Vietnam’s achievements and challenges in fulfilling the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were presented to the Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSCO), which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on July 1-2.

Following is the full text of a speech delivered by Nguyen The Phuong, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, at the event, where Vietnam was selected as one of the three countries to voluntarily share their experience and progress in national development:

“ Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to this important meeting to present the national voluntary report of Vietnam on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals of Vietnam under the topics “science, technology and innovation with cultural potentials in the promotion of sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals”.

As you already know, just more than 1 year, the United Nation will summarize 15 years implementing the Millennium Declaration and evaluate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Vietnam, along with more than 180 countries around the world that committed to implementing the Millennium Development Goals has yielded encouraging achievements, but also faces with many difficulties and challenges.

Over the past 10 years, Vietnam reached a rather high economic growth rate although affected by the global economic downturn. Growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita annually in the period 2000-2012 was 6.3 percent, which helped put Vietnam out of the group of poor countries with low income. Vietnam was also aware of the importance of science and technology, of which application has contributed to significantly improve national economy’s productivity and competitiveness. Economic development has a positive impact to reduce poverty and to successfully implement the Millennium Development Goals.

As of 2012, Vietnam has completed most of Millennium Development Goals that were committed before. On national level, many targets set for 2015 were achieved or over achieved in 2008. However, it is necessary to have more efforts to ensure the achievement of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and of ensuring environmental sustainability.

Vietnam has achieved the goal of halving poverty rate (MDG 1) in 2002 and continues reducing poverty. The poverty rate in 2010 was only 10.7 percent. Vietnam has completed primary education universal (MDG 2) in 2000 based on Vietnam standard. To date, the net enrollment rate of primary education at the right age was 97.7 percent. Rapid progress has been noted in promoting gender equality and empowering women (MDG 3). Vietnam basically eliminated gender disparity in primary education and secondary education in the period 2006-2010. The net enrollment rate in primary education in 2010 was 92.3 percent for boys and 91.5 percent for girls. Child health care and strengthening maternal health (MDG 4 and MDG 5) also recorded significant achievements. The mortality rate of under-5 children and maternal mortality per 100,000 live births tend to decrease and these two goals are positively to be achieved by 2015. Vietnam has made great steps in establishing global partnership for development (MDG 8) that helps to raise foreign direct investment, official development assistance and to take advantages of trade liberalization in promoting economic growth and poverty reduction.

Vietnam has put malaria under control and essentially restrained HIV growth rate (MDG 6). The HIV prevalence is under control at 0.3 percent/year. However, HIV/AIDS evolution is still very complex with high-risk and widening scope, especially among groups of men having sex with men and drug users. Vietnam has actively implemented the Agenda 21 to ensure environmental sustainability (MDG 7) and has achieved important results but also encountered many difficulties, especially in the context of increasing climate change.

Achieving these results is due to strong commitment and determination of Vietnam to implement the Development Goals Millennium. Besides, the development and application of science and technology advances also significantly contributed to the development of production sector, poverty reduction, health care, education and training, environmental protection...

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Science, technology and innovation are particularly focused in Vietnam. The Law of Science and Technology was passed by the National Assembly of Vietnam in 2000 and came into force on 1 st January 2001. Besides, the Technology Transfer Law and Intellectual Property Law and other related laws are available. These laws have created a legal framework to promote the development of science, technology and innovation.

In 2012, the Prime Minister has approved the Strategy of science and technology development in the period of 2011-2020 with the goal for 2020 is a number of areas shall reach the international and ASEAN advanced level, contributing significantly to economic growth and restructuring of the economy; the value of high-tech products is about 45 percent of GDP.

In the national ten-year socio-economic development strategy 2011-2020, Vietnam focus on science and technology, and consider this field a top national priority and am important driving force of development. Many policies and programs related to the development of science and technology has been established. Every year, the government spends about 1 percent of the state budget expenditure for the development of science and technology.

Vietnam has made significant achievements in science and technology since the implementation of Doi Moi (Renovation) policy. In the process of international economic integration, Vietnam has been transferred many scientific achievements, advanced technology as well as benefit from developed countries. Applied science and technology has helped Vietnam from a food importing country to become the leading exporter of agricultural products such as rice, seafood, coffee, pepper, cashew and many other important items. Agriculture is an important sector to raise people's income and to reduce poverty. In addition, the application of science and technology in health care, education, the environment also directly affects the achievement of MDGs in these fields.

However, Vietnam is still lagging behind other countries in the region and in the world. The development of science and technology has not met the requirements of economic growth. The rate of investment per capita in Science and Technology and the ratio of researchers per capita in Vietnam are relatively low. Vietnam is still lack of highly qualified young engineers and researchers - who are capable of doing all the research projects on a large scale.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Vietnam is determined to implement the commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals despite facing many challenges. It is particularly that climate change tends to become clearer and to have more severe impacts on economic activities and people's lives. As one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, there are reasons to worry that climate change will increase the vulnerability of Vietnam's population, and is an important cause to poverty.

Vietnam would like and is willing to share experiences in implementing the Millennium Development Goals with the international community through South-South cooperation model. We also would like to have further cooperation and support from international community to improve the quality of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals century and to walk abreast towards 2015.

With consciousness of not stopping by 2015, Vietnam is actively coordinating with the United Nations in preparing a development agenda after 2015. UN selected a number of countries, including Viet Nam to conduct national consultations, to find out the challenges and aspirations of different population groups. The national consultation Report in Vietnam has been completed and is considered an important contribution to the UN decision process for Post 2015 Development agenda.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are some of the basic report content on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals of Vietnam under the theme of science, technology, innovation and cultural potentials of the promotion of sustainable development and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. I sincerely thank you and wish you good health and a successful Review"-VNA