New Investment Needs to be Relevant and Practical for Local Poor
Ha Noi – A national conference opened here on 1 July to find ways to effectively assist poor households expand their production to increase income as well as to help improve their access to social services. Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem attended and delivered a key note speech at the conference.
The two-day conference, organized by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) with support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), involved participants from Party, National Assembly and Government agencies, officials from provinces throughout Viet Nam, representatives from mass organizations as well as from the UN and donor agencies and international NGOs.
The conference concluded a series of consultations on the design of the new National Targeted Programme for Poverty Reduction for the 2006-2010 period. Previous consultations took place in Yen Bai, Hai Phong, Ha Noi, Dak Lak and An Giang provinces. The consultation series aims to seek opinions from officials and people in different regions of Viet Nam on how the new programme would be designed and implemented so that it could best meet the needs of local poor people.
The new Programme is expected to help reduce the proportion of poor households from 26% in 2005 to about 15% by 2010 (according to new poverty threshold to be applied from 2006). Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Hang said: “By lifting more than 300,000 households out from poverty each year, this Programme will contribute to halting increasing inequality among different groups of people.”
The new Programme will focus on social and production assistance to poor households, provide credit, support small scale rural infrastructure development in poorest coastal and island communes, and strengthen capacities of Programme staff at all levels.
“The new Programme shows the Government’s strong commitment and support to poor people,” said UNDP Resident Representative Jordan Ryan. He applauded the National Targeted Programme for Poverty Reduction for the 2001-2005 period (known as HEPR), for improving the life of poor people. “The HEPR Programme, together with the Programme for Socio-Economic Development of poorest communes (known as 135 Programme), has made critical contributions to Viet Nam’s track record of halving poverty, well ahead of the deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goal in 2015,” said Mr Ryan.“But the new Programme must better target the poorest of the poor and direct resources to improving local capacity,” Mr Ryan noted, emphasizing the social importance in effective implementation of national programmes and reforms. Ryan also called for improvement in people’s participation: “People participating by donating their labour is not enough. Involvement of people in decisions and their oversight in the programme implementation and the use of resources are vitally important”.
Minister Hang shares the same views as Mr Ryan that the key lessons learnt from the past are important for the success of the new Programme. Referring to the lessons that have been incorporated in the new Programme, Mme Hang named the needs to reach out to “real” poor people; to strengthen local capacities; and to develop transparent financial management and systematic monitoring and evaluation systems.
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