Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga - Vietnam's Permanent Representative to the UN (Photo: VNA)

New York (VNA) – The implementation of UN programmes and action plans on sustainable development poses opportunities and challenges for Vietnam, said Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

Landmarks in the UN’s history were set in 2015 with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Paris Agreement on climate change.

At a recent press conference, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that in 2016, the international community must shoulder more responsibility so decisions on sustainable development can be realised.

He stressed that if an action campaign for global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was launched in 2015, each country must work to carry out those goals in 2016.

Speaking to Vietnam News Agency correspondents, Ambassador Nga said the execution of the UN programme and action plans was a big opportunity. The visions and targets completely suit Vietnam’s development goals, which include building a country with rich people and a strong, democratic, civilised nation.

Party and State policies have included these objectives, especially rapid and sustainable economic growth, and social issues from health care, education and environment to gender equality and care for less privileged groups, she added.

By pursuing a foreign policy of multilateralisation and diversification of external relations, and proactive international integration, Vietnam has established close connections and gained experience in development cooperation with various partners – particularly UN organisations.

Nga noted that the UN’s newly adopted programmes also bring good opportunities because they give special attention to developing countries and those heavily impacted by climate change like Vietnam.

The diplomat said the SDGs are ambitious. They must be implemented in just 15 years, while Vietnam faces a number of difficulties in human and material resources, and institutions and policies to help realise the goals.

She also noted the new approach of the UN programmes, such as the multidimensional poverty definition for the SDGs.

Vietnam is considered an example of a country that has significantly reduced poverty. It cut the poverty rate from over 50 percent in the 1990s to 5 percent at present. However, it must address multidimensional poverty to realise the SDGs, which means raising not just incomes but also access to medical and educational services, housing and information.

Meanwhile, the attraction of foreign development assistance is increasingly difficult, as Vietnam has become a middle-income country and must contribute more to efforts to solve global problems.

Nga stressed that the country needs to rethink its mindset and methodology for dealing with development issues, include the SDGs in Vietnam’s action programmes. It must take action immediately in order to realise those goals.-VNA