Part 2: ‘Sweet fruits’ from tireless efforts

World’s exemplary achievement

In mid-1975, Vietnam remained a poor country ravaged by war and strangled by embargoes. Until 2010, the country left the group of least developed countries to join the world’s middle-income ones.

This great step, as former Secretary General of the France - Vietnam Friendship Association Jean-Pierre Archambault, resulted from the renewal process which started in 1986. According to this official, the renewal activated the development and significant progress in Vietnam. Vietnam has successfully transformed its agricultural sector, exceeding its goal of food self-sufficiency. "This is truly a remarkable effort,” Archambault stated, referring to the implementation period of just 25 years - a short period of time in comparison with the country's long history.

Troops of Pa U Border Post under the Lai Chau provincial Border Guard Command help La Hu ethnic people in Ha Si village, Pa U commune, Muong Te district reclaim rice fields to ensure on-site food. (Photo: VNA)

The aforementioned remarkable progress included Vietnam's efforts in hunger eradication and poverty reduction. The multi-dimensional poverty rate in Vietnam over the past decade declined consistently and significantly, from 18.1% in 2012 to 10.9% in 2016 and 4.4% in 2020, according to the Vietnam Multi-dimensional Poverty Report 2021 announced in July 2022. The report was jointly made by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Committee for Ethnic Affairs, the General Statistics Office of Vietnam under the Ministry of Planning and Investment) under the support of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and technical support from the Center for Analysis and Forecasting of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (CAF/VASS).

According to the report, “one out of 10 people was poor in terms of income in 2014, but half of them moved out of poverty sustainably in the pre-pandemic period.” The report asserted that the achievements in hunger eradication and poverty reduction in Vietnam over the past decade are impressive and typical in the world, making Vietnam one of the countries successfully implementing and achieving many millennium development goals launched by the U.N. ahead of time.

According to the World Bank (WB), over the past decade, the poverty rate in Vietnam has decreased impressively. Based on the WB's low-middle-income country standards, the poverty rate in Vietnam has fallen from 16.8% to 5% in the 2010-2020 period, with more than 10 million people getting support to move out of poverty. Professor Carl Thayer of the University of New South Wales (Australia) said that hungry eradication and poverty reduction have significantly improved the lives of people, including those from ethnic minority groups, in the mountainous provinces of Vietnam.

Investing in people is the goal for sustainable development

Determined to invest in people to achieve the goal of rapid and sustainable development, the Party and State of Vietnam have issued numerous widely-covered social security policies. So far, Vietnam has universalized secondary education, and all of its communes have been covered with preschool education.

After eight years of implementing the project "Building a learning society in the 2012-2020 period," Vietnam eradicated illiteracy for 295,308 people aged 15-60, raising the literacy rate at the age of 15-60 by 97.85% and the literacy rate in 15-35 age group by 99.3%.

The country has issued a lot of policies on tuition fee exemption and reduction, and student financial support for disadvantaged groups with a focus on ethnic, mountainous students and those facing difficulties in life. According to the Human Development Report of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) Vietnam's human development index (HDI) in 1990 was 0.472 and Vietnam was in the group of countries with low HDI. With the index reaching 0.682 in 2016 and 0.706 in 2020, Vietnam was in the world's high HDI group.

Also, Vietnam has reaped outcomes in gender equality. It has been recognized internationally as one of the 10 best countries in implementing the fifth of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals on promoting gender equality and empowering all women and girls. The achievements have become a premise and  strong motivation for Vietnam to continue implementing gender equality goals, contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Alongside investing in people, the Party and State of Vietnam have always paid due attention to effectively carrying out policies for national contributors, ensuring social security for the people.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health, the health insurance coverage rate increased from 81.7% in 2016 to 90.85% in 2020. Policy beneficiaries, such as national contributors, poor people, ethnic people in difficult socio-economic areas, children under 6, and people over 80 (in 2020, 99% of elderly people granted with health insurance cards), received support from the State budget to buy health insurance. Notably, the rate of commune medical stations eligible for medical examination and treatment for patients with health insurance cards increased from 90% in 2016 to 92.6% in 2019 and reached 92.8% in 2020.

According to WB, the average life expectancy of Vietnamese people rose from 70.5 in 1990 to 75.4 in 2019, the highest among countries in the region with similar income levels.

In the context that the world confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam made great efforts to protect public health and take care of people's health, while maintaining economic growth and social stability. In an article posted on the website, Professor Thayer emphasized that Vietnam pursued COVID-19 diplomacy to get necessary vaccines for its people. The country imposed lock-downs in necessary situations. As a result, Vietnam could lift the "Zero COVID" policy and successfully control the Omicron variant.

It can be said that the efforts of the Party and State of Vietnam to ensure that Vietnamese people enjoy human rights, particularly in the context of being heavily affected by the pandemic, are a testament to the consistent policy on ensuring and promoting human rights as the viewpoint of the resolution adopted at the 13th National Party Congress that the people are both the center and the subject.

(to be cont.)

Translated by Mai Huong