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Speech of UNFPA Representative, Mr. Bruce Campbell at the celebration of the ten years of collaboration and Closing Ceremony of the UNFPA supported project on promoting sexual and reproductive health services

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Date:     Tuesday 10 April 2012
Event:   Celebration of the ten years of collaboration and closing ceremony of the project "Strengthening the accessibility and quality of reproductive health care with a focus on safe motherhood, adolescent reproductive health and reproductive rights"
Venue: La Thanh Hotel, 218 Doi Can street, Ha Noi

Your Excellency, Mr. Marc Franck, Chargé d'Affaires a.i., Embassy of Luxembourg in Viet Nam
Mr. Nguyen Thien Truong, Standing Vice President of the Viet Nam Family Planning Association   
Representatives from Government, donors, NGOs, civil society organizations and the media
Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Viet Nam, I would like to express my pleasure to be here today for the celebration of the ten years of collaboration between the Viet Nam Family Planning Association (VINAFPA), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of Luxemburg and the closing ceremony of the project on ‘Strengthening the accessibility and quality of reproductive health care with focus on safe motherhood, adolescent reproductive health and reproductive rights’. The project has been an excellent example of partnership between the United Nations, international development partners and civil society organizations on promoting access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. We highly appreciate the strong involvement and support of the Viet Nam Family Planning Association and the many other committed partners in this project.  

It has also been our privilege to work jointly with the Government of Luxembourg, who provided the funding for the project. Luxembourg has demonstrated a very strong commitment and great support to the important work of strengthening the institutional capacity of the VINAFPA on reproductive health issues. We are very fortunate indeed to have such generous, engaged and patient support.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As you know, in 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, called upon countries to achieve universal access to reproductive health services by 2015.

Since the conference in 1994, countries around the world have invested a significant amount of resources to improve access to, and quality of, sexual and reproductive health services and this now forms part of the development agenda of poverty reduction in many countries, including Viet Nam.

In this context, UNFPA has collaborated with the VINAFPA and the Government of Luxembourg since 2007 to carry out this project in the four provinces of Quang Ninh, Hue, Nghe An and Can Tho, with the aim to strengthen the accessibility and quality of reproductive health care in Viet Nam.

The recent endline survey by Thai Binh medical school showed that the project has recorded many positive achievements. And, although the external technical assistance will be phased out in May 2012, we are optimistic that these achievements will be sustained and further applied to other provinces so that more vulnerable women, men and young people and adolescents, whether from urban or rural areas, or from majority or minority ethnic groups, will have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services.

Distinguished guests,

Data from the 2009 census and other surveys shows that Viet Nam has made very impressive progress towards achieving the MDGs and has been successful in meeting most of them.

Similarly, in the area of reproductive health and family planning in particular, Viet Nam has made substantial progress, integrating family planning into pre- and post-natal care and in HIV prevention. However, certain population groups, such as young people, migrants and ethnic minorities, have limited access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. As a result, a significant number of pregnancies are unexpected, and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), continue to be a challenge, indicating that more prevention efforts are needed.
Furthermore, young people in Viet Nam are the most mobile group, as many leave home for further studies, while others migrate seasonally or permanently for better job opportunities. And, it is important to note that many more young women migrate within the country, than young men. Many young people have become more vulnerable to various forms of poverty and exploitation, such as poor unregistered migrants, sex workers, drug and substance users and young people living with HIV. In particular, sexual and reproductive health norms and behaviours are changing rapidly among young people in Viet Nam, and one third of young people still face barriers when trying to access reproductive health information or the services they deserve.

Distinguished guests,

With the strong foundation created over the past ten years, we believe that VINAFPA has developed to become one of the most effective actors in the field of reproductive health and family planning in Viet Nam.

UNFPA, as a part of the United Nations team in Viet Nam, will continue to support the Government and line ministries in their efforts to ensure Universal access to RH services, as outlined in the One Plan 2012-2016. We are convinced that joining forces is the only way to sustainably improve people’s lives.

Thank you very much for your attention and participation. I would like to wish all of you good health, happiness and success.