In Viet Nam, the annual growth rate in the Human Development Index has slowed from 1.7 per cent in the years before 2000 to 0.96 per cent in recent years.

Presented yesterday by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS), the global report called for universal provision of basic social services and stronger policies for social protection, noting that the priority now for middle-income countries was tackling vulnerability.

Speaking at the report launch, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Pratibha Mehta highlighted the importance of tackling vulnerability for Viet Nam, considering its globally integrated economy and exposure to climate change.

"For Viet Nam, the vulnerability of the many to shocks should now rank alongside poverty reduction as a primary policy challenge," Mehta said.

She called on Viet Nam to invest in human capital development and institutional reform, reform the labour market, enhance disaster preparedness and implement a comprehensive social assistance programme to provide a mimimum living standard for all.

Nguyen Xuan Thang, chairman of VASS, said institutional and policy reforms were particularly critical for Viet Nam as it targeted sustainable growth.

In related news, the Government and the World Bank will also issue a Viet Nam 2030 report in 2015, a guideline for boosting rapid sustainable development.

The first meeting on drafting the report took place on Tuesday. It was co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and WB Vice President Axel van Trotsenburg.

According to the bank, Viet Nam recorded an average annual growth of 5.7 per cent in the past two decades, the second highest figure in the world.

However, to keep up with other economies, such as South Korea or Taiwan, Viet Nam would have to maintain an average annual growth rate of 9 per cent for the next 20 years, the bank said.

The bank also warned that if economic growth stagnated at 5-6 per cent, Viet Nam could get stuck in the middle-income trap, a situation where a country attains a certain income due to given advantages - and gets stuck at that level.

Countries in the middle-income trap have lost their competitive edge in the exportation of manufactured goods because their wages are on a rising trend.

The bank said the challenge was to improve economic competitiveness and ensure rapid and sustainable growth, allowing citizens to enjoy the benefits of growth.

The report will review Viet Nam's development during 30 years of reform and present the opportunities and challenges of the future, sketching out development scenarios.

An interactive website will also be established for members of the public and academics to provide input and feedback. — VNS

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