Campbell was speaking this morning at the closing ceremony of the Government-UN Joint Programme on Gender Equality held by the UN and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in Hanoi.
In addition to impressive achievements in social and economic development, Vietnam has also made great advances in tackling gender issues, Campbell said.
Gender gaps in primary, secondary and tertiary education have been reversed or even closed. In 2009, the rate of female participation in the labour force was high at 72.3% of the total working age female population. Maternal, infant and child mortality have also been reduced significantly.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hoa said Vietnam has issued many important policies and implemented a number of international legal mechanisms to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
However, institutional capacity for data collection, gender analysis, enforcement, monitoring and reporting on the Law on Gender Equality and the Law on Preventing and Controlling Domestic Violence remains weak and the Joint Programme on Gender Equality will continue to help tackle these problems.
The US$4.68 million programme was mainly funded by the Spanish government through the Millennium Development Goal Achievement Fund. It was officially launched in April 2009 and will wrap up by March 30, 2012. Its goal is to improve the capacity of national and provincial authorities and other stakeholders to effectively implement, monitor and evaluate the two gender-related laws.
After three years of implementation, the programme has raised awareness among Government officials about gender equality and domestic violence; increased their knowledge of implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting for these laws; and improved their capacity to mainstream gender issues in the policies and programmes of various sectors.
These positive achievements need to be sustained and applied further to create equal opportunities for women and girls to enjoy life under the same conditions as men and boys, with equality and no discrimination, emphasised Campbell.
The UN will invest around US$40 million in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Vietnam for the next five years, double the amount of funding for 2006-2011, he added.
The organisation will focus on combating gender-based violence and addressing the sex-ratio at birth imbalance, as well as empowering Vietnamese women leaders and creating decent, secure employment opportunities for both women and men.
In the coming years, the UN has also committed to work closely with the Government to support the effective implementation of the National Strategy for Gender Equality for the 2011-2020 period and the National Programme on Gender Equality during the 2011-2015 period.