Viet Nam and the MDGs
Viet Nam has made very impressive progress towards achieving the MDGs and has been successful in meeting some of them – such as MDG 1 on eradication of extreme hunger and poverty – way ahead of the 2015 deadline. Viet Nam is on track to meet several other goals. At the same time, if Viet Nam is to achieve all the MDGs with equity, it is important that progress is sustained, that rising disparities are better targeted, that risks are anticipated and that remaining gaps are addressed.
MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Of all the MDGs, Viet Nam has made the most impressive progress on MDG 1 on poverty reduction. From a poverty rate of 58.1 percent in 1993, Viet Nam successfully reduced poverty to an estimated rate of 14.5 percent1 in 2008 – a reduction of 75 percent. The food poverty rate reduced by more than two-thirds, from 24.9 percent in 1993 to 6.9 percent in 2008. Poverty has been alleviated among all demographic groups, in urban and rural areas, and across geographical regions. Progress in reducing malnutrition has also been significant, falling from 41 percent to 11.7 percent in 2011.
MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Viet Nam has made significant progress in achieving universal primary education. In 2009, the net enrolment rate in primary school was 95.5 percent, the primary school completion rate was 88.2 percent and the literacy rate of people aged 15-24 years was 97.1 percent. The difference between boys and girls in primary school net enrolment rates was as little as one percent.
MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Viet Nam has made strong progress on its gender equality targets. It has been very successful in increasing girls’ participation in education at primary and secondary levels. The primary net enrolment rate is now 91.5 percent for girls and 92.3 percent for boys, the lower secondary net enrolment rate 82.6 percent for girls and 80.1 percent for boys, and the upper secondary net enrolment rate 63.1 percent for girls and 53.7 percent for boys. The labour force participation rate is 73 percent for women, compared to 82 percent for men. Women’s representation in the National Assembly is currently 24.4 percent.
MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Viet Nam has already achieved the targets for both under-five mortality and infant mortality, with both these rates being halved between 1990 and 2006. The infant mortality rate was reduced from 44.4 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 14 in 2011 (MICS 2011). The under-five mortality rate has also been reduced considerably, from 58 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 16 in 2011 (MICS 2011). The ratio of children under five who are underweight fell from 25.2 percent in 2005 to 18.9 percent in 2009.
MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health
Maternal mortality has declined considerably over the last two decades, from 233 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 69 per 100,000 live births in 2009, with approximately two-thirds of this decrease related to safer pregnancy. Good progress has also been made in expanding access to quality reproductive health, including maternal and neonatal health; family planning; increased use of modern contraception; and establishment of stronger programmes, policies and laws for reproductive health and rights, as well as measures to provide quality services to the poor and other vulnerable groups.
MDG 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Viet Nam has made significant improvements in the legal and policy framework related to HIV in 2012. A new national HIV strategy that is aligned with global targets by 2015 has been approved. The first National Targeted Programme on HIV/AIDS has been endorsed for 2012-2015. The HIV prevalence is estimated at 16.7 percent among men who have sex with men in 2009, at 13.4 percent among men who inject drugs and three percent among female sex workers in 2011. The total number of individuals on anti-retroviral treatment (ART) at the end of 2011 has increased by 1.5 times that in December 2009, with ART coverage standing at 53 percent in adults and 83 percent in children. However, despite this impressive progress Viet Nam is still likely to miss the MDG target of reversing the epidemic.
Impressive progress on prevention and control of malaria shows that Viet Nam has already achieved the MDG target on malaria control. Viet Nam is also acknowledged to have done a good job in controlling other epidemics such as SARS, H5N1 and H1N1.
MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Viet Nam has been making commendable progress on environmental sustainability but is unlikely to achieve MDG 7 by 2015. Climate change is widening the gaps in reaching key targets of the goal.
Achievements made so far include the inclusion of sustainable development principles into the socio-economic development strategy (2011-2020) and socio-economic development plans (2006-2010 and 2011-2015). Forest coverage has increased from 28.8 percent in 1990 to 39.5 percent of total land in 2010. More than 96 percent of all households have access to modern energy and are connected to the electricity grid.
Although Viet Nam’s green-house gas emissions are low, accounting for only 0.3 percent of the global emissions in 20041, CO2 emissions per capita increased four times in the period 1990-20082. Energy use (kilogram oil equivalent) per $1,000 GDP (PPP) was reduced from 407 in 1990 to 267 in 2008.
Meanwhile, 92 percent of households had access to safe drinking water in 2011, up from 78.7 percent in 2000. Rural households with access to safe water rose from 73.5 to 89.4 percent over the last decade. In 2011, 78 percent of all households and 71.4 percent of rural households had access to sanitary latrines, up from 44.1 percent and 32.5 percent in 2000 respectively3. The proportion of the population living in temporary housing fell from 15.9 percent in 1999 to 7.8 percent in 2009.
MDG 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Poverty reduction and sustainable development are clearly linked to trade, debt relief and aid, better enabled by developing global partnerships. Viet Nam has made major strides in developing global partnerships for development since 2000, including assession to the World Trade Organization, expanded cooperation with ASEAN, a term as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (2008-2009), and involvement in a number of new free trade agreements. Ensuring social equity and sustainability of the country's development process will require continued and expanded partnerships in all areas in the coming years.