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Sharing International and National experiences on Integrating Population Issues in Viet Nam's Socio-economic Development

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IMG 4322Vinh Phuc City, 7 November 2014 – Vice Minister of Planning and Investment Mr. Nguyen The Phuong and UNFPA Representative Arthur Erken co-chaired the workshop to share international and national experiences in harnessing opportunities from demographic changes for Socio-Economic Development and Implication for Viet Nam. The workshop was co-organised by the UNFPA in Viet Nam and the Development Strategy Institute on 7 November in Vinh Phuc province.

More than 60 participants from the MPI, GSO, other line ministries, international and national research institutions, international organizations and UN Agencies. This workshop was an extremely important step in the process of formulating the Report on Social Economic Development, 2016-2020, which will be submitted to the 12nd Party Congress in early 2016, for the Party's review.

Viet Nam has made impressive progresses in achieving its population goals but also challenges remains. There have been significant undergoing demographic changes: a rapid decline in fertility and mortality; internal migration on a large scale and rapidly; signification urbanisation; and a skewed sex ratio at birth. While Vietnam is having the largest-ever young population, the country is also aging rapidly at much faster rate than other Asian countries. These factors have an increasing impact on the development of the nation and the implementation of national and local socio-economic development strategies and plans.

“The average Vietnamese woman now has just 2 children in her lifetime, down from more than 6 in the early 1970s. Such fertility rate at around the replacement level has been sustained for a decade. This means that the government can now shift its focus from population control to population and development," said Mr. Arthur Erken, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam.

Viet Nam has entered a period of demographic dividend which provides a unique economic opportunity for the country’s development, but also creates challenges.  Therefore, investing in the education and health, including sexual and reproductive health, of adolescents and young people is of utmost importance to Viet Nam’s productivity and development in the future. "We need to ensure that young people receive the support and grow up in an youth-friendly environment to become the present and future custodians of the country. The demographic dividend is giving Viet Nam a once-in-lifetime unique opportunity. Only if we seize the opportunity, it will be translated into a demographic bonus," added Mr. Arthur Erken.

The workshop has come to agreement that attentions need to be paid to issues of inequalities and disparities, which have been increasing and are accompanied by new forms of poverty and vulnerability.  As health and rights are vital to and at the core of sustainability, the Government needs to ensure that people are the centre of development, their rights, needs and well-beingshould be at the center of policies, strategies, and development plans.

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