The 2014 Human Development Report was launched in Vietnam on September 11 by the UN Development Programme in collaboration with the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS).

Entitled Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, the Report provides a fresh perspective on vulnerability and proposes ways to strengthen resilience. It calls for universal provision of basic social services, stronger policies for social protection and full employment to advance and secure development progress.

According to the global Report, levels in human development continue to rise – yet the pace has slowed in recent years. In Vietnam, the average annual growth rate in Human Development Index has also slowed down - from 1.7 percent in the years before 2000, to just 0.96 percent in recent years. In 2013 Vietnam ranked 121 out of 187 countries and territories – which is in the ‘medium’ category of human development.

Speaking at the report launch, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Pratibha Mehta highlighted the importance of vulnerability for Vietnam - as a newly emergent middle-income country with a globally integrated economy; exposed to climatic change; and located in a politically charged region.

“For Vietnam, the vulnerability of the many to shocks should now rank alongside poverty reduction as a primary policy challenge,” said Mehta.

The 2014 Human Development Report comes at a critical time, as attention turns to the creation of a new development agenda following the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

In Vietnam, this global Human Development Report provides a basis for discussing a national approach to managing and reducing human vulnerability. It offers timely policy inputs and analysis as Vietnam undertakes the 30-years of Doi Moi review and formulates the new Social Economic Development Plan for 2017 to 2021.

Mehta suggested four policy areas on the management and reduction of human vulnerability in Vietnam to ensure continued progress in human development, including human capital development and the need for labour market reforms; the need for comprehensive Social Assistance to provide a minimum living standard, which secures livelihoods and basic capabilities; investment in institutional reform and making key institutions resilient; and the importance of disaster preparedness, risk reduction and early recovery.

“Building a wide-coverage, Life Cycle-based system of social protection is a vital policy tool in combating vulnerabilities,” Mehta noted.

VASS President Nguyen Xuan Thang said the report is useful for Vietnam at the present, putting forth a new approach on human development with the focus on vulnerability. Recommendations will help the VASS fulfil its Vietnam human development report 2014, he added.-VNA