Poverty Reduction in Viet Nam
Connecting economic development and poverty
Viet Nam has succeeded in reducing poverty rates from over 60 per cent in 1990, to 18.1 per cent in 2004, largely due to its rapid annual economic growth, averaging 8- 9 per cent annually. Maintaining the current pace of economic growth is crucial, but it is not enough. Growth must come with equity and must include all regions and groups in the country. The majority of the poor in Viet Nam are isolated -- geographically, ethnically, linguistically, socially and economically. Experience in other countries shows that the real benefits of growth touch these disadvantaged groups little, if at all.
The country’s first National Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report, launched in September 2005 and distributed at the 2005 World Summit, showed that social disparities and inequality among regions, genders and ethnic groups are on the rise. While urban areas have benefited most from reform policies and the expanding economy, poverty is persistent in many parts of rural Viet Nam and is extremely high among ethnic minority groups, -- 69.3 percent in 2002 according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
In the next decade, Viet Nam’s efforts to integrate into the global economy will present new opportunities for growth, but also new challenges for poverty reduction. Therefore, equitable growth, pro-poor policies and efforts to achieve the MDGs, remain at the core of UNDP’s advocacy and programming in Viet Nam — and an overarching goal in UNDP-Vietnamese cooperation. And as Viet Nam's economy grows the creation of social safety nets that protect the most vulnerable from falling back into poverty because of old age, ill health, disability or the costs of raising children will be essential.
For almost a decade UNDP has been assisting the Government of Viet Nam in leveling the economic playing field through regulatory reforms to develop businesses that create domestic employment and unleash the capacity of local entrepreneurs.
As Vietnam integrates more fully into regional and global economies, UNDP will continue to promote improvement of the regulatory and legal frameworks for private sector development that promotes investment, trade and employment, especially at local levels. This requires improved understanding of the challenges and different policy options available to respond to the socio-economic impacts of globalization and integration, and more equitable distribution of the benefits to all Vietnamese people.
Partners in poverty reduction
Emphasizing participation, decentralization and local capacity building, UNDP has been helping the Government of Viet Nam with its poverty and hunger reduction strategies and programmes since 1993.
UNDP continues this tradition or partnership working with GSO to improve its ability to collect and analyze poverty data; it is providing technical support to the Government on its national programmes to improve the lives of people living in ethnic and mountainous regions of Viet Nam.
Assisting in the production of National Human Development Reports and MDG Reports stimulates debate and helps Viet Nam to better monitor progress and to clearly identify the issues and have them reflected in their national socio-economic development strategies.
UNDP brings together and shares lessons learned from all its policy and programmes on issues such as gender, poverty targeting, decentralization and local governance, infrastructure and credit for the poor.