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  Enviroment Research & Protection

Central Highlands intensifies anti-drought measures

Thanks to great efforts made by the Government, local administrations at all levels to overcome the consequences of prolonged drought, reduce poverty and continue to maintain economic growth rates, many areas in the Central Highlands have since early this year made remarkable progress.

VOV interviewed Mr Nguyen Vi Ha, Deputy Head of the Government Steering Committee in charge of the Central Highlands on economic achievements and measures to be taken in the future to fulfil the socio- economic development targets of 2005-the final year of the first five-year plan in the 21st century.

VOV: Could you give assessments of socio-economic development results of the Central Highlands in the first few months of this year?

Mr Ha: In the first quarter of this year, the Central Highlands continued to make great strides in socio-economic development. Its local GDP soared by 11 percent, earning nearly VND3,000 billion, an increase of 6 percent over the same corresponding period last year.

The region attracted 131 projects with total investment capital of more than VND5,300. All provinces in the region maintained economic growth rates compared to the same period last year, reaching US$150 million. Despite prolonged drought, the winter-spring crop achieved 98 percent of the target set for this year.

VOV: Drought seemingly remains severe in the Central Highlands, what measures have the Government and local administrations taken to help local people overcome difficulties?

Mr Ha: The hot spell is most serious in the Central Highlands since more than 115,000 hectares of crops have been destroyed and as many as 169,000 are lacking water. The Government and local administrations have applied timely and tough measures by spending a major part of its budget on buying rice and gasoline and drilling more wells for people to save crops. With such synchronised measures, losses have been minimised.

VOV: These are temporary measures. What should local administrations and people do to avoid losses in the long run?

Mr Ha: First and foremost, people in drought-prone areas should grow other short-term plants that need less water. In addition, It is imperative to intensify forest protection and reinforce irrigation works and build reservoirs to ensure adequate water supply. What should be done immediately is plant and animal restructuring to cope with the drought situation.

VOV: Thank you very much.

UN Co-ordinator praises Vietnam’s success

in poverty reduction

UN organisations are drawing up plans in the next five years to help Vietnam increase the efficiency of its assistance, co-operation and co-ordination programmes.

In a recent interview granted to VOV, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN resident Co-ordinator Jordan Ryan said UN organisations will focus on improving the quality of growth, increasing local people’s capability of access to social and security services, and enhancing the capacity building for State management agencies.

Mr Ryan said Vietnam will realise the goal of comprehensive development for women, the poor, ethnic minority people and other disadvantaged people in the process of global integration. He said Vietnam should focus on environmental protection, considering it an important part of sustainable development.

Mr Ryan affirmed that UN organisations will help Vietnam improve the quality of education and training and healthcare services so that all Vietnamese people will have access to high-quality education and healthcare services.

He also said UN organisations will also help State management agencies increase their capacity building, as well as encourage local people to get further involved in the policy making process for their own interests.

The UN and other international organisations will work on these plans in different ways to help Vietnam make major breakthroughs in the next five years, Mr Ryan said.

Mr Jordan said UN organisations were satisfied with what Vietnam has done in the past five years, particularly in the hunger and poverty reduction programme and other national target programmes. To realise its targets, UN organisations provided Vietnam with consultations, technical assistance and expertise in healthcare, education, administrative reforms and labour. During the past five years, he said, UN effective assistance has helped Vietnam improve the quality of basic services in people’s lives, and fast-track its international integration. Thanks to US assistance, Vietnam has actively participated in the UN human rights convention and many other international laws, thus increasing its awareness of these laws.

Mr Ryan said fundamental human rights should be absorbed everywhere and in different aspects. The UN Millennium Declaration laid a strong emphasis on the interest of each individual and this has been done well in Vietnam. The country paid more attention to hunger and poverty reduction and as a result the number of poor people dropped significantly.

According to Mr Ryan, Vietnam has created more chances for its citizens to be engaged in the open environment – the issue that the UN and other countries in the world pursue.

Mr Ryan praised Vietnam’s progress in increasing public awareness about the legal system, of which the State safeguards its citizenship. He also praised the important role of the Vietnamese press in society in disseminating Party guidelines and State policies among all sections of people in the country.

Talking about his working experience in Vietnam, Mr Ryan said all UN officials and staff feel that it is a great honour to work in Vietnam – a peaceful and ideal working environment, where people are very optimistic about their bright future. UN organisations have succeeded in linking its assistance programmes to Vietnam’s target programmes. He said they will further co-operate with Vietnam to bring benefits to all localities, instead of a certain locality. He expressed his hope that UN organisations will gain more experience from co-operation programmes with Vietnam.

VOV - (04/05/2005)

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