Follow us on: 

UN: Inflation created new poor

Print Email

As published in Thanh Nien News online, 10 June 2011

Vietnam passes resolution creating targeted poverty reduction program

It seemed like an odd request when a province in the world's second largest rice producer petitioned the central government for rice subsidies to tackle hunger.

On May 5, the Thanh Hoa Province People's Committee asked the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs for 2,048 tons of rice to support more than 70,000 hungry households.

In January, Thanh Hoa distributed 4,300 tons of rice subsidies to more than 280,000 local residents who said they were facing hunger, despite the fact that the province is home to the largest delta in the central region.

Thanh Hoa is not the only place in Vietnam where residents continue to go hungry due to persistent poverty.

In January of this year, Vietnam raised its poverty line due to rising inflation and consumer prices. Based on that new measure, Vietnam contains 3,055,566 poor households and 1,612,381 near-poor households.


The nation's poverty rate was estimated at 9.45 percent of the total population – based on a monthly incomes of VND400,000 (US$19.5) for rural areas and VND500,000 ($24.4) for urban residents.

On Thursday during a mid-year meeting between Vietnam and international donors in Ha Tinh Province, UN Resident Coordinator Bruce Campbell warned that inflation and other threats could push many Vietnamese households into poverty

"Poor urban and migrant households and pensioners who are net food buyers are most affected by rising prices for energy, housing and transport and social services. Inflation also affects poor agricultural households, even those that are net food producers, as they pay more for agricultural inputs and social services," he said. "A coherent and inclusive social protection system is required, which integrates existing programs in order to support all Vietnamese people when they experience economic, health and environmental shocks and crises."

According to a report by the United Nations Country Team presented at the meeting, inflation has had a disproportionate impact on the poor and vulnerable, given that they spend a much higher proportion of their income on food and other essential items than better-off households.

An estimated 838,600 agricultural household members experienced hunger in the first two months of 2011, the highest number since 2007 and nearly double the hungry households in 2010.

In 2008 food inflation drove four million people into hunger, the highest number on record for the 2006-2010 period.

"Women and children are often among those most affected, with many households reporting that they cut back on food consumption and pulled their children out of school during the last period of high inflation in 2008," according to the team's prepared statement.

Calling for further attention to imbalances in economic growth between different regions and socio-economic groups, the UN said that development is about improving people's living standards and enlarging people's opportunities and choices.

It is not, they pointed out, merely a matter of economic growth.

Latest efforts

On May 30, the Ministry of Labor – War Invalids and Social Affairs launched a government resolution calling for sustainable poverty reduction through 2020 to be prioritized in the national socio-economic development strategy.

The resolution seeks to improve the livelihoods of poor people, particularly in mountainous ethnic minority communities, and narrow the gap between rural and urban areas.

The resolution will focus on designing a targeted sustainable poverty reduction program to be implemented through 2015.

The plan will seek to raise the per capita income of poor families by 3.5 times and to reduce the national poor household rate by two percent per annum.

Christophe Bahuet, United Nations Development Program's Vietnam deputy country director, said that Vietnam has begun a new decade as a middle-income nation, creating a demand for prioritizing sustainable poverty reduction.

"Attention has been drawn to the large population of rural poor and vulnerable groups in need of a social security net to mitigate and protect against the uncertainty increasingly resulting from this new socio-economic context. At the same time, generations of ethnic groups are locked into a vicious cycle of poverty that is proving stubbornly difficult to break," he stated during the launch of the resolution.

Multi-dimensional poverty

Le Kim Dung, Associate Country Director of Oxfam Great Britain – an international anti-poverty NGO, said that poverty has not been reduced evenly. Disparities remain across ethnic groups, regions, and between the rich and poor.

"The latest Oxfam and ActionAid rural poverty monitoring report reveals that the poorest communes in its monitoring sites have poverty rates which exceed 70 percent, according to the new poverty line," she said.

Dung suggested the government take into account multi-dimensional poverty in addition to the existing income or expenditure-based measures in order to help policy makers identify and formulate more appropriate policies to reduce poverty.

"As Vietnam becomes a middle-income country, Oxfam and ActionAid report showed that poverty is becoming more multi-dimensional, and can be measured by means of income, expenditure and non-income criteria. Non-income criteria might include human resources, livelihoods, living conditions, social capital and access to public services," she said.

Read the article on the Thanh Nien News website




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.