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Ensuring human security on the spirit of the 13th National Party Congress

(PTOJ) - Throughout the process of leading the Vietnamese revolution, the Communist Party of Vietnam has always identified the people as their center and the most important resource to achieve the goal of the development. The 13th National Party Congress placed the people and human security at the center of all its activities, with ensuring human security as the foundation for the socio-political stability and development for a prosperous country.

Throughout the process of leading the Vietnamese revolution, the Communist Party of Vietnam has always identified the people as their center and the most important resource to achieve the goal of the development - Photo: quocphongthudo.vn

1. The concept of human security

The concept of “human security” has appeared since the 90s of the twentieth century, and it has had an important position as one of the four main areas of security; along with national security, public security and non-traditional security(1). The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) included the phrase “human security” for the first time in its Human Development Report in 1994. The report defined human security as “security against chronic threats such as famine, disease and oppression; protection against sudden and damaging disruptions in everyday life, whether at work, at home or in communities”. The report also pointed out that human security is formed from seven basic components, including: (i) economic security; (ii) food security; (iii) health security; (iv) environmental security; (v) personal security; (vi) community security; and (vii) political security.

The seven above-mentioned components represent quite comprehensively all aspects of human security. In fact, most of the direct threats to the existence and sustainable development of individuals are found in these areas. This multi-dimensional approach allows a systematic view and assessment of the nature and extent of the threats, thereby allowing for the development an effective response to these threats to security and sustainable development of the humanity. Up to now, the concept of the above-mentioned human security has been accepted by many international and national organizations, gradually becoming an effective tool contributing to protection of life, dignity and sustainability development of humanity.

In Vietnam, the term “human security” was first mentioned and recorded in the Documents of the 12th National Party Congress. This Congress outlined six key tasks for the country, including “strengthening the management of social development, ensuring social security and human security”(2). The 13th National Party Congress predicted that the security and development situation in Vietnam would face challenges in many aspects and fields: “Global issues, such as protection of peace, human security, natural disasters, pandemics, social security and non-traditional security, particularly cyber security, climate change, rising sea-levels, environmental pollution, etc., would continue to complicate development”(3). Further affirming our consistent opinion on the connection between economic development and social development, human development and human security, the Development orientation for the period 2021-2030 emphasized: “Managing the social development effectively and strictly ensuring social security and human security”; “Maintaining political security, ensuring social order and safety, human security, economic security, cyber security, developing an orderly and disciplined society”(4).

Thus, the Party’s consistent opinion that identifies the people as the creative subject of social development; the management of the social development is performed to achieve human happiness and to serve the people. In the fourth key task, the 13th National Party Congress determined to “properly perform social policies, ensuring social security and human security, creating drastic changes in social development management”(5). The 13th National Party Congress set a high priority for social goals and human development goals, for the people and by the people, putting the people at the center of development. This is a vivid expression of our new theoretical thinking about socialism and the path to socialism in accordance with the historical process of mankind and the reality of Vietnam’s revolution.

2. Challenges to ensuring human security in Vietnam today

Vietnam’s process of extensive international integration creates many opportunities but also many risks and challenges impacting on the development of the country and the safety of the people. The 13th National Party Congress addressed this concern:

“The management of social development and the solving numerous of social issues have not been given proper attention, have not been synchronously and closely combined with the economic and cultural development; the institutions of social management still have many shortages; the increase in crime, evils, negativity, contradictions, social conflicts, etc. in some places has been not solved, causing frustration in public opinion. The poverty reduction is done but without sustainability, without effective solutions to solve the problem of the rich-poor divide and without a way to control and solve the social conflicts it has caused with the increasing income inequality. The quality of health services, particularly in remote and isolated areas and places where ethnic-minority people live still faces many difficulties and shortcomings. The policies on salary, income, social insurance, health insurance and social welfare are still limited; the people’s benefits from the country’s development achievements are not harmonized”(6). The challenges in ensuring human security in Vietnam are presented in some specific aspects as follows:

- Economic security is often understood as the assurance of an individual’s stable income against threats. Over the years, Vietnam has had many policies to ensure the basic income of people. The 13th National Party Congress commented: “In the last year of the term, the Covid-19 pandemic, along with natural disasters, severe storms and floods continuously occurred in the central provinces, which had a heavy impact on all aspects of our economic-social life - However, Vietnam’s average GDP growth rate in the 2016-2020 period is still about 6%/year (2.91% in 2020, which was one of the highest growth rates in the world). Our scale of economy and per capita income reached 2,779 USD”(7). Accordingly, people’s living standards have been gradually raised. By 2021, the total number of poor households was 609,049 households, accounting for 2.23%; the total number of near-poor households was 850,202, accounting for 3.11%(8). Vietnam’s achievements in hunger eradication and poverty reduction via the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals have been recognized by the United Nations and the international community.

