Vietnam Minister highlights need for multidimensional approach to poverty

Vietnam’s Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, has highlighted the need to move from a unidimensional to a multidimensional approach to poverty at a forum in Hanoi.

The forum, entitled “Poverty Reduction and Way Forward”, was organised by the Ministry and the United Nations, in collaboration with the Vietnam Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the Embassy of Ireland. The theme was ‘Working together towards a world without discrimination: Building on the experience and knowledge of people in extreme poverty’.

An article about the forum published by the online newspaper Talk Vietnam states that in the past two decades, Vietnam has reduced its poverty rate from 58.1 percent (in 1993) to less than 10 percent. However, the country is facing challenges in sustaining the achieved results, it says; the risk of falling back to poverty is high, and pockets of poverty and sub-national disparities still persist. Poverty, including extreme poverty, remains prevalent among ethnic minority groups and in ethnic minority-populated areas.

According to the article, the Minister said that in order to achieve sustainable poverty reduction goals from now to 2020, Vietnam should continue to give priority resources to the poorest areas, particularly in ethnic minority-populated areas. The construction and issue of new support policies are focused on sustainable poverty reduction, she added.

The Minister also highlighted the need to transfer from a unidimensional to a multidimensional approach to poverty. “Vietnam will be a pioneer of these recommendations. The Government of Vietnam has assigned the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs to collaborate with relevant ministries and agencies to study the transfer plan and submit it to the Prime Minister for approval and application after 2015,” she said.

Earlier this year, Vietnam’s Vice-Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Nguyen Trong Dam, set out a timetable for establishing a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to be included in Vietnam’s 2015-2020 National Plan.

Vietnam is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN), which connects policymakers in over 25 governments and insitutions who are exploring or implementing multidimensional poverty measures. In September, policymakers from Brazil and Mexico, who are also members of the MPPN, shared insights with their counterparts in Vietnam at a seminar in Hanoi.

You can read the Talk Vietnam article here and read more about the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network here.