Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh called for more efforts to promote sustainable poverty reduction during an online conference held last week to assess the preliminary results three years into implementation of Government Decree 30A to reduce poverty in the country's 62 poorest districts.

According to Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, the percentage of poor households in these 62 districts is expected to fall to 55 percent by the end of 2011. The average income per year increased from 2.5 million VND (120 USD) per year in 2006 to 6 million VND (285 USD) in 2010.

These results reflected the significant investment from the Government, the National Assembly and provincial and local authorities at all levels, said officials at the conference.

More than 8,500 billion VND (404 million USD) were allocated from the national budget for the programme between 2008-11. The Prime Minister had also instructed the implementation of many programmes, ODA-funded projects and use of Government bonds to reduce poverty in these districts, totalling about 22,000 billion VND (1.04 billion USD).

For the 2011-15 period, officials said the programme would aim at reducing the percentage of poor households to under 35 percent according to the new poverty level.

In Vietnam , poor households in rural areas are considered those with an average monthly income below 400,000 VND (18 USD). Near-poor households in rural areas earn an average income of 401,000-520,000 VND (20-26 USD) per month.

Other tasks include improving the capacity of local residents and communities to promote the efficiency of important infrastructure projects, better exploiting natural resources, assisting residents in finding output markets for their products and increasing the percentage of trained rural workers. The efforts to promote sustainable poverty reduction during the next period would be tied with efforts to promote new rural areas, according to officials.

Speaking at the conference, Ninh stressed that Decree 30A showed that the Government and Party considered the promotion of sustainable poverty reduction as among their top priorities.

He instructed ministries and Government agencies at all levels to further assess the implementation of Decree 30a, especially in supporting production in these districts. These districts tended to be located in isolated locations, therefore poverty reduction efforts must be carried out comprehensively and permanently for the long term, he said.

Ninh asked all localities to finish their zoning plans, which are important for poverty reduction programmes. So far, zoning plans have only been approved for 34 districts. All localities needed to find better production models, increase capacity to support local industries and maximise the use of available funds, he said./.