UNCT Meeting with the Prime Minister on the occasion of the UN Day
24 tháng 10 2021
UNCT Meeting with the Prime Minister on the occasion of the UN Day Remarks by Dr Kidong Park, United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i, Viet Nam
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Your Excellency Mr. Bui Thanh Son, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and distinguished government members!
It is an honor for me and UN Country Team colleagues to be here in this meeting with you, on the occasion of the UN Day.
Taking this opportunity, we would like to extend to your excellency our warm congratulations on holding the post of Prime Minister and wish you every success in your term in office.
We recognize that the 4th wave of COVID-19 pandemic presents a great challenge to Viet Nam for the achievement of the SDGs.
The good news is that we are observing a decreasing trend of new cases and new deaths in the past five weeks. We congratulate the Government under your leadership and all segments of society on the effective response to control the pandemic. We express our heartfelt condolences to those who have lost their lives and suffered due to the pandemic. We welcome the Government Resolution 128 on economic recovery and safe adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We agree with you that the next 6 months will be critical for Viet Nam in sustaining its socio-economic recovery and building back better, particularly for vulnerable populations, including those most at risk of being left behind and impacted severely by the pandemic, while finding ways to safely live with the virus.
The UN has been playing a key role in bringing millions of COVID-19 vaccines to Viet Nam through the COVAX, as well as in helping the authorities with the rollout of the vaccination operation. We stand ready to continue to support and work more closely with your Government in this critical period of socio-economic recovery and building back better.
Viet Nam’s Contributions to the UN
We highly values Viet Nam’s contributions to the UN system, including UN peace operations. Viet Nam’s role at the regional and global levels is increasing, and we welcome its strong support to multilateralism and global cooperation.
In a vivid show of solidarity, Viet Nam has received in April this year, for the first time in history, a UN staff with COVID through the UN Medical Evacuation system and successfully treated him. As a Security Council member for 2020-21, Viet Nam hosted a premier International Conference on Women, Peace and Security in December 2020. Its outcome document, ‘Hanoi Commitment to Action’, was co-sponsored by 75 Member States.
As Viet Nam will celebrate the 45th anniversary of its UN membership in 2022, we look forward to closer collaboration with the Government and people of Viet Nam.
This moment is critical to the UN in Viet Nam as we are finalizing the next Cooperation Framework (CF for short) between UN and the Government of Viet Nam for the period of 2022 to 2026. We expect the document to be on your table shortly for your final review and approval.
This is a ‘new generation’ CF following the UN Development System reform, and is anchored in UN guiding principles, norms and standards, in particular the principle of Leaving No One Behind and Human Rights Based Approach. The whole UN system, including from the regional and global levels, will engage more nimbly and flexibly than before to support the Government and the people of Viet Nam in the following 4 outcome areas to support the Government’s new SEDS and SEDP:
Inclusive social development
Climate change response, disaster resilience and environmental sustainability
Shared prosperity through economic transformation
Governance and access to justice
Respective UN agency country frameworks of cooperation have been much more aligned with the CF, and we wish to emphasize the importance of strengthening partnerships with all stakeholders including domestic and international private sector entities and NGOs in its implementation.
Today, I would like to highlight several key agendas which we believe the Government of Viet Nam should address as a priority.
On Social Protection and social rebound
The Government may focus on implementing reforms that make the social assistance system more shock responsive and more inclusive. This implies meeting the urgent needs of most vulnerable groups more quickly and effectively, linking them with essential services.
In the short term, we propose a cash assistance programme of not less than 5% of quarterly GDP to be implemented as soon as possible in the final months of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. The Government has the capacity to borrow domestically to increase cash transfers to poor and vulnerable people, especially women, children and youth, informal and migrant workers, persons with disabilities, LGBTIQ and older people. This will not only reduce their suffering but will also support domestic consumption growth, which many businesses, especially micro, small and medium enterprises, rely on to survive during the recovery and in the lead up to the Tet holidays, as Tet sales account for up to half or even more of annual business.
Medium-term support policies need to be designed now to prepare for the social distancing measures in the future. Reforms should make use of a robust electronic registration system and electronic payment systems as well as augmenting the capacity and resources of provincial governments to identify the neediest and to respond rapidly to their needs.
Complementing social protection, the social rebound must include adequate investment to strengthen grassroots health and nutrition care services and emphasize choice in sexual and reproductive health, as well as to increase access to water and sanitation services. Likewise, efforts are needed to close the digital divide in education and prevent school drop-out following the long periods of distance learning. Increases in domestic and gender-based violence and mental health concerns during the pandemic call for improved social work services at local levels.
On Climate change, COP26 and Building Back Greener
We recognize that the 26th session of Conference of Parties of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) will be convened soon and you will lead the delegation of Viet Nam.
COP26 provides the opportunity for the Government to announce a carbon neutral target year and commit to the urgent actions needed to achieve that target. Possible action points include, increasing commitments on the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), enhancing the energy transition to renewables, and ending dependence on coal/ fossil fuels.
In addition to these, greater investments are required to improve the resilience of vulnerable communities through disaster risk reduction and adaptation to the negative effects of climate change, and to implement for all the newly approved UN human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.
On Promoting inclusive and sustainable prosperity
We welcome Government initiatives that continue to invest in Viet Nam’s success in addressing multi-dimensional poverty. First, in relation to ethnic minorities, and second in recognising the vulnerabilities of migrant workers and informal workers, especially women, and to implement reforms that formalise their contributions and status in the society and the economy, also in enhancing productivity. We also recognize Viet Nam’s commitment to transforming food systems in a transparent, responsible, and sustainable manner.
In supporting businesses with incentives to drive an inclusive green economic rebound, it is important for the Government to engage with the business and labour sectors to promote gender inclusive fair business practices and decent work, as part of the transition to a circular economy. These include education and skill training for the most vulnerable, investments based on innovations to take advantage of industrial revolution 4.0 technologies. Care must be taken so as not to widen the digital divide.
Fundamental to efforts at scale to build back better and leave no one behind is sustainable development financing, including mobilizing domestic public and private resources. It includes greater and more efficient use of public investment resources and the development and reform of domestic institutions that increase the supply of long-term innovative financing schemes that invest in national priorities especially in health and education capacities to rebound from the pandemic and transform economy and society to reach high income status.
On Governance and access to justice
In the context of incremental improvements in governance and public administration performance during the last decade, the Government may wish to consider further reforms that promote a shift to more open and participatory governance systems that are less fragmented, more consistent and responsive, especially in confronting multiple and persistent crises.
Initial steps could enhance innovation capacities to improve coordination across government, to better balance national and provincial responsibilities, and to take advantage of electronic systems (such as national ID) to make services and resources more accessible to all, and thereby enhancing a more agile, anticipatory, and adaptive governance response and policy making based on relevant data and evidence.
We stand ready to discuss and initiate joint work with the Government where and when your government sees our contributions’ adding value to your efforts.
Finally, I would like to thank you for offering us this meeting and time for discussion. After your excellency’s response, and when you allow, I will invite my UNCT representatives to help respond and elaborate further our key messages.
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