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Ethnic minority goals lack funding: workshop

Update: October, 09/2014 - 08:55
Mothers and children receive medical assistance in Dien Bien Province. Funding shortages mean ethnic minority communities do not receive due assistance. –– VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc

HA NOI (VNS) — The millennium development goals for improving the living conditions of ethnic minority communities lack sufficient funding, workshop participants were told yesterday in Ha Noi.

The Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs and the United Nations in Viet Nam co-organised the event aiming to outline an action plan to accelerate the millenium development goals' achievement via discussion of participants.

The goals were supposed to be completed by 2015, but several challenges have led to less than positive results, national consultant Pham Thai Hung told the gathering.

Hung said that overlaps in policies and a lack of funding had slowed progress on eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.

Ethnic groups account for 14.6 per cent of the country's population, and half of the minority groups have significantly lower incomes than the majority Kinh (Vietnamese) group, Hung said.

The second development goal, to achieve universal primary education, also faced difficulties, including a lack of funding for infrastructure and adequate teachers.

Literacy and primary school enrollments remained lower than those of the Kinh group, Hung said.

Information on ethnic people was lacking for another development goal, promoting gender equality and empowering women.

The fourth, fifth and sixth goals, reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, also faced challenges.

Hung said that although malnutrition and child mortality had declined, a gap between Kinh children and ethnic minority children persisted.

Poverty and a lack of knowledge about nutrition had also contributed to malnutrition, Hung said. Also, ethnic minority areas had less access to child care.

"It is imperative to issue an action plan to accelerate the achievement of the development goals," said Trinh Cong Khanh, director of the Ethnic Minority Policy Department under the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs.

Khanh suggested Viet Nam use the millenium development goal acceleration framework approved by the United Nations Development Group.

The framework would identify problems in implementing the development goals, and help solve them. More than 50 countries have used the framework so far, Khanh said. — VNS

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