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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Second Ministerial Conference of the NAM on the Advancement of Women toward the Achievement of MDGs
01-23-2009, 07:46 pm

Statement by

H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

at the Second  Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement on the Advancement of Women toward the Achievement of Millennium Development Goals

January 23rd, 2009

Madam President,


Distinguished Delegates,

           On behalf of the Delegation of Viet Nam, I wish to extend to you, Madam President, our most heart-felt congratulations on your election to the highest post of this Second Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement on the Advancement of Women toward the Achievement of Millennium Development Goals.  I wish to convey to the Government and people of Guatemala our most sincere thanks for hosting and creating every favourable condition for the Conference. I also wish to express our high appreciation of the leadership role of Cuba as Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement in coordinating the preparation for the Conference. I thank the Delegation of Malaysia, as host and Chair of the First Ministerial Conference, for its very important statement.

H.E. Ambassador Le Luong Minh Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Madam President,


           The Putrajaya Declaration and Program of  Action while acknowledging the progress made in addressing issues of concern with regard to women does remind our member countries  of the gaps, challenges and obstacles which remain in our efforts to empower women and in achieving gender equality. At half-way in  implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), while  in every aspect, positive results have been recorded in many NAM member countries, the  MDGs have been implemented unevenly and  even in countries with encouraging results, not all of the 8 MDGs have met half-way commitments. Hunger, continued impoverishment, the spread of  HIV/AIDS, violence and prejudices against women, the lack of awareness of even many state organs and  social organizations of the need to promote gender equality continue to exist in many of our societies together with  the increasing gap between the developed and developing worlds, wars of aggression, the worsening political and security situation in many regions, the continued violations of human rights and humanitarian laws in situations of conflict resulting in the loss of lives of many  women and girls among innocent civilians. All these demand that our Movement further enhances our efforts to ensure that we are able to achieve the MDGs by the year 2015. The draft Guatemala Declaration and Programme of Action is a very comprehensive document reflecting the will and the determination of our Movement to act, to cooperate and to advance together in pursuing our  common noble goal of protecting and promoting the interests of the better half of our populations. To effectively implement this Programme of Action, apart from the efforts of each of our member countries, the cooperation and mutual support and assistance among NAM member countries, especially through development projects and training programs benefiting women, is essential.   Exchanges of experience between Government institutions and women organizations of NAM member countries and the establishment of  a NAM network on the advancement of women deserve our further attention. While striving to promote South-South cooperation, we need to strengthen the voice of NAM at the United Nations and other international organizations by better coordinating our positions and initiatives in the spirit of solidarity. Viet Nam looks forward to doing its part in these endeavours.

Madam President,

         Promoting the advancement of women and gender equality has always been a fundamental policy of the Vietnamese Government which considers it as an important tool to ensure justice and sustainable development. The first Constitution of Viet Nam adopted back in 1946 provides for equality between men and women in every political, economic, social and family-related sphere of activity. On the basis of the Constitution, political, civil, economic and social rights of citizens, men and women alike, have been codified in the country’s legal system. Besides the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Viet Nam has ratified the two ILO conventions on equal pay and on non-discrimination. In implementation of the National Strategy for the Advancement of Vietnamese Women, special policies have been designed to strengthen gender equality such as the policies on retirement age, on social benefits and security for women and on the proportion of women in leadership mechanisms. Since Putrajaya, the Vietnamese Government has taken further steps in this direction. The Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and the Law on Gender Equality were enacted in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Gender equality was incorporated in the national plan for economic and social development for the period 2006-2010. A plan of action for the advancement of Vietnamese women for the period 2006-2010 was formulated. The Union of Women of Viet Nam  has announced six separate major programmes of action aimed at renewing the Union’s activities in order to protect better the interests of women in line with the overall objective of the Union, that  of achieving gender equality, development and peace. The transfer in 2008 of the function of managing the work relating to gender equality issues to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs with permanent staff and with a woman Minister, the steps to strengthen the National Committee for the Advancement of Vietnamese Women and the formation of the Group of Women Deputies in the National Assembly were aimed at ensuring efficiency of women-related work nation-wide.

 As a result of those specific measures, specific results have been achieved. Women account for 25.76% of the membership of the incumbent National Assembly. A third woman was elected Vice-President of the country and as has always been over the past decades, the new Government consists of women ministers. Significant progress has been made in ensuring equal access to education for women, at both national and local levels. By 2007, the maternal mortality rate was reduced to 80 per 100,000 enhancing our confidence in bringing this figure further down to 70 by 2010, as defined by the Millennium Development Goals.  Women in the total labour force currently account for 53.98% in the trade and service sector, 36.60% in the industrial sector, and 49.95% in agriculture, forestry and aquaculture. About one million women hold managerial positions of 28.61% of all Vietnamese companies and businesses, some of them are CEOs of leading corporations.

Madam President,

Having achieved those important but only initial results, we do realize that much remains to be desired. As a developing country, we are facing many of the problems facing NAM countries. We look forward to enhancing our coordination and cooperation in the common interest of our Movement.

I thank you for your attention!

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