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Building New Exemplary Countryside: Effective and Sustainable

Currently, many localities have completed their new countryside construction programs and continued to upgrade their new countryside construction criteria. To apply advanced criteria for certified communes, the Government and central agencies have requested local authorities to focus on program quality.

Accordingly, to effectively build sustainable rural areas, localities must construct model residential areas and gardens; carry out the One Commune One Product (OCOP) Program; apply science and technology to new countryside construction, and associate rural tourism with new countryside construction.

Outstanding success

After more than eight years of enforcing the Party’s resolution on agriculture, farmers and rural areas, the National Target Program for New Countryside Construction has dramatically changed many rural areas, making them more spacious, greener, cleaner and more beautiful. Essential infrastructure for transportation, irrigation, culture, health and education are invested, constructed and upgraded. Agricultural production has been further developed for higher economic performance and income. Poverty rates have declined rapidly, with the material and spiritual life of rural people improving gradually. The grassroots political system has been further reinforced. The role of farmers has been enhanced.
Currently, 3,787 communes (42.4% of the total) have been recognized to meet new countryside standards. On average, a commune achieved 14.33 criteria. 61 district-level units in 31 centrally governed provinces and cities have been recognized to meet/fulfill new countryside construction standards by the Prime Minister. Particularly, Dong Nai is the first province in the country to have all communes certified to meet new countryside standards. Furthermore, in 2018, average rural annual income is VND34 - 35 million. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also stated that, according to the current progress, about 50% of communes in the country are expected to achieve new countryside standards by the end of 2019, meaning that we will complete this target one year ahead of schedule set by the National Assembly.

The new countryside construction program has helped 99.4% of communes with automobile-capable roads to communal administrative centers, all communes, 97.8% of villages and 99.2% of rural households with access to electricity; 99.7% of communes with primary schools and kindergartens; 99.5% of communes with clinics; 60.8% of communes with markets; and 58.6% of communes with cultural houses. 88.5% of rural population have access to clean water. Healthcare and education systems have been further developed. Many cultural, sporting events have been further promoted. The social order in rural areas has been maintained.

To raise the quality of new countryside construction, the Prime Minister issued Decision 691/QD-TTg dated June 5, 2016 on model commune criteria under the new countryside construction program in the 2018 - 2020 period. Provinces launched criteria and built model communes and model residential areas. Particularly, nine provinces and cities issued criteria for model new rural residential areas and eight localities introduced criteria of model new rural residential areas. Ha Tinh and Quang Ninh provinces issued model garden criteria.

Cultural and tourism preservation and development

Mr. Nguyen Minh Tien, Director of the Coordinating Office of the Central New Countryside Program, said rural villages and landscapes in Vietnam are now very beautiful and original, with some localities transformed into model villages and living places. They must work hard to have these clean, beautiful and green village models. They also need benefits and motivation to have funds for seasonal maintenance, replacement or change. Therefore, it is necessary to scale up models, then sustain and preserve village cultural characteristics and utilize tourism development advantages.

Developing agricultural and rural tourism is an essential solution to raise the value of agricultural production and income for rural people. Rural tourism development should care about people's interests and promote traditional cultural values. The current architecture and landscape need a popular trend: Returning to old identity and traditional values beside noisy, polluted cities. When going to the countryside, visitors will feel a balance of life in each region. Promoting the cultural characteristics of each region is the foundation and strength for creating a distinctive brand for rural tourism.

Localities should actively assess potential and orientations, plan and invest in tourist product development by linking regions with specific and unique tours, routes and tourist spots towards sustainability. To do so, they must engage all levels of authorities, branches, enterprises, experts, tourism associations and research institutes. For localities with clear potential for rural tourism development, priority must be given to developing auxiliary infrastructure and facilities to attract many tourists, prolong their stay, increase spending and persuade them to come back, Mr. Tien said.
By 2020, half of communes will meet new countryside construction criteria (28% in the northern mountainous region; 80% in the Red River Delta; 59% in the northern central region; 60% in the southern central region, 43% in the Central Highlands, 80% in the southeast region, 51% in the Mekong Delta). Each province and city will have at least one district certified to meet new countryside standards. On average, a commune will achieve 15 criteria (13.8 criteria in the northern mountainous region, 18 in the Red River Delta, 16.5 in the northern central region, 16.5 in the southern central region, 15.2 in the Central Highlands, 17.5 in the southeast region, and 16 in the Mekong Delta). No commune will achieve less than five criteria.

Vietnam Business Forum