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Speech by Ms. Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative at the Launch of MICS 4

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Date: Friday, December 16, 2011
Event: Launch of MICS 4
Venue: Sofitel Plaza hotel, Ha Noi

  • lotta_mics4Mr. Do Thuc, Director General, General Statistics Office,
  • Senior government officials,
  • Excellencies, ambassadors and members of the donor community,
  • Representatives of the media,
  • Colleagues from partner organisations,
  • My fellow UN colleagues,
  • Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is a privilege and a pleasure to represent the UN family, in particular UNFPA and UNICEF, to launch and share with you the key findings of the Viet Nam Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey– also called MICS4. Today marks the culmination of a long and intense working process led by the General Statistics Office, in collaboration with various line Ministries and the agencies UNFPA and UNICEF, focusing on the implementation of the fourth round of the MICS in Viet Nam.

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey is an international household survey initiative, through which UNICEF assists countries in collecting and analysing data in order to monitor the situation of children and women. Since the mid-1990s, the MICS has enabled many countries to produce statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in areas such as health, education, child protection, water and sanitation and HIV and AIDS. In Viet Nam, four rounds of MICS surveys have been implemented to date – in 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2010-2011 – and MICS findings have been used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for the purpose of influencing public opinion on the living conditions of children and women. Results from the MICS4 will allow Viet Nam to better monitor progress toward national goals and global commitments, including the Millennium Development Goals, as the target year 2015 approaches. Together with data and analysis from other major sources of information such as the Census, the Annual Population Change Surveys and the Viet Nam Household Living Standards Surveys, in-depth analysis of the MICS4 data will provide scientific evidence for the formulation of policies and programmes in various development areas. It is critical to utilise data from these sources to establish sound baselines against which development progress can be measured.

Many have contributed to this important initiative and I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all institutions involved, and in particular to the General Statistics Office for the excellent leadership and partnership we have developed over the years. Work on the Viet Nam MICS4 started back in September 2010 and has seen the involvement of hundreds of committed individuals and numerous agencies, ensuring a robust and solid end product. I would particularly like to applaud the work of the “army” of interviewers who criss-crossed the country, braving the heat and humidity in the south or the cold rain and even the snow (!) in the north, traveling in – sometimes - extreme conditions, to collect invaluable data!

From an equity perspective, MICS4 provides a comprehensive picture of the situation of children and women in Viet Nam and indicates existing disparities in the lives and well-being of children across regions, by gender, area of residence, wealth, and ethnicity. For instance, when it comes to immunisation, the report shows that two out of five children between 12 and 23 months are fully immunised in Viet Nam, and that there is a considerable gap between rural and urban areas, with one in two urban children fully immunised, compared to only one in three in rural areas.

In the area of water and sanitation, MICS4 findings reveal that over seven out of ten Vietnamese use both improved sources of drinking water and improved sanitation facilities. But a person living in a Kinh or Hoa household is more than twice as likely to have access to those facilities as a person living in an ethnic minority household. When it comes to nutrition, the report shows that in Viet Nam nearly one in every four children under five is stunted, that is, shorter than he or she should be for his or her age. The stunting rate among ethnic minority children is twice as high as the stunting rate among their Kinh or Hoa peers. One last striking example is in education - among the poorest households only 66 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls attend secondary school, compared to 96 percent of both boys and girls among the wealthiest households.

The report provides evidence that ethnic minorities are not faring well in most surveyed areas. The data generated by MICS4 will allow policymakers to identify and target their resources to those population groups that are in most need of attention and should be the focus of collective development efforts. This would allow the benefits of Viet Nam’s economic growth to reach women and children in all ethnic, economic and social groups.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Within the One-UN framework, UNICEF, UNFPA and sister agencies are committed to continue supporting the Government of Viet Nam through our assistance to the General Statistics Office in the implementation of Viet Nam’s National Statistical Development Strategy 2011-2020.  The strategy aims at improving data quality and harmonise data collection and utilisation. UN agencies are also actively using the vital data generated by the GSO for developing assistance programmes for the 2012-2016 period.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it is crucial that government agencies, ministries, UN organisations, bilateral and multilateral institutions, enterprises, research institutions and universities invest resources in analysing and utilising knowledge and data for the monitoring of policies and programmes, and to support policy implementation. We hope the General Statistics Office will continue its commendable efforts in data collection, dissemination and advocacy for the benefit of Viet Nam’s population, especially its youngest citizens.

 

Thank you.