The United Nations in Vietnam has initiated a series of consultations with Vietnamese people that will run until early 2013 to discuss the 2015 development framework, once the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire.

The UN is consulting with representatives from eight target groups to seek their views on the world they want. The eight groups include ethnic minorities, the urban and rural poor, people with disabilities, people living with HIV, young people, the elderly and the private sector.

“As a country that has done extremely well with the MDGs, listening to people from Vietnam is critical. The national consultations are an excellent way to identify how we can best address the new development challenges we are facing, and how to build a world beyond 2015 where all people can enjoy a life of prosperity, equity, freedom and dignity,” said Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam.

She added that Vietnam 's consultation report will be discussed at a national workshop before it is shared with the UN Secretary General’s advisory panel in March. The panel is expected to submit its findings to the UN Secretary General in the first half of 2013. The findings will be presented to UN member countries at its General Assembly session in September.

Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh stressed that Vietnam commits to the MDGs and has developed policies and mobilised resources for social and human development, especially to reduce poverty and the development gap.

Vietnam has already completed most of the MDGs, including halving the poverty rate, promoting gender equality, and achieving universalisation of primary education. The country is also likely to reach the goal of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

Although Vietnam has graduated from a poor developing country to a middle-income country, challenges remain. It will continue to focus on the remaining challenges to achieve all the MDGs, Vinh added.-VNA