Vietnam cannot fulfill the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in ethnic minority communities unless joint efforts are undertaken by all relevant authorities, Vice Minister and Deputy Head of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs Son Phuoc Hoan said on October 8.

Speaking at a workshop in Hanoi aiming to outline a draft action plan to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs in ethnic minority communities, Hoan explained that despite the overall remarkable progress made towards the MDGs, there was a significant disparity in results between the predominant Kinh ethnicity and minority ethnicities, as well as between rural areas highly populated by ethnic minorities and urban areas.

The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, Pratibha Mehta, said the action plan would act as a tool to set specific targets, identify challenges, rank priority measures and organise financial resources in order to achieve the goals effectively.

The plan would also help Vietnam ensure that resources for national programmes and strategies aimed at ethnic minority groups were used efficiently, she added.

At the workshop, participants provided feedback on the action plan, and proposed measures to address problems and accelerate the implementation of the MDGs.

They suggested restructuring poverty reduction policies, investing more in education in ethnic minority communities with a focus on teaching the Vietnamese language, and enhancing vocational training for young members of ethnic minority groups.

They also stressed the need to integrate gender equality into socio-economic development programmes, increase access to reproductive health services for ethnic women, and boost afforestation and environmental protection efforts in the regions populated predominantly by ethnic minorities.-VNA