However, our economy still has many limitations and weaknesses. The productivity, quality, efficiency and competitiveness of the economy are not high(9). Our policies on salary are reformed without promptness; the wages of the majority of cadres, civil servants and employees are low; The minimum base salary does not guarantee the minimum living standard. The percentage of employees working in temporary jobs is still high. The rate of workers in the informal sector is still high, and there is a lack of sanctions to protect the legitimate interests of workers in this sector. The life of a percentqage of the people still faces many difficulties, particularly the ethnic minority communities and areas with special difficulties. In particular, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased unemployment and job losses. In the third quarter of 2021 alone, more than 28.2 million people aged 15 and over were negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; in which, 4.7 million people lost their jobs (accounting for 16.5%); 14.7 million people had to temporarily stop/suspend their production and business (accounting for 51.1%); 12 million people had their working hours cut or were forced to take time off work, or alternative leave (accounting for 42.7%) and 18.9 million workers had their income reduced (accounting for 67.2%)(10). Obviously, the Covid-19 epidemic crisis has posed new challenges in the implementation of the country’s target for sustainable jobs.

- Food security can be understood as the amount of food available to meet all needs at any place and at any time, and the conditions and ability of the person to whom such food is be provided without any difficulty. Up to now, Vietnam’s Government has put great importance in ensuring food security. Implementing Conclusion No.53-KL/TW dated August 5th, 2009 of the Politburo on the National Food Security Project until 2020 and Resolution No. 63/NQ-CP dated December 23rd, 2009 of the Government on ensuring national food security, Vietnam has achieved great and comprehensive achievements and is a sustainable country with a higher level of food security than many other countries at the same level of development in Asia.

However, the impacts by climate change continue to threaten our domestic food production. Vietnam ranks at the top in exporting agricultural products, but our food security ranks only 57/113 countries(11). People in remote and extremely difficult to reach areas face difficulties in accessing food sources, and their nutrient provision for a healthy life is not guaranteed.

- Health (medical) security is often defined as the assurance of the people’s opportunities to access the health system and health care. In recent years, Vietnam has had many policies and solutions to improve the quality and conditions of its medical care system for the people. The system of preventive medicine and the grassroots medical network continue to be improved and developed. Step by step, the overload of upper-level hospitals is being solved, strengthening the implementation of solutions to improve the quality of medical examination and treatment; developing and replicating the family doctor model. Information technologies are widely applied to medical examination and treatment as well as people’s health care, particularly operating platforms to support direct and remote medical examination and treatment consultation. By the end of December 31st, 2021, the number of people having health insurance was more than 88.8 million, an increase of 0.9% compared to that in 2020, reaching a coverage rate of 91.01% of the population(12).

In addition to the above-mentioned results, the quality of medical examination and treatment services, as well as the accessibility to basic health services have large disparities between levels and between regions. Infrastructure and medical equipment in some places are not sufficiently provided or do not meet the correct standards. The management of medicines is performed improperly, particularly at the grassroots level. The activities to solve hospital overload is performed at a slow-pace, particularly at the grassroots level. Preventive health work is still inadequate. State management of private healthcare, medicines, food hygiene and safety shows many weakness.

- Environmental security is often conceived as access to hygienic water, clean air and undisturbed land; at the same time, it includes the safety of people from natural disasters and environmental incidents. In recent years, the provision of clean water to rural areas has received great attention from the State, but the rate of access to clean water for rural people is still low. By the end of 2020, the proportion of rural people using hygienic water was about 57 million people (88.5%), of which the rate of using clean water meeting the standards of QCVN 02: 2009/BYT issued by Ministry of Health was about 33 million people (51.7%) including 41.6% which was water provided by the centralized water supply works and 10% was water by provided household-scale water supply systems(13).

