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Preparing for the next pandemic

21 April, 2010 - Viet Nam News spoke to delegates to the International Ministerial Conference on Animal and Pandemic Influenza yesterday about the continuing bird flu threat. Dr. John Marc Olivé, WHO representative in Viet Nam said “It’s been seven years now that Viet Nam and other parts of the world have been fighting influenza and the disease has come to the end of a cycle in which there are now only 12 countries reported to have it and only three reporting human cases,” he said. “It's however important that people understand the risk is still there. If it's not H5N1, it can be any kind of other avian influenza virus,” he added. “I also expect political and financial commitments between major partners to achieve global partnership in the control of avian influenza,” he added. Julie Hall, Senior Technical Advisor, UN System Influenza Coordination said Viet Nam Government has made genuine efforts to tackle this virus. “They're seeing quite marked successes in reducing the number of human cases, animal outbreaks and areas in Viet Nam infected with the virus, but we know that it will take more time and effort to be able to fully control the virus,” she said. “Like many other countries in Asia, Viet Nam has a large population of poultry and people, and this provides the opportunity for the virus to thrive,” she said. “That's why we have a global conference here with representatives from different countries.”

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Golden opportunity, golden pitfalls

Vietnam has witnessed an unusual rapid rise of the sex ratio at birth over the last few years. Other countries in the region which went through a similar situation had to import brides to satisfy the needs for marriage.

[The Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper interviewed UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam Bruce Campbell on 17 April 2010 about an important population issue, the "demographic bonus".]

Vietnam needs careful mix of socio economic policies to address ‘demographic bonus. 

As a surge in working-age population ushers in a “golden era” for Vietnamese development, education, social security and gender equality are crucial for the development of the country, Bruce Campbell, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Vietnam, told Thanh Nien Weekly in an interview.

Thanh Nien Weekly: Vietnam is going through what analysts call its “demographic bonus” period, in which the number of working-age people nearly doubles that of those who are of dependent age. What are the opportunities it brings for the country?

Bruce Campbell: Usually, this period of demographic bonus happens only once in a nation’s lifetime and in Vietnam, it is happening from now until 2040.
This era is also known as the ‘golden era’ as it presents opportunities for the socioeconomic development of a country. The demographic dividend enables Vietnam to effectively use this abundant and young labor force for the next phase of economic growth, especially from 2011 onwards, when the country will embrace middle-income status.

The abundant labor force and low labor cost used to be considered Vietnam’s competitive advantages. However, manual laborers account for a high percentage of the force, while the country needs skilled workers to serve development.

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“Viet Nam should launch a national action plan on de-mining soon”: UNDP Deputy Director

To mark the global Day for Raising Awareness about Landmines and De-mining Action (April 4th), Mr. Christophe Bahuet, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam had a talk with Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) newspaper regarding the problem of leftover landmines in Viet Nam from the war, and gave recommendations to solve the problem. Landmines and unexploded ordnance remaining after the war is a significant threat to people and creates many difficulties for efforts to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty, as well as economic development in affected countries.


Industrial relations move forward

A process of revision is underway in Viet Nam that aims to overhaul the legal regulations surrounding labour standards and industrial relations to make them suitable for a vibrant, outward-looking market economy. Kari Tapiola, Executive Director for Standards and Fundamental Rights at Work under the International Labour Organisation (ILO), said there are a number of key issues which need to be successfully addressed in the current round of labour law reform in Vietnam. First, labour law reform should create a legal environment for trade unions to represent workers’ voices in the workplace and beyond in a genuine and effective manner. Second, the reforms should create legal and institutional conditions for representatives of workers and employers to hold regular dialogues inthe workplace and beyond, particularly in the form of collective bargaining but not necessarily limited to do i t. Third, the reforms should improve and modernize legal provisions regulating labour standards so that workers’ need for security and employers’ need for flexibility can be met in a balanced and fair manner in today's modern market economy.
(Viet Nam Investment Review p12&13 - April 5-11)

Supporting labour relations and revision of Labour Code

The Viet Nam Economic Times newspaper covered an interview with Ms. Rie Vejs Kjeldgaard, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) country director in Viet Nam, on ILO's project to “Support industrial relations and revision of Labour Code”. According to Kjeldgaard, ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations, with an organization structure that includes government and labour employment representatives, and labourer representatives from member countries - all cooperating in joint efforts to promote stable global employment. Based on the “National Cooperation Framework for Promoting Work in Viet Nam in the 2006-2010 period” signed by Viet Nam’s Government and the ILO, and the “Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the 2008-2010 period between the Asia Pacific ILO Office and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA)", ILO has approved a project entitled “Support to industrial relations and the revision of the Labour Code". Viet Nam’s Government released Document No. 153/TTg – QHLD to approve and add the project to a technical support project using ODA and UN funding. The project will be implemented over 24 months to improve industrial relations by strengthening the capacity of social partners; using regulations on supporting industrial relations to promote healthy industrial relations and reduce labour conflicts; and adjust laws on labour in accordance with international labour standards, Kjeldgaard said. The total budget for the project will be USD2 million.
(Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam p6 - Viet Nam Economic Times)

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1 December 2017

Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

This World AIDS Day, we are highlighting the importance of the right to health and the challenges that people living with and affected by HIV face in fulfilling that right.


Community spaces design contest for an exciting hanoi

Ha Noi, October 17/10/2017 - Aiming at improving the living environment and bringing culture and art to the community towards a better urban future, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) successfully developed the project “Promote participatory, community-based and youth-led approach in safe, greening public spaces in Hoan Kiem district toward a pro-poor, inclusive and sustainable urban development” (hereinafter called Public Spaces project) under the Block by Block program with Mojang, the makers of the videogame Minecraft.


Deadline for round 1: From 17/10/2017 to 04/11/2017 Extended to 9 November 2017


Harsh punishment for child offenders doesn’t prevent further criminality

The age at which a child, can be held criminally liable is a controversial issue around the world. Within Viet Nam, this issue is currently being grappled with in the Penal Code amendments. Some argue that a "get tough on crime" approach is necessary to punish children to prevent further criminality.

However, international research shows that because of their developmental stages, labelling and treating children as criminals at an early age can have serious negative impacts on their development and successful rehabilitation.


New Year Greetings from the United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


On the occasion of New Year 2017, on behalf of the United Nations family in Viet Nam I wish to reiterate our appreciation and express our warmest wishes to our partners and friends throughout the country. We wish our partners and their families in Viet Nam peace, prosperity, good health and happiness in the coming year.

As we enter the second year of the Sustainable Development Goals era, we look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the sake of Viet Nam’s future development; one which is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, with no one left behind.

Youssouf Abdel-Jelil
United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December


Thirty-five years since the emergence of AIDS, the international community can look back with some pride.  But we must also look ahead with resolve and commitment to reach our goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

There has been real progress in tackling the disease. More people than ever are on treatment.  Since 2010, the number of children infected through mother to child transmission has dropped by half. Fewer people die of AIDS related causes each year.  And people living with HIV are living longer lives.

The number of people with access to life-saving medicines has doubled over the past five years, now topping 18 million. With the right investments, the world can get on the fast-track to achieve our target of 30 million people on treatment by 2030.  Access to HIV medicines to prevent mother to child transmission is now available to more than 75 per cent of those in need.

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