A job interview of a Republic of Korean company (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – An inclusive growth path – rapid, sustainable growth that leaves no one behind – is key to achieving overall progress in human development, according to the Vietnam Human Development Report 2015 released on February 5.

The report finds that at the national level, Vietnam’s performance in terms of human development has been impressive over the last 35 years but progress varied between periods and has slowed down in recent years.

In the late 1980s, poor performance on the human development index – which measures aggregate achievement in terms of income, education and health – caused a gap open up between Vietnam and countries with similar development levels.

The index rapidly increased later and Vietnam was a star performer in the 1990-2000 period, but the gap was never closed. Moreover, in the years since the financial crisis in 2008, Vietnam’s performance levelled off.

The 2015 report finds that all provinces made positive progress but this was not even, with some performing much better than others. Those that did best experienced balanced development – economic development went hand in hand with improved social outcomes.

Southern Ho Chi Minh City and central Da Nang city recorded high levels of human development comparable to Poland or Croatia. Meanwhile, poor provinces like Ha Giang and Lai Chau were estimated as having human development levels similar to Guatemala and Ghana.

The report also identifies “rising stars” such as Hau Giang, Tien Giang, Binh Phuoc, Thai Nguyen and Phu Yen provinces where development was exceptional, and “static stones” such as Ha Nam, Nghe An, Phu Tho and Ha Tinh provinces, where progress was slower.

According to the authors, to expand productive employment, Vietnam needs to maintain macroeconomic stability, increase economic efficiency, and enhance connectivity and technological readiness as well as nurturing innovation.

To improve the education and health care systems, the country needs to improve the quality and access to pre-primary, higher education and vocational training, and undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the socialisation reforms prior to any further expansion.

To renovate the social protection system, the report suggests Vietnam secure a floor level of cover – via universal health insurance; a self-financed social insurance system; and expanded social assistance based on Life Cycle entitlements.

“Vietnam’s renewed development success rests on it building an inclusive and equitable economy – and that the route to this lies in full employment based on decent jobs, and opportunity and security for all,” UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Pratibha Mehta highlighted the key finding of the report.

She noted the need to focus both on the poor and the vulnerable lower middle income group - whose incomes are not substantially above the poverty line, who typically work in informal jobs, are urban migrants or small scale farmers.

“Their opportunities for advancement and protections are limited. They are also underutilised, their inclusion and productivity is vital to Vietnam’s development success,” she said.

During the launch, UNDP also presented key findings of the global Human Development Report 2015. Alongside reporting on international human development performance, the global report examines the world for work and its specific contribution to human development.

It provides many complementary messages with regard to productive employment, but it also defines work broadly to include both paid and unpaid activities. It finds that unpaid domestic work, largely delivered by women in caring for their families, can be as vital as paid jobs for human development.-VNA