Viet Nam has achieved rapid economic success and remarkable social progress in just over two decades, reaching lower middle-income status in 2009. It is a leader in the Asia-Pacific region in having achieved almost all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the national level well ahead of schedule, and it is on track to achieve the others before 2015. The country was the first in Asia, and the second in the world, to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990, and it has continued to demonstrate visible and forward-looking leadership for its approximately 30 million children (around one-third of the total population). By any measure, Viet Nam has made tremendous progress for its children in a remarkably short period of time.
Yet segments of the child and adolescent population in Viet Nam continue to live in conditions of deprivation and exclusion. For example, quality health care, secondary education and clean water are not equally accessible to all children. Social exclusion is caused by several factors including economic disparities, gender inequality, and marked differences between the rural and the more affluent urban areas, as well as between geographic regions. Ethnic minorities continue to be among the poorest and have benefited least from the country’s economic growth. Poverty still causes children to drop out of school, live in the streets, or engage in high-risk behaviour such as sex work in order to survive.
Background on Global Handwashing Day
The practice of hand-washing with soap tops the international hygiene agenda on October 15, with the celebration of Global Hand-washing Day (GHWD). Since its inception in 2008 – which was designated as the International Year of Sanitation by the UN General Assembly – Global Hand-washing Day has been echoing and reinforcing the call for improved hygiene practices worldwide.
The report "Adoption from Viet Nam: findings and recommendations of an assessment" is the result of an independent assessment commissioned by UNICEF Viet Nam and the Department of Adoption of the Ministry of Justice of Viet Nam in 2009. This assessment was carried out by International Social Service (ISS). Its main objectives were to: (1) identify and address problems in both the domestic and intercountry adoption processes, with a view to assisting Viet Nam in its preparations to accede to the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption; and (2) review the new draft law on adoption, and propose any amendments that may appear necessary to ensure compliance with international standards and good practice.
Since the finalisation of the report, the National Assembly has passed a new law on adoption (in June 2010). This new law addresses many of the concerns related to intercountry adoptions that were highlighted by the assessment.
Viet Nam is an ethnically diverse society made up of 54 different ethnic groups, many of which have their own distinct language and live in remote and economically disadvantaged parts of the country. The ethnic minority population totals approximately 11 million; 13 percent of the total population of 85.8 million. The official language of instruction at school is Vietnamese and all children are taught through it. This has created a “language barrier” for many ethnic minority children who have a limited understanding and proficiency in Vietnamese or in some cases do not understand the language at all.
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25 November 2015 - The atrocity crimes being committed against women and girls in conflict zones, along with the domestic abuse found in all countries, are grave threats to progress.
I am deeply concerned about the plight of women and girls living in conditions of armed conflict, who suffer various forms of violence, sexual assault, sexual slavery and trafficking. Violent extremists are perverting religious teachings to justify the mass subjugation and abuse of women. These are not random acts of violence, or the incidental fallout of war, but rather systematic efforts to deny women's freedoms and control their bodies. As the world strives to counter and prevent violence extremism, the protection and empowerment of women and girls must be a key consideration.
14 November 2015 - Close to 350 million people in the world have diabetes, and the prevalence is rising rapidly, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. There is much all of us can do to minimize our risk of getting the disease and, even if we do get it, to live long and healthy lives with it.
People who have diabetes lose their ability to properly regulate their blood sugar. Out-of-control blood sugar can lead to nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation.
16 October 2015 - This year's observance of World Food Day follows the landmark adoption by world leaders of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including a set of 17 goals to guide our work towards a future of dignity and prosperity for all on a healthy planet.
How we choose to grow, process, distribute and consume the food we eat has a profound effect on people, planet, prosperity and peace. Delivering on the promise of the 2030 Agenda will not be possible without rapid progress towards ending hunger and undernutrition. In the same way, delivering on the commitment to end hunger forever, for all people, will not be possible without major gains across the new Agenda.
13 October 2015 - This year's observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction is dedicated to the power of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge.
In March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, I met with the President of Vanuatu,
His Excellency Baldwin Lonsdale, at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. On that very day, his island nation was devastated by Cyclone Pam, one of the strongest storms ever to strike the Pacific.
The force of the storm led to expectations that there would be great loss of life. Thankfully, this was not the case. One reason was that cyclone shelters built in the traditional style from local materials, saved many lives.
New York, 11 October 2015 - The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals rightly include key targets for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They offer an opportunity for a global commitment to breaking intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination – and realizing our vision of a life of dignity for all.
Our task now is to get to work on meeting the SDG targets and making good on our promises to give girls all the opportunities they deserve as they mature to adulthood by 2030. That means enabling them to avoid child marriage and unwanted pregnancy, protect against HIV transmission, stay safe from female genital mutilation, and acquire the education and skills they need to realize their potential. It also requires ensuring their sexual health and reproductive rights. Girls everywhere should be able to lead lives free from fear and violence. If we achieve this progress for girls, we will see advances across society.