UNICEF Applauds Viet Nam’s Efforts For Children
Hanoi - UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Mr. Kul Gautam has congratulated Viet Nam for its achievements in improving the lives of children. Speaking at the opening of the National Mid-term Review of ‘A World Fit For Children’, in Hanoi, Mr. Gautam said: “We applaud the Government of Viet Nam’s commitment to achieving progress for all its citizens. I would urge Viet Nam and its development partners to go even further, and adopt some time-bound goals to accelerate progress in disparity reduction, especially as it concerns children.”
A report on Viet Nam’s progress for children will feed into the UN Secretary General’s report on the follow-up to the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in 2002. Five years later the world is taking stock of the achievements made and the challenges that remain to the creation of a world fit for children.
Viet Nam has achieved impressive results for children over the past two decades. Infant and child mortality rates have reduced significantly and the country has maintained high child immunization coverage. Polio was eradicated in 2000 and maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2005. The country is working to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets of reducing child under-nutrition and increasing access to improved water sources and sanitation facilitates. Around 96 per cent of school-age children are now enrolled in primary school and lower secondary education is on track to becoming universal.
Adopted in 2002, the “World Fit for Children” declaration has been “nationalized” in Viet Nam under the “Communes and Wards Fit for Children” initiative, to be implemented in every province and city. The initiative includes four fundamental standards, for child well-being: a social environment fit for children; a family environment that ensures children’s full development; ensuring that all children can enjoy basic rights; and caring for and protecting children in special circumstances.
The Hanoi meeting was organised by the Viet Nam Committee for Population, Family and Children (VCPFC). Speaking at a press conference, Mme Le Thi Thu, Minister, and Chairperson of VCPFC said: “The country will attach great importance to reducing the poverty, narrowing the socio-economic development gap among localities, giving better conditions for all vulnerable groups to integrate in the community..Building communes fit for children means providing best environment to fully meet children’s needs and basic rights, prevention of child abuse, building a safe and healthy environment for children.”
Mr. Gautam outlined the challenges that face Viet Nam in ensuring that all children have the best chance to develop and grow. Data disaggregated by sex, age, region and ethnicity show that not all children are benefiting equally from progress on the ‘World Fit For Children’ goals. Those living in remote and mountainous areas, particularly ethnic minorities, now comprise a growing proportion of those living in poverty.
While children in Viet Nam are likely to benefit from the impact of globalization, they are also vulnerable to its negative consequences, such as emerging disparity, child abuse, child trafficking, child labour and HIV/AIDS. Childhood injury prevention merits special attention in Viet Nam with 74 children dying everyday as a result of accidents, injury and drowning. “We must do everything possible to ensure that children do not bear a disproportionate share of the costs of these processes, but rather, that they are the first ones to reap their benefits”, Mr. Gautam said.
During his visit to Viet Nam, Mr. Kul Gautam met Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Nguyen Sinh Hung, the Minister for Planning and Investment Mr. Vo Hong Phuc, Chairwoman of the Committee on Population, Family and Children (CPFC) Madame Le Thi Thu, Vice-Chairman of the National Assembly Mr. Truong Quang Duoc as well as other key government counterparts.
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