Vietnam is one of the countries facing dramatic impacts by climate change. In recent years, the Government has focused on improving its capacity of forecasting and warning of natural disasters in order to actively contribute to the prevention, control and mitigation of damage caused by natural disasters, climate change; implementing Paris Agreement Implementation Plan on climate change and the National Plan for Response to Climate Change. However, the quality of the forecasts, the resources and the capacity for disaster prevention and response to climate change have not met the requirements. The flooding situation in some big cities is becoming more and more complicated; phenomena such as floods, storms, flash floods, droughts, etc., occur in a row across the country every year, causing heavy damage to people’s lives and infrastructure. Recently, landslides have occurred at Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant (Thua Thien Hue), Huong Hoa District (Quang Tri), Tra Leng Commune - Nam Tra My District and Phuoc Loc Commune - Phuoc Son District (Quang Nam Province), taking the lives of dozens of people, officials and soldiers.

- Personal security is often understood as the protection of the safety of individuals from acts of physical and mental violence. At present, people’s rights, freedoms, security, and privacy are fully recognized in Chapter 2 - 2013 Constitution, Penal Code, Civil Code and many other specialized laws. There is an important legal basis for protecting people and ensuring their safety from threats or infringements on human security.

In fact, the situation of security as well as social order and safety in some areas is still complicated. The situation of crime and social evils is still complicated, particularly murder crimes, crimes of property infringement, human trafficking, drug crimes, high-tech crimes, etc. In particular, school violence and domestic violence have increased and become a pressing issue in public opinion. During the times of social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of calls reporting domestic violence increased abnormally, in which women and children were the main victims of violence.

- Community security implies social order and the safety of communities from threats or social conflicts, as well as the opportunity to develop the core values of the community. In fact, public security can be impacted by many different threats; particularly, negative acts (violation the law) by individuals or legal entities (organizations) with new methods and tricks, causing adverse impact on the social community. Recognizing these threats, the 13th National Party Congress has presented an orientation on “Consolidating the great national unity block based on the people, properly performing the work of mobilizing the people to create a foundation for developing a “people-based posture” associated with the all-people national defense posture and the people’s security posture”, “harmoniously solving ethnic-religious issues, pressing social issues, avoiding “hot spots”“, “Promptly fighting and effectively suppressing all kinds of crimes, particularly organized and transnational crimes, surpressing criminals using high-levels of technology, drugs, armed criminal gangs, etc.”(14).

Along with the development of socio-economic life, the number of social conflicts shows tendencies to increase in some regions of the country in several fields, showing that the nature of social conflicts is also more complex. Typically, conflicts and disputes related to land, conflicts between resident communities with companies and businesses who’s work has a harmful impact on the environment; conflicts within the family between husband and wife, between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, etc. These conflicts create insecurity in community life.

- Political security is understood in the sense that people should live in a socio-political environment where dignity and human rights are respected, guaranteed and protected. In other words, political security is associated with the guarantee of respect for basic human factors; at the same time, improving the accountability of state agencies and civil servants.

In the recent period, on the basis of the legal framework to promote good citizenship, the Government has firmly grasped that public agencies shall comply with the need to be public and transparent in their administration and provision of public services; at the same time, developing a legal mechanism to effectively ensure people interact with state agencies through channels to access accurate and timely information.

The 13th National Party Congress continued to affirm: the promotion of democracy under the motto “People know, people discuss, people do, people monitor, people supervise, people take the benefit”(15). This is not only a conclusion from the practice of democracy, but also a new step in the awareness of people’s right of control over the activities of public authorities.

However, some localities still have social conflicts at some point in certain times, such as conflicts at BOT toll stations, and conflicts in the land sector. Yet the practice of democracy is sometimes complicated in association withe discipline still shows many shortcomings; “The people’s right to mastery has at times been violated; resulting in the presentation of formal democracy without actual results”(16).

3. Some solutions to contribute to ensuring human security in Vietnam in the coming time

First, improving the awareness of human security among cadres, civil servants and the people

Being fully and properly provided with knowledge about human security plays an extremely important role in the international and domestic context where there are many challenges to ensuring human security. With a knowledge based system and an approach based on human security, the process of policy making and law enforcement by public actors shall be performed in more comprehensive, complete and profound manner; allowing for the harmonious treatment of human development and national development, between personal security, community security and national security. For citizens, a thorough understanding of human security will help limit or avoid being enticed by the guise of taking advantage of “democracy”, “human rights”; while at the same time, they can protect themselves or ask public authorities to protect them in case their legitimate rights and interests are violated.

