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Viet Nam plans launch of City Prosperity Index

HA NOI (VNS), 13 November 2014 — The Ministry of Construction and a UN agency have taken the first steps to establishing a City Prosperity Index for Viet Nam.

This was announced at a workshop held on 12 November 2014 in Ha Noi, which was told that more than 50 per cent of the world's population lives in cities.

Viet Nam, as a developing nation, needed a City Prosperity Index so policymakers could effectively plan and manage its growing cities, said Nguyen Quang, the programme manager of UN-Habitat in Viet Nam.

"It is important to know where we are on the road to prosperity, and what approaches we must take to achieve sustainable development," Quang said.

At the workshop, participants discussed the process of building a City Prosperity Index for Viet Nam. The ministry has been collecting data to start building the index, but has run into problems with funding, and a lack of data collection specialists.

Construction ministry officials voiced concerns about limitations and challenges they encountered while collecting data. Poor information management provided inaccurate data with little credibility.

"The lack of data collection offices and statistics specialists has proven detrimental to the process of gathering data from cities and provinces," said Dam Duc Bien, a representative from the ministry's Planning and Finance Department.

The ministry should provide more funding and training for data collection officials, and step up co-operation with the General Statistics Office of Viet Nam to improve data quality, Bien said.

The workshop introduced the City Profiles of Viet Nam, the country's first collection of information from cities and provinces across the nation. The profiles can be described as an early-stage prototype of how the City Prosperity Index will work. Some of the profile information will be included in the index.

The profiles, created by UN-Habitat, and the Association of Cities of Viet Nam and 78 cities and provinces, include statistics updated in 2011 on population, infrastructure, culture, education and health care.

Many cities have grown at a rate three times faster than what is required. In the process, this has damaged the environment and distorted social equity, said Eduardo Lopez Moreno, the head of research and capacity development for UN- Habitat.

He proposed that Viet Nam develop a CPI built on six factors: Productivity, Quality of Life, Infrastructure, Environmental Sustainability, Governance and Equity and Social Inclusion.

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