Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged northwestern provinces to accelerate sustainable poverty reduction and regional connectivity, as this remote, mountainous region recorded many positive achievements in all aspects in the first half of this year.

The Deputy PM pointed out orientations for development when he chaired a conference of the Steering Committee for the Northwestern region, which was attended by senior officials from relevant central agencies and 14 regional provinces.

The conference, held in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang on July 11, aimed to review progress in the first six months and discuss measures to fulfil this year’s development targets.

Addressing the event, Deputy PM Phuc said in the first half of 2013, northwestern localities strived to bring into play their advantages, improved infrastructure and facilitated investment.

These localities, however, also need to improve education and training, and healthcare, prioritise key projects, raise the quality of human resources and preserve cultural identities of ethnic minorities, he noted.

He stressed the necessity to build a strong political system at grassroots levels, fight against the sabotage plots of hostile forces and prevent factors that may cause instability in the localities.

During the reviewed period, northwestern provinces saw 8.8 percent growth in their gross domestic product, and budget revenues rose 14.3 percent from a year earlier.

They have ensured security and national sovereignty and improved leadership and management quality of local authorities.

However, participants also highlighted difficulties that people face in resettlement areas, the failings and ineffectual leadership of some authorities.-VNA