Second, ensuring a rapid and sustainable development of the economy

Human security shall be optimally guaranteed based on a stable, high-quality, productive and efficient economy, associated with cultural development and social justice. To realize this, we shall continue to effectively implement three breakthroughs in the socio-economic development strategy, strongly renewing the economic growth model based on productivity, scientific and technological progress, economical and effective use of resources; enhancing industrialization, modernization, and new rural construction, in which priority is given to the resources for infrastructure development in mountainous, deep-lying and remote areas; promoting national digital transformation, developing a digital economy based on science and technology. Socio-economic development strategies and policies are not only performed for promoting economic growth, but also to ensure that the distribution of economic growth happens in a way that is fair, harmonizing benefits and creating great consensus in society.

Third, focusing on hunger eradication and sustainable poverty reduction, creating jobs for the people and improving people’s quality of life

The renovation and development of the country is always done with the goal that people should have a prosperous, free and happy life. The country’s development aspiration places a high priority on the target of comprehensive human development, putting the people at the center of development. Based on this thinking, national policies need to harmonize economic, political, social and human development; further taking care of social welfare, creating jobs, eliminating hunger and reducing poverty, thereby improving the condition and quality of people’s lives. In addition, we shall focus on hitting the target of completing the programs for sustainable development for the people ahead of schedule, ensuring the quality of life; creating the necessary conditions and supporting the people, particularly vulnerable groups, in gaining equal access to resources and basic social services; at the same time, synchronously and effectively implementing solutions for sustainable poverty reduction, particularly for ethnic minority groups as well as for populations in remote and isolated areas.

Fourth, improving the system of social security policies, particularly insurance policies

In Vietnam today, the social security policy and system play a crucial role in people’s social life, particularly the policies of social insurance, health insurance and unemployment insurance. The insurance system, led by the State, creates a multi-level safety system for all members and social groups, particularly for vulnerable people facing decline or loss of sources of income, risks, tribulations, sicknesses, diseases, etc. However, the insurance policy system also showes many limitations and shortcomings; particularly the coverage of the insurance system is not high enough, and the target audience is still too narrow. To reach the goal of a sustainable insurance system and the timely adaptation to the trend of an aging population, the unpredictable developments of natural disasters and pandemics in the future, it is necessary to accelerate the rate of social insurance coverage and the roadmap of implementing universal health insurance, aiming to ensure that all people are entitled to medical examination and treatment by health insurance. In addition, the reform of the system of management and supervision of revenue - expenditure and investment activities of the social insurance fund shall be promoted in order to ensure the sustainability of the system and avoid the risk of insurance fund failure.

Thus, during the process of leading the Vietnamese revolution, the Party has paid special attention to human security and comprehensive human development. The 13th National Party Congress continued to affirm that the human factor is the center of development and ensuring human security is a goal for which to strive and a driving force for realizing socio-political stability and developing a powerful and prosperous country. In order to “effectively and strictly manage social development”, it is necessary to fully grasp the orientation of our Party on ensuring human security to develop a system of comprehensive and synchronous solutions on the basis of unified theoretical and practical foundation.

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Received: 28th April 2022; Revised: 20th September 2022; Approved for publication: 26th September 2022.

 

Endnotes:

(1) Dang Xuan Thanh, Dao Thi Minh Huong: Ensuring human security in Vietnam in the context of globalization and international integration, Social Science Publishing House, Hanoi, 2016, p.32.

(2) TCPV: Document of the 12th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2016, p.219.

(3), (4), (5) (6), (7), (9), (14), (15), (16) The CPV: Documents of the 13th National Party Congress, t.I, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, p.106-107, 116-117, 202, 85-86, 60-61, 80, 281, 173, 89.

(8) Decision No. 125/QD-LDTBXH dated February 22nd, 2022 announcing the review results of poor households and near-poor households in 2021 in accordance with the multi-dimensional poverty line applied for the period 2016-2020.

(10) General Statistics Office - Ministry of Planning and Investment: Report on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the labour and employment situation in the third quarter of 2021.

(11) https://thesaigontimes.vn/an-ninh-luong-thuc-khong-phai-chi-la-so-luong-lua-gao/, accessed March 8th, 2022.

(12) https://baohiemxahoi.gov.vn/tintuc/Pages/hoat-dong-he-thong-bao-hiem-xa-hoi.aspx?, accessed March 8th, 2022.

(13) https://laodongthudo.vn/den-bao-gio-100-nguoi-dan-nong-thon-duoc-dung-nuoc-sach-128935.html, accessed March 8th, 2022.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. NGUYEN VAN LY

DR. VO CONG KHOI

The Academy of Politics Region III

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