Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnamese Government has prioritised resources for realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the last 15 years and made strides in boosting socio-economic development, especially in ethnic minority communities.

To promote minorities’ living standards, the Vietnamese Party and State have issued synchronous guidelines and policies, including the Government’s Programme 135 - which has been carried out since 1998.

This programme aims to promote socio-economic development in particularly disadvantaged ethnic minority and mountainous areas. It is one of the most important ethnic minority policies in the country.

At a recent forum on the MDGs implementation in ethnic minority communities between 2016 and 2020, the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs reported that Programme 135 was implemented in 2,331 communes and 3,059 hamlets, of 415 districts in 52 provinces, from 2011 to 2015. It received over 1 trillion VND (44.6 million USD) in non-refundable aid from Ireland and the European Union.

During the period, the target localities built over 22,000 infrastructural projects, mostly roads, irrigation works and schools, and provided local residents with seedlings, livestock, agricultural equipment and animal vaccinations.

The programme carried out 195 agricultural development projects, and 970 training courses on agriculture and forestry management. It also transferred farming techniques to more than 458,000 people.

The Government committee said Programme 135 directly enhanced socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas – the core region of poverty in Vietnam – in MDGs-related aspects.

The poverty rate in particularly disadvantaged communes and hamlets was cut down by 3.5 percent annually. The centres of all the communes are now accessible by cars while 97.5 percent of the target areas have gained access to electricity.

Speaking at the forum, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta congratulated the country on fundamental advances that it attained during a very short period of time to achieve most of the MDGs. That illustrates Vietnam’s enormous progress during the Doi Moi (Reform) period.

The committee, which is tasked with helping the Prime Minister monitor and guide the MDGs implementation in ethnic minority areas, said it has oriented Programme 135 towards better fulfilling these goals.

In September 2015, the Prime Minister issued a decision approving some MDGs implementation targets, which are associated with the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals for ethnic minority regions.

Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Ethnic Council Nguyen Danh Ut expressed his belief that with efforts by the Government committee, ministries, sectors and localities as well as people and foreign sponsors’ support, Programme 135 will reach its targets by 2020 and contribute to the realisation of the Millenium Development Goals in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in Vietnam.-VNA