These emerging challenges need to be addressed with transparency and full participation of the people affected, the UN human rights expert said.

“Viet Nam’s development over the past 30 years has been truly remarkable, with its economic and political reforms transforming it from one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income country,” said Ms. Elver.

The expert said overall poverty rates had fallen from around 60 per cent in the early 1990s to less than 10 per cent in 2015. Over the same period, a third of Viet Nam’s population was lifted out of food insecurity, an almost unprecedented contribution to the right to food benefiting the people of Vietnam.

Ms. Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food. (Source: euractiv.com)
However, alongside these positive contributions to people’s living conditions, the fast-growing economy and industrialization were causing environmental pollution and concerns about the sustainable conservation of renewable resources.

“Development plans and policies must take into account the true costs on human health, soil and water resources, as well as the long-term impact of environmental degradation on future generations, rather than basing policy only on short-term profitability and economic growth,” Ms. Elver said in a statement following an official visit from Novermber 13th to November 23rd.

The Special Rapporteur said the country had shifted from being a net importer of food to a large-scale exporter, with agricultural production more than tripling in recent decades and record rice production. She urged the country to continue to diversify its agricultural production from rice so as to reflect sustainability considerations, especially given the impacts of climate change.

Viet Nam is among the countries at extreme risk due to climate change–impact and natural disasters, with the risk being especially high along its extensive coastal areas as well as in mountainous regions where ethnic minorities live, often at near subsistence levels.

“Women and girls are among the most vulnerable groups in the face of natural disaster and climate related weather events such as drought, flood and salinity intrusion, with direct impacts on their nutrition. Salinization in river basins and the fertile Mekong Delta region have reached alarming levels,” the expert said.

The Special Rapporteur’s final report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019./.

Khac Kien