Le Thi Hien (right) from Tan Tho Commune, Thanh Hoa Province, is a beneficiary of the Government's poverty reduction programmes. She's now the owner of a brick kiln business that employs 12 people. —VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI — Viet Nam has achieved or exceeded most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) ahead of the 2015 deadline, says a Government report published yesterday for the MDG Summit in New York next week.
The Planning and Investment Ministry report shows that Viet Nam has been successful in poverty reduction; improving universal primary education; creating gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health and controlling malaria and other epidemics.
Britain's Overseas Development Institute has endorsed the ministry's findings with a report saying Viet Nam and Ghana were the two countries that had done the most to reduce poverty and improve living standards.
The Planning and Investment Ministry report reveals that Viet Nam has halved the number of people living on less than one dollar a day in 2002.
And the country's poverty rate has fallen from 58 per cent in 1993 to 14.5 per cent in 2008.
"Viet Nam has moved from being one of the poorest countries to becoming a lower-middle income nation," said Deputy Planning and Investment Minister Cao Viet Sinh.
"The Government has given poverty reduction special attention."
The ministry's report shows major challenge is to ensure the MDGs are achieved in both the urban and rural Viet Nam, among different geographical regions and among all citizens, particularly the minorities.
The volatility of the global economy also poses a major challenge in ensuring the sustainability of the poverty reduction, it says.
As one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and with the majority of the country's poor depending on nature and the exploitation of natural resource to live, Viet Nam faced grave challenges in preventing its people from falling back into poverty, said the deputy minister.
"Viet Nam has made very impressive progress towards achieving the MDGs," United Nations Resident Co-ordinator John Hendra told Viet Nam News.
The country was a ‘world leader' in poverty reduction, he said.
The co-ordinator said poverty reduction had largely benefited all the population - urban and rural in all regions.
He compared the MDGs with the "rights that are outlined in Viet Nam's Constitution that say all the people have the right to an abundant, free and happy life," and agreed that Viet Nam was on track to attain most of them on schedule.
The country's long-standing commitment to human and social development and policies designed to help the poor were the most important lessons to be learned from Viet Nam, he said.
But the country was not currently on schedule to meet MDG targets for HIV/AIDS.
"Current prevalence rates are 0.44 among adults aged 15-49 and are predicted to rise to 0.47 by 2012," he warned.
"An estimated 254,000 people are living with HIV in 2010 and this is likely to increase to 280,000 by 2012."
The MDGs were part of the Millennium Declaration signed by 189 heads of State at the UN Summit in 2000. — VNS