The latest figures put the population of Viet Nam at nearly 85 million and, although population growth has slowed, the figure will likely remain high for the next two decades. Viet Nam has a young population. Mean age is below 30 and this group makes up a large portion of the population. This has direct implications for growth planning.
UNFPA’s main government counterparts are the Ministry of Health, the General Statistics Office (GSO), the National Assembly, and the Vietnam Communist Party. The fundamental components of UNFPA’s work in population and development are contained in CP7. The three key outputs are:
- Strengthened capacity of central institutions to review and formulate population and reproductive health policies that promote the ICPD Programme of Action, the MDGs, and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women and CEDAW.
- Strengthened capacity of central institutions and selected provinces in providing and utilising sex and age disaggregated data and information on population, reproductive health, family planning and gender.
- Strengthened capacity of central institutions and selected provinces in managing, coordinating and implementing gender-responsive programmes and policies on population, reproductive health and family planning
Emerging issues in Population and Development
Normal sex ratio at birth is 105 boys to 100 girls, however, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO), in 2006 the sex ratio at birth in Viet Nam was 110 to 100. And according to MOH data, it rose further, to 111 to 100 in 2007. The data also shows that 30 of Viet Nam’s 64 provinces have this imbalance.
The imbalance is due mainly to four factors: wide availability of abortion, traditional preference for sons, pressure from the two-child policy and availability of ultrasound technology to determine the sex of the foetus. For more information, please see Population Growth in Viet Nam: What the Data from 2006 Tell us – With a Focus on the ‘Sex Ratio at Birth’ (2007) .
Migration is another emerging issue and will similarly influence policy. With urbanization, many people are opting for the higher wages and greater opportunities in the city, and this naturally changes the population dynamic. In the South, migrants are going to industrial Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces, for example. A similar trend is occurring in the North, with migrants travelling to Hanoi. This internal or ‘spontaneous’ migration tends to be higher among young women and the influx of people into the cities puts pressure on a system of services not designed to handle the situation. Current registration policy, for example, does not accord these migrants full access to health and education, effectively creating discrimination. UNFPA has provided support by facilitating policy advocacy workshops for senior government officials on migration issues, the effects of current policies on the implementation of migrants’ rights and the linkages between migration and poverty reduction. Click here for more information on UNFPA’s work on reproductive health for internal migrants.
Population census is another area of UNFPA worldwide support. UNFPA supported Viet Nam in the 1989 and 1999 censuses, and we will continue to support the next one in 2009. The goal is to help ensure the quality of data collection for planning and development.
In 2007, with the close support of UNFPA, GSO conducted the last of three pre-tests for the Population and Housing Census 2009. This census is at the core of Viet Nam data collection and will provide vital information for development strategy.
Technical assistance to the government on policy for 2010-2020
Two new indicators:
Based on these two indicators, the population is expected to age. Even though total fertility rate (TFR) has dropped, the population of Viet Nam will continue to increase for 50 years, ultimately reaching 120 million.
Development of a national strategy for contraceptive commodity security for 2006-2010
Contraception, especially modern methods, is a major contributor to reductions in the fertility rate. UNFPA supports the development of policy in Viet Nam on contraceptive security. For more information, please see our section on contraceptive commodity security.
Another major area for UNFPA is in advocating to the government for policy dialog on pressing population issues. The goal is to ensure appropriate implementation of population policy, and UNFPA advocates an informed approach emphasising the reproductive rights of the individual.
“Free individual choice on the size of one’s family is the most practicable option for slowing population growth.” -from the UNFPA factsheet, Family Planning and the Environment: Stabilising Population Would Help Sustain the Planet
Building management capacity and coordinating programmes
One major output of CP7 is strengthened capacity of central institutions to review and formulate population and reproductive health policies that promote the ICPD Programme of Action , the MDGs and the Platform of Action for the Fourth World Conference on Women and CEDAW . This includes support for the General Office for Population and Family Planning (formerly the Viet Nam Commission for Population Family and Children - VCPFC) to sub-contract independent institutions to research emerging issues, to evaluate implementation of reproductive health strategy, and for the Ministry of Health to develop a national strategy for contraceptive security, among others. This includes advocacy workshops, forums and trainings as well as technical support on surveys in the seven focus provinces of the country programme.
UNFPA will also work closely with the Government Aid Coordinating Agency (GACA) in CP7 to ensure that donor support is efficiently coordinated and that funds are efficiently channelled, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment will serve a the focal point for assistance.