Human rights or human development is a central issue in the development process in Vietnam.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Country Representative in Vietnam, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, highly appreciated Vietnam for its people-centered development policy, prioritizing human development and promoting equity in its development strategies and socio-economic development plans.
Numbers could talk
Human rights or human development is a central issue in the development process in Vietnam. This has been demonstrated through the Global Human Development Report 2020, which was released on December 16 in Hanoi.
According to the report, Vietnam's 2019 human development index (HDI) is 0.704. With this result, Vietnam for the first time entered the group of countries with high Human Development Index in the world (117th out of 189 countries and territories). The UNDP’s report also shows that from 1990 to 2019, Vietnam's HDI increased by nearly 46%, among the countries with the highest HDI growth rates in the world.
Notably, Vietnam's human development progress has been achieved with moderate and stable inequality. Vietnam's decrease in the HDI due to inequality in 2019 is 16.5%, the decrease in income due to inequality is 19.1% and the GINI coefficient (GINI index) is at 35.7, the lowest in East Asia and the Pacific.
In terms of quality of human development, Vietnam performs well in indicators of health, education, employment and rural development. Vietnam is among the first of three groups in terms of years of not living well in percentage of life expectancy (11.7%) and number of hospital beds (32 beds per 100,000 people). All primary school teachers are trained, rural electrification reaches 100% of the population, and unemployment is low.
The Global Human Development Report 2020 also shows that Vietnam has been well implementing gender equality. With a gender development index (GDI) of 0.997, Vietnam ranks 65th out of 162 countries and is among the top group of 5 groups in the world. In particular, the proportion of women in parliament of Vietnam is in the highest group among the three groups in the world.
UNDP Country Representative in Vietnam, Caitlin Wiesen, said that Vietnam’s high Human Development is a remarkable achievement, which creates opportunities for better and faster development in the coming period.
The country is at an important time in developing the Socio-Economic Development Strategy for the next period. So the plans made at this point of time will decide whether Vietnam will continue to grow at a low rate of inequality, and at the same time whether Vietnam can develop but reduce the pressure on the planet and enhancing human and environmental harmony or not.
HDI reflects the development of a country
The Human Development Index was first introduced by the United Nations in 1990 and it is considered as an index to assess the level of development of a country or territory.
The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone. The HDI can also be used to question national policy choices, asking how two countries with the same level of GNI per capita can end up with different human development outcomes. These contrasts can stimulate debate about government policy priorities.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living. The HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices for each of the three dimensions.
The health dimension is assessed by life expectancy at birth, the education dimension is measured by mean of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more and expected years of schooling for children of school entering age. The standard of living dimension is measured by gross national income per capita. The HDI uses the logarithm of income, to reflect the diminishing importance of income with increasing GNI. The scores for the three HDI dimension indices are then aggregated into a composite index using geometric mean.
The HDI simplifies and captures only part of what human development entails. It does not reflect on inequalities, poverty, human security, empowerment, etc.
Taking examples of Vietnam's efforts to ensure human rights for all social subjects, Ms. Caitlin Wiesen highly appreciated that Vietnam has a clear and consistent mechanism in implementing recommendations under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, or the country’s ratification of the UN conventions on human rights, including the 2014 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Experts said that Vietnam’s participation in 7 out of 9 international treaties on basic human rights is an important milestone. Recently, the changes in the Penal Code, Civil Law and many other laws of Vietnam are also great strides in ensuring human rights.
In a continuous journey, the Government of Vietnam has been proactive, making efforts to implement a series of measures and amending many laws, which has helped Vietnam perform well indexes on education, health, employment, rural development issues.
Vietnam is recognized as one of the world's most successful models in poverty alleviation, as evidenced by the fact that Vietnam has reduced the poverty rate by more than half in just a decade. Vietnam’s model has been adopted by many countries.
In Vietnam today, the official press force is very large. Vietnamese people have accessed to information and communication systems and in fact the internet usage in Vietnam is very high, up to 70% of the population. The development of the internet in Vietnam is not only for study, information inquiry, knowledge expansion, but also the realization of human rights. This can be seen through the implementation of civil rights, or the right to participate in contributing opinions to draft policies and laws, and giving comments to the documents of the Party Congress.
These vivid achievements are the basis for the continuous improvement of the human development index in Vietnam.