Speech of Ms. Ritsu Nacken, UNFPA Deputy Representative in Viet Nam

22 June 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning to you all,

I am honored to be here today on behalf of the UNFPA, and I very much value and greatly appreciate the Center for the Central Youth of the Youth Union in organizing this important training on how to mobilize youth participation to the development of the youth related policies and programmes. I would also like to thank our colleagues from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health for joining us today, as well as commend their efforts to improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health in Viet Nam and to promote young people's participation in the development and implementation of youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health (SRH) policies and programmes.


Young people have been playing an important role in Viet Nam’s growth and they represent an increasingly large proportion of the labour force. The issues related to their health and well-being should be therefore  priorities for Viet Nam’s future productivity and prospects for development.

Distinguished guests,

One of Viet Nam’s most important resources is their young people: committed, energetic, creative, and healthy young men and women. These young people are the key to social, political, environmental and economic development. Investing in young people, in their health, education, employment, and their participation in policy development processes, is essential for sustainable and equitable development of the country.

As you must know, Viet Nam was very successful in meeting most of the Millennium Development Goals ahead of the 2015 deadline. Yet challenges still remain, also relating to young people. For instance, one third of Vietnamese young people continue to face barriers when accessing reproductive health information and services. Young people also have difficulties in accessing education they want, as well as finding suitable employment or adequate support for creating their own jobs after they graduate schools. As part of the global efforts to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals, or the Agenda 2030, these remaining challenges must be addressed under the principle of “leave no one behind”.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In this context, I would like to highlight the following three messages:

First, the participation of young people in designing and analyzing the policies that affect them is one way to ensure that the policies and services respond to their actual needs. Evidence shows that working in partnership with young people is an essential component of any successful youth related programmes. Youth participation in policy making is critical, not only because it enhances young people’s capacity and engagement, but because it leads to better decisions and outcomes.

Second, it is essential not to consider young people as a homogeneous group. We need to ensure that young people from all parts of the society, including those who are in a vulnerable situation, have an equal opportunity to participate in policy dialogue and in the implementation of programmes that affect their lives.

Last but not the least, I recommend the YU and MOHA to continue playing a leading role in promoting youth participation and engaging young people in policy discussion on the issues that affect young people’s lives. Both organizations have done a lot to make good progress in youth participation, but we believe that more can be done. UNFPA stands ready to support you in your continuous efforts.   

Distinguished guests,

Let me conclude with a quote from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "Let us acknowledge and celebrate what youth can do to build a safer, more just world. Let us strengthen our efforts to include young people in policies, programmes and decision-making processes that benefit their futures and ours.”

Thank you very much for your attention and participation. I wish you all good health, happiness and success.