Speech on the Impact of the Global Economic Slowdown on Poverty and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific

Speech by Nguyen Sinh Hung, Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, at the opening ceremony of the high-level meeting on The Impact of the Global Economic Slowdown on Poverty and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Distinguished delegates and friends!

On behalf of the Government of Vietnam, I would like to express pur warmest welcome to the Ministers for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication from the Asia-Pacific countries, the President of the Asian Development Bank, the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN and the senior officials from the international organisations, as well as all the delegates from the Asia-Pacific countries present in the Regional High-Level Meeting on The Impact of the Global Economic Slowdown on Poverty and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.

We all know that the current fight against the global economic slowdown, despite the recent positive developments, is still going on complicatedly, and new challenges are emerging. In addition to that, the negative impacts of the global climate change, disease outbreaks are materialising and causing various difficulties to the socio-economic life, especially in the rural areas. The increasing unemployment and underemployment rate, the widespread recurrence of poverty have made a deep influence on the social security, people's life, the stability of each country and the whole region and have created a hurdle for the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals. In order to overcome these challenges in regional and global nature, the unity and cooperation, and joint efforts of the governments and the international organisations are the critical factors. I therefore welcome and highly appreciate the outcomes of the sixth ASEAN Ministers for Rural Development and Poverty Eradication Meeting held in Hanoi in May, 2009, as well as the initiative to organize this important meeting.

Distinguished delegates and friends!

To confront with the economic slowdown, many countries have launched the so-call "demand-stimulation package" at different scales to prevent the economic slowdown and ensure the goals of social security. Despite some certain initial successes such as the economic growth has started to recover, there are still potential threats of a global economic crisis, and also the needs for post-crisis poverty eradication and sustainable development facing the countries and the whole region. Several issues waiting to be dealt with by the countries and the whole region, like employment generation, creating sustainable sources of finance for healthcare, education, rural infrastructure (electricity, road access, schools and health clinics, water and sanitation) and a sustainable social welfare system in ordert to address the challenges in the future.

Distinguished delegates and friends!

For Vietnam - a country with over 70% of the population living in the rural areas and working on the farms, rural development and poverty eradication is one of the pillars in our sustainable growth and development strategy. For many years, we have issued and implemented a lot of policies, programmes and projects targeting rural development and providing assistance to the difficult regions and poor households.

Like other countries in the region, Vietnam has gone through the impacts of the global economic slowdown and is facing a lot of difficulties and challenges. Nonetheless, with a high-spirited determination, the Government and the people of Vietnam have implemented a hollistic and rational package and has stabilised the macro-economic situation and ensured the credit system safety, controlled the inflation and maintained the economic growth rate at 6.2% in 2008 and 4% in the first 6 months of 2009, ensured the social security and the people's livelihoods, the political-social situation has always been stable and it is estimated that the growth rate of 2009 will be around 5%, and will increase higher in the following years. The Government of Vietnam is also implementing the fundamental solutions to foster sustainable development in the coming years. We believe that Vietnam will remain a dynamic economy and a reliable destination of the investors.

On this occasion, on behalf of the Government and people of Viet Nam, I would like to sincerely thank and believe in your continued precious support and cooperation from countries in the region as well as international organizations to the cause of socio-economic development, particularly in rural development and poverty eradication.

Distinguished delegates and friends!

I believe that with the joint efforts and collaboration in the region and of every country, through this forum, the delegates can focus on discussing and coming up with practical solutions to deal with the negative impacts of the global economic crisis which is affecting the achievements of rural development and poverty eradication in each country and the whole region. The international economic recovery will certainly provide good conditions to better serve our people's interests. However, we need to recognize the practical challenge of widening the gap between the rich and the poor, which can cause social unstability. We need to catch the opportunities whilst well aware of the challenges in order to make strong commitments on proper investment and approaches to realize the set objectives on rural development and poverty eradication, well responding to the desire of rural communities and people. Added, we also need to strengthen and expand the cooperation to mobilize more resources narrow down the development gaps, stablize the society and ensure sustainable development for individual countries as well as the region as a whole.

I believe that the Regional High level Meeting on "The Impact of the Global Economic Slowdown on Poverty and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific" will be successfully concluded.

Wishing you all good health and happiness.

Thank you.