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UNICEF Deputy Executive Director applauds Viet Nam’s efforts for children

© UNICEF Viet Nam \ Truong Viet Hung

Hanoi, 27 March 2007 -- UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Mr. Kul Gautam congratulated Viet Nam for its achievements in improving the lives of children at the National Mid-term Review of the ‘A World Fit For Children’, taking place in Hanoi. The report from Viet Nam will feed into the UN Secretary General’s report on progress made on the agreed principles during the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in 2002. Five years later the world is taking stock of the achievements made and the remaining challenges to ensure a better childhood for all children in the world.

Viet Nam has achieved impressive results for children during the past two decades. Infant and child mortality rates have reduced significantly. The country has maintained high child immunization coverage. Polio was eradicated in 2000 and maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2005. The country is working hard to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets of reducing child under-nutrition and increasing access to improved water sources and sanitation facilitates. Around 96 per cent of eligible children are now enrolled in primary school. Lower secondary education is on its way to being universalized.

“We applaud the Government of Viet Nam’s commitment to achieving progress for all its citizens,” said Mr. Gautam at the opening ceremony of the National Mid-term Review organized by the Viet Nam’s Committee for Population, Family and Children (VCPFC). “I would urge Viet Nam and its development partners to go even further, and adopt some time-bound goals to accelerate progress in disparity reduction, especially as it concerns children.”

Adopted in 2002, the “World Fit for Children” declaration has been “nationalized” under the “Communes and wards Fit for Children” initiative in Viet Nam. This is aiming to be implemented in all provinces and cities throughout the country, imposing 28 specific criteria and four fundamental standards, namely: a social environment fit for children; a family environment which ensures children’s full development; ensuring all children can enjoy basic rights; and caring for and protecting children in special circumstances.

“The country will attach great importance to reducing the poverty, narrowing the socio-economic development gap among localities, giving better conditions for all vulnerable groups to integrate in the community,” said Mme Le Thi Thu, Minister, Chairperson of Viet Nam Committee for Population, Family and Children at the press conference jointly organized today by UNICEF and VCPFC. “Building communes fit for children means providing best environment to fully meet children’s needs and basic rights, prevention of child abuse, building a safe and healthy environment for children.”

Mr. Gautam also pointed out the remaining and emerging challenges for Viet Nam to ensure that all children will have the best chance to develop and grow. Data disaggregated by sex, age, region and ethnicity show us that not all children are benefiting equally from progress on the ‘World Fit For Children’ goals.  People living in remote and mountainous areas, particularly ethnic minorities, now comprise a growing proportion of Viet Nam’s population living in poverty.
In addition, children in Viet Nam are likely to both benefit from the impact of globalization, but also be vulnerable to its negative consequences. Issues such as disparity, child abuse, child trafficking, child labour and HIV/AIDS are emerging. Childhood injury prevention merits special attention in Viet Nam with 74 children dying everyday from accidents, injury and drowning.  “We must do everything possible to ensure that children do not bear a disproportionate share of the costs of these processes, but rather, that they are the first ones to reap their benefits”, Mr. Gautam said.

During his visit to Viet Nam, Mr. Kul Gautam has met with Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Nguyen Sinh Hung, the Minister for Planning and Investment Mr. Vo Hong Phuc, Chairwoman of the Committee on Population, Family and Children (CPFC) Madame Le Thi Thu, Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly Mr. Truong Quang Duoc as well as other key government counterparts.

For more information please contact

Caroline den Dulk (Ms), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: + 844 942 5706, Mobile: 84 91 4756592 cdendulk@unicef.org.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong (Ms), Communication Section, UNICEF Viet Nam
Tel: (84-4) 9425706-11, Ext. 401. Fax : (84-4) 9425705. E-mail : ntthuong@unicef.org

 

 

 
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