Dispatch

Policy dialogue on Population and Sustainable development in Viet Nam

19 June 2015

Ho Chi Minh city, 17 June 2015 - “There is no need for Viet Nam to continue with the policy on fertility reduction or population control. It is now the time for Viet Nam to shift its population policy’s focus from birth control to more holistic integration of population variables into development planning”, this is the key finding from the Policy dialogue on Population and Sustainable development in Viet Nam co-organised by of Viet Nam’s Fatherland Front (VFF) and UNFPA in Viet Nam held in Ho Chi Minh city on 17 June 2015.

Addressing the dialogue, Dr. Le Ba Trinh, Vice President of the VFF said: “Participants will discuss and share experiences from their local practices on the roles of the VFF, Political and Social organizations, and members of the VFF at all levels in the development and implementation of the population and development policies, as well as in raising awareness and changing behaviors of the society on integrating population variables into development. The participants will also provide suggestions and recommendations on the development and implementation of the population policies with a new approach of shifting from population/family planning to population and sustainable development”.

Viet Nam is undergoing unique demographic changes. Data from national population surveys indicates that fertility rate has consistently declined and reached below replacement level for almost 10 years since 2005. Another prominent feature of Viet Nam’s demographic picture is ageing. While Viet Nam is in a demographic dividend period, the country has officially entered the so-called "ageing phase" since 2011, as a result of declining fertility and mortality rates, and longer longevity and life expectancy. Viet Nam is among the most rapidly ageing countries in the region. These demographic changes require Viet Nam to have a new policy approach to population issues, not narrowly focusing on family planning or health aspects of population issues. Viet Nam is indeed at a crossroad to make a decision on which way will lead to sustainable development.

“The coming population policy and law should respect and protect reproductive rights and reproductive choice. It means that each individual and couple has rights to decide freely and responsibly the number of their children and that they have adequate information and means to do so. This is in line with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and human rights treaties, which Viet Nam committed itself to adhere to”, said Ms. Ritsu Nacken, UNFPA Representative a.i. at the dialogue.

Viet Nam is at an important crossroad in terms of how it strategically plans for its socio-economic development in the coming years as it formulates the next Socio-Economic Development Plan for 2016-2020. UNFPA stands ready to support the country by providing technical assistance and evidence from international experience in relation to population policies.

"We are fully committed to support policy makers to make a right decision for Vietnamese people, a decision which enables all Vietnamese to enjoy their human rights, including sexual and reproductive rights and a right for reproductive choice" concluded Ms. Nacken.