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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Bui The Giang Deputy Permanent Representative of Viet Nam on agenda item : Social Development
10-06-2008, 09:47 am

Statement by


H.E. Ambassador Bui The Giang

Deputy Permanent Representative of Viet Nam


at the Third Committee

of the Sixty-Third Session of the General Assembly


on agenda item : Social Development

New York, 6 October 2008


Mr. Chairman,

Since this is the first time I speak at the Third Committee of the 63rd General Assembly, I wish to express my warmest congratulations to you and the Bureau on your elections. I believe that your experienced and wise guidance will bring the work of this Committee to a successful conclusion. You can rest assured of my delegation’s close cooperation and full support in this endeavour.

My delegation thanks the Secretary-General for his reports, and aligns itself with the statement made earlier by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

Mr. Chairman,

We gather today at a time when the global economy is overshadowed by the food crisis, the energy crisis, and most recently the plaguing financial turmoil. As an intertwined issue, social development is fraught with a number of challenges at both national and international levels. Last week, the high-level meeting to review the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals revealed an alarming gap between the realization of many social indicators and their corresponding mid-term commitments. And yet, the gap will be even larger if we fail to pay due and urgent attention to social development needs.

Mr. Chairman,

In Vietnam, the current national socio-economic development strategy was designed by the Vietnamese Government in collaboration with many international partners, among them United Nations agencies, in such a way that ensures that economic growth goes hand in hand with social equity and social progress. Most notably, the 8 Millennium Development Goals were localized into 12 national Vietnamese Development Goals, with a focus on hunger elimination, poverty reduction and solution of social issues. Concrete policies have also been put in place to reserve priority to the youth, the elderly, people with a disability, women, children, and ethnic minorities with a view to ensuring the equal rights for the most vulnerable groups in the society. As a result, we have seen not only a continued high economic growth rate, but also the sharp decrease in poverty rate, maternal and child morbidity and mortality rate, the marked improvement of life expectancy, the enhanced role of women in the local employment market and national leadership status, and the broader participation of ethnic minority groups in all aspects of the social life. Mr. Chairman, behind all these realities, education as a sector and “education for all” as a strategic motto play an extremely important role.

Believing in “education for all” as a critical means to promote an integral dimension of human rights, which is the right to education and access to knowledge of the population, and also a vital means to improve the human capital, which is the decisive factor for long-term economic growth and sustained prosperity, we fully support the United Nations Literacy Decade and its objectives. In concrete terms, we have adopted and implemented our own national strategy on education, focusing on building a learning society, expanding the education coverage, and step by step improving quality and efficiency of the national education system. To this end, a number of measures have been taken, including (1) Reform the education curricula, (2) Develop the teaching staff and reform teaching methodologies, (3) Reform the education administration, (4) Improve the national education system and develop the school/class network, (5) Increase financial resources for education, (6) Involve the broad participation of all social actors in education activities, and (7) Promote international cooperation in education. Particularly, in financial terms, shares for education in the total national budget expenditures have kept an average increase of 21.3 % per annum over the past several years, while the national budget revenues have only grown at 14.8% in the same period. Thanks to this, the pre-school enrolment rate witnessed a 24% rise between 2000 to 2006, whereas the enrolment rates were some 96% for junior secondary school education and 73.6% for high school education, and the adult literacy rate reached 94% in 2007, elevating Vietnam to a relatively higher rank in terms of Human Development Index than of GDP per capita level.

In view of equity as an essential component, our national strategy on education specially targets poor populations in rural and remote areas, ethnic minorities, and people with a disability. Subsequently, 86,000 ethnic minority students are currently enrolled in 280 boarding schools, which are 73% and 33% up from the 1997-98 school year in the number of enrolled students and the number of schools respectively. More than 90% of children with disabilities have access to schooling. In addition, in cooperation with the World Bank and other donors, since 2003, the project “Primary education for disadvantaged children” has been undertaken, targeting most vulnerable groups including street children, children with disabilities, and girls in certain ethnic minority areas, resulting in a significantly recorded increase in schooling completion rate among disadvantaged children.

Mr. Chairman,

In order to stay on track to achieve the goals set for education and sustainable development, particularly at this difficult time, we have to improve the enrolment and literacy rate, further expand the reach of our education system, and ensure better education equity. Moreover, we must upgrade the quality of the whole education system through innovating both learning and teaching methodologies, recruiting a qualified pool of teachers and managers for the education sector, providing it with appropriate technology and equipment as well as sufficient financial resources. For this to be realized, apart from the all-out efforts of the entire nation, we need international solidarity, cooperation and partnership. Over the last decade, we have benefited from close cooperation with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and many other donors in an endeavour for the goal of “education for all”. However, we believe it is now the time to enter into a new stage of cooperation for the goal of “good education for all”, targeting not only education coverage but education quality. In this connection, we count on United Nations agencies, among key partners, since they have been well known for their expertise and capacity in tackling social issues, particularly those directly related to education. At the same time, I wish to reiterate Vietnam’s strong and consistent commitment to contributing to the achievement of all the goals set forth by the Copenhagen and Millennium Summits through inter alia sharing our modest experience with other countries, in response to the call of the Regional Conferences held in Doha, Beijing, Delhi and Azerbaijan in the last two years for the setting up of appropriate networks to enhance regional collabration in this regard.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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