by H.E. Mr. BUI THE GIANG,
Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative
At the U.N. General Assembly Thematic Debate
on Millennium Development Goals
New York, 3 April 2008
At the outset, I would like to join previous speakers in thanking you for convening this important debate on the theme: “Recognizing the achievements, addressing the challenges, getting back on track to achieve the MDGs by 2015”. My Delegation associates itself with the statement made earlier by the representative of Antigua and Barbuda, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Reviewing the past half-way towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we sincerely recognize the positive results recorded in many aspects of life throughout the world which have brought about improved livelihoods to millions of people, as reported in related discussion materials of this Conference. However, a closer look and more careful analysis of the challenges ahead of us, particularly those contained in background papers on Poverty and Hunger, Health and Education, reminds us all that much more remains to be done and greater effort is to be made if our promise to accomplish the 8 MDGs by 2015 is to be kept. The same line of thought applies to the case of Vietnam.
Following the 2000 Millennium Declaration, with a high sense of responsibility, Vietnam localized the 8 MDGs into 12 Vietnam Development Goals to 2010, focusing on poverty elimination and social issues. And all-out efforts of the whole nation have been paid. The poverty rate was reduced sharply from 58.1% in 1993 to 24.1% in 2004 and 14.7% in 2007, allowing the country to attain MDG-1 far ahead of schedule. Regarding education, with currently over 99% of 6-year old children going to primary schools, we are well-grounded to believe that Vietnam will achieve MDG-2 during 2010-2015. As regards gender equality and improved status for women, noticeable is the significantly narrowed gender gap at all levels of education where female students have now accounted for at least 46.8% of enrollment, the enhanced role of women in the employment market, and the increased female membership in all fields of operation. Vietnam remains the leader in Asia in terms of female parliamentarian membership. It is therefore likely that Vietnam will fundamentally fulfill MDG-3 before 2015. In the field of health, as of 2007, Vietnam succeeded in reducing the rates of maternal mortality to 80/100,000, of child mortality among the under-5s to 27.5/1,000 and the under-1s to 16/1,000. By cutting down 4.5 times of malaria morbidity and 9 times of malaria mortality during 1995 - 2004, Vietnam can now claim to have relatively effectively controlled this disease. With this in mind, we have reasons to be optimistic of achieving most of requirements set for MDGs 4, 5 and 6. However, the present rapid spread and complicated development of HIV/AIDS which has resulted in increasing numbers of HIV/AIDS carriers, and - more seriously - the continued trend of HIV/AIDS complication have combined drive us to the risk of failing in MDG-6.
We are heartened to report to you that Vietnam has also scored positive gains in our effort to ensure environmental sustainability, through inter alia increasing forest land coverage by 0.6% annually, now accounting for 39% of the national land area; striving for 11.6% of natural land area to be conserved by 2010; doubling the rate of access to clean water supply by rural population; and raising the rate of urban waste collection to around 71%. In relation to the establishment of global partnership for development, following the foreign policy of openness and proactive international integration, we have done our best to reach out to the world; improve our policy and legal systems; further attract and better use external resources; closely cooperate with foreign partners in designing and realizing strategies on employment for young people, providing low-cost essential medicines for the population; and intensify cooperation with the private sector to make full use of new technologies, particularly ICT. All this testifies to the consistency in our foreign policy and practice of Vietnam being a friend and reliable partner of all countries in the international community, actively participating in the international and regional cooperation.
On the way to 2015, bearing in mind the MDGs and their challenges as well as the need to have economic growth and social equity going hand in hand, the Vietnamese Government will continue with its pro-poor policy and strive for a more organic linkage between the poverty reduction strategy and the socio-political development strategy, hence a more secured life for the people. To this end, Vietnam counts on greater cooperation and support from the international community so that by 2015 we can join other U.N. members in celebrating the accomplishment of the 8 MDGs. We support the Joint Declaration dated 31 June 2007 of the U.N. Secretary-General and British Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Gordon Brown calling for accelerated implementation of the MDGs. We also hope that developed countries will fully implement their commitment to facilitating trade, allocating 0.7% of GNP to official development assistance, reducing and writing off debts for developing countries, and transferring technology to the latter. In this connection, we strongly support the U.N. work in building a roadmap, followed by substantive steps, toward the International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Doha at the end of this year. Vietnam stays ready to contribute constructively to this process.
I thank you, Mr. President.