UNICEF is committed to helping Viet Nam realize a child-sensitive social protection system that addresses social vulnerabilities, alongside income poverty and economic shocks.
Viet Nam aspires to an inclusive social protection system relevant to its lower middle-income status and to better realize basic human rights. However, the current social protection system is fragmented, with limited coverage and an inadequate range of benefits neither progressive nor child sensitive. As a result, the system is unable to address the multiple disadvantages, risks and vulnerabilities affecting children’s well-being.
Just 10 per cent of children can access social transfers, yet they are more affected by poverty than any other age group - accounting for 36.7 per cent of Viet Nam’s poor. There is a lack of basic cash support for children to address age-specific risks such as malnutrition, while eight-in-10 ethnic minority children are deprived from access to social services.
Children, particularly ethnic minority ones, are more affected by the changing nature of poverty and vulnerabilities than any other social group in Viet Nam.
To address multi-dimensional child poverty and improve the lives of children, UNICEF is supporting the government to develop a child-sensitive social protection system. Such a system will mitigate the impacts of poverty, support families in their childcare role and enhance access to basic services, such as education and healthcare, for the poorest and most marginalized.
This will be achieved through generation of evidence and analysis on new forms of child poverty and vulnerability, and policy options to improve coverage and effectiveness of social assistance for children. In particular, strengthening the legal, policy and institutional frameworks to implement the national social protection reform agenda towards universal and life-cycle approaches is critical. As many at-risk children live outside family care, Viet Nam’s child-sensitive social protection system must be responsive to this vulnerable group as well as to children facing abuse or discrimination at home.
Making social protection more child-sensitive has the potential to benefit not only children, but also their families, communities and national development as a whole.