It is my privilege to be here with you today representing the United Nations in Viet Nam. We appreciate the opportunity to participate with the Viet Nam Academy of Social Sciences in this event, and I would like to thank Prof Do Hoai Nam and Dr Nguyen Xuan Thang and all those at VASS who have contributed their time, effort and resources towards a better understanding of migration and its links to development and poverty reduction. I have no doubt your extensive research and unwavering support for evidence-based policymaking is of great value to the people of Viet Nam.
Todayâ€™s theme is of importance not only to Viet Nam, but also to many other countries around the world. In fact, ...view middle of the document...
And second, that many migrants are vulnerable and require special attention from policymakers.
Migrantsâ€™ contribution to development
Data indicates that recent internal migration has been significant. Based on the last available national census from 1999 we know that five years before the census, nearly 4.5 million persons changed their place of residence in Viet Nam - of which about 1.6 million moved from rural to urban areas.
More recent data provided by the 2007 National Survey of Population Dynamics show that the migration rate was 7.5 migrants per 1,000 people, more than double the 2005 rate . During the 12 months preceding the survey, 802,000 migrants moved within a region and 631,000 people migrated between regions of the country. Next month the full results of the 2009 Census will provide us with more updated information on internal migration.
But what is the basis for the claim that migrants have been a major contributor to Viet Namâ€™s development? A quick review of the numbers I think could help to answer this question.
Recent internal migration has coincided with rapid economic growth in Viet Nam. There is general agreement that during the last two decades, migration from rural to urban and industrial areas has met much of the demand for labour created by industrial development and foreign investment following the doi moi reforms.
We also know that as a result of economic development over the past decades, Viet Nam has experienced a substantial reduction in poverty Â¬â€“ from 58 per cent in 1993 to 15.9 per cent in 2006 . Migration is clearly one of the cornerstones of Viet Namâ€™s success in poverty reduction, which has been occurring since the early 1990s. In HCMC, for instance, it is estimated that migrants contributed 30 percent to the cityâ€™s GDP .
Research also indicates that portions of the income earned in the urban and industrial areas in Viet Nam tend to be remitted to poorer areas of the country, and this is one of the positive direct effects of peopleâ€™s movement. In Viet Nam, the (rough) estimates for remittances resulting from both internal and international migration in 2007 are as high as 5.5 billion USD , with an increasing proportion coming from internal migrants.
Furthermore, migrants, who are increasingly young and female, tend to be among the best educated and most enterprising in rural areas, and use their savings, skills and experience to set up small- and medium-sized businesses and create jobs in their home communities.
All told, the benefits of migration are multiple: the work of migrants contributes to national and local socio-economic development, which is felt at the individual level by the migrants themselves and their families.
It should be noted, however, that though the importance of economic reasons in the decision to migrate is clear, there are migrants who move for family and education reasons, among others.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Now a bit about the other...