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  Poverty Alleviation

Western nations acknowledge poverty reduction efforts in Central Highlands

Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland have acknowledged the efforts made by the Vietnamese Government to improve socio- economic development and reduce poverty in the Central Highlands.

The finding made after visits to the Central Highlands provinces of Dak Nong, Dak Lak and Gia Lai by their ambassadors and senior development officers, was contained in a statement delivered to the Consultative Group Meeting for Vietnam in Hanoi on Tuesday.

"The available natural resources show enormous potential for the region," it says. "However, alternative strategies need to be found which enable poor people to become active participants in the economic development rather than remain passive beneficiaries of poverty reduction programmes."

The statement also recognises the efforts of local authorities to implement policies in favour of ethnic minority people, including the preferential treatment for university entrance.

The four countries pledged that they would further support Vietnam?s efforts to reduce poverty and strengthen their co-operation with the Vietnam Government.

The statement quoted representatives of the Catholic and Protestant churches in the highlands as saying that Vietnam?s new legal framework for religion had a positive influence on the number of followers and provided the possibility of constructing and renovating places of worship. It has also enabled the training of priests, pastors and religious followers.

VOV - (08/12/2005)

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