Vietnam has made impressive growth in the past. However, there are still quite a lot of challenges. In your point of view, what are the most difficult issues Vietnam is facing?
I am extremely impressed with the progress Vietnam has made in overcoming poverty, in improving several social indicators on health, education development and gender equality in the past 15 and 20 years. It is remarkable.
I am very encouraged to see that Vietnam has a huge opportunity to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015, with an exception of a few targets on HIV aid, water sanitation, etc.
However, there are still some challenges as we heard in the Consultative Group meeting (CG) which was held in the first week of December. The country is facing some macro-economic instabilities, high inflation rate, and high commodity price although the pace of growth has been very fast over the past few years. The question is how to make sure that the social development, social benefit and social protection are compromised.
Moreover, there are some challenges in regard to the quality of growth. You know, the quality of growth is where much attention is required so that the growth benefits all population in the remote areas, in the mountains and should reach out to the youth.
In a short span of time, Vietnam has made a transition to the middle income country. Yet, the challenge is to avoid the middle income trap. That would require investment in education, in human resources to continue the upward trend of progress.
Besides, climate change is a big challenge to Vietnam as well because of its geographical location. It is an extreme challenge to balance environment protection, and mitigate the impact of climate change.
I think the new national socio-economic development strategy of Vietnam addresses many of the challenges, many of the priorities. Importantly, it has been approved so this is the positive indication.
The United Nation is also finalizing its new one UN plan which is in line with Vietnam’s socio-economic development strategy so that the UN system can provide its support in meeting the priorities of the strategy. I am pleased that the progress in finalization is good and I hope that in the beginning of next year, we will maybe able to launch the new one UN plan for 2012 to 2016. Can you clarify the new one UN plan for 2012-2016?
We have been very much engaged with the National Assembly and we are all looking to other support to legislation reform, focusing primarily on policy dialogues, not so much on project implementation as before.
The new one UN plan from 2012 to 2016 is far more focused than the previous one. It focuses on the three main issues, which I hope will address the challenges and support the implementation of Vietnam’s development strategy.
The first focused area is inclusive growth and climate change in order to help improving the quality of life that anybody can benefit from the growth. Second is the quality of basic services in order to help improve the human resources, education, and quality of health. Third is governance and participation. Good governance is fundamental for good development.
We will work closely with our development partners to provide harmonized assistance to Vietnam. As you mentioned earlier, the UN will support Vietnam in policy reform instead of project implementation. Does it mean that the UN will have fewer projects in Vietnam in the coming time?
Yes, the UN will support more on policy support and less on individual small-scale projects because the UN system has too many projects in too many places, which is not all very efficient. We would be looking at more programmed practical approach which would be much broader in scope and more efficient in terms of implementation.
As you know, we cannot have projects in every single commune but if you have the policy, a national policy, then you can reach every single commune to the national machinery. SGT