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Feb 26, 2024 / 20:40

Vietnam inspires global sustainable development: UN Coordinator

Building voluntary national reviews based on trustworthy data sources while promoting the engagement of diverse stakeholders is Vietnam’s effort to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Goals.

Vietnam has made remarkable efforts in expediting the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, inspiring other countries on a global scale.

Pauline Tamesis, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, at the 11th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (11th APFSD) held last week in Bangkok on February 22-24. Screenshot 

Pauline Tamesis, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, recapped Vietnam’s journey in accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a speech delivered at the 11th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (11th APFSD) held in Bangkok, Thailand, last week.

Tamesis sheds light on the role that voluntary national reviews (VNR) play in advancing SDGs in Vietnam. To gain invaluable insights into the country’s inspiring contributions to global sustainable development, here are three lessons she shared:

The first is data availability, which is important for accurate reporting on SDGs in the country’s VNR. She attributed the good performance to strong collaboration with the national statistics office, which optimized the use of available statistical and administrative data from ministries and relevant agencies.

She said the Government of Vietnam relied on other data sources, such as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and regional benchmark data, to fill the gaps locally in measuring the SDG progress. Among the tools, the UNESCAP Sustainable Development Goal tracker is a useful tool to visualize the progress of SDGs.

Another lesson is the engagement of diverse stakeholders. “I think this was also one of the key lessons in Vietnam because we understand that the VNR is capable of mobilizing policy and action changes beyond being a tool for monitoring SDG progress, so engaging diverse stakeholders helps not only collect useful input and information for the VNR preparation but catalyze this necessary momentum for whole of society approach to accelerate the SDG,” Tamesis emphasized.

In her presentation at the UN event, Tamesis stressed the importance of taking action, saying that Vietnam was working backward and focusing on what needed to be done, what needed to be accelerated on the SDGs, and working backward from there. For that reason, the VNRs were a very powerful tool to recalibrate strategy and action.

Vietnam focuses on what needs to happen and how to strengthen the means of implementation, so data and financing institutional mechanisms were needed to translate VNR’s findings and recommendations into actions by relevant stakeholders.

“Actually, Vietnam was already formulating an action plan alongside the VNR. So that’s really important and enriched the entire process and the momentum,” Tamesis stated.

 Education is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals that Vietnam prioritizes. Photo: UNICEF 

The SDGs are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The 17 goals are a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future.

To implement the SDGs, less than a year after the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda, Vietnam’s National Action Plan dated in May 2017 was promulgated, demonstrating the Government of Vietnam’s committed efforts to fulfill the UN missions.

The plan seeks to ensure that everyone can realize their potential and uphold their strength in order to equally benefit from development achievements. It makes Vietnam a powerful nation with a prosperous people and a democratic, just, and civilized society. It also aims to protect the environment, advance social justice, manage and use natural resources effectively, and proactively adapt to climate change.

By 2030, Vietnam aims to accomplish 17 SDGs, such as advancing gender equality and poverty reduction, education reform, infrastructure development, industrialization, urban and rural development, food security, and increased social welfare for all age groups.

Along with these, the goals will focus on promoting sustainable consumption and production, developing the sea-based economy, adapting to climate change, protecting forests and promoting sustainable development; preserving biodiversity; strengthening global partnerships for sustainable development; and, above all, fostering peace, democracy, fairness, equality, and facilitating people's access to justice.

Over the past seven years, Vietnam has carried out the National Action Plan on the principle of “leaving no one behind.” According to Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative to the UN, the country has accomplished incredible strides, particularly in poverty alleviation, access to quality education, universal health care, clean water and sanitation, job creation, expanding the reach of the social welfare system, fostering peace and justice, and institutional improvement.

However, much work remains to be done, including addressing global concerns, mitigating climate and environmental risks, meeting international commitments, and striking a balance between development and financial resources, Giang told  the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July 2023.