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|Vietnam is to become a focal point for both regional and global diplomatic missions over the next two years|
Last year was a successful one for Vietnam-UN relations, with several outstanding achievements made.
In the middle of October, the UN and Vietnam successfully held a joint meeting. Accordingly, the two sides focused on analysing the content of UN Development System reform, along with suggestions and solutions to improve co-operative efficiency. The two sides agreed on the importance of the reform and agreements of co-operation at the moment, as well as the priorities for the future.
|Kamal Malhotra, UN resident co-ordinator in Vietnam|
As a result, this will be the biggest reform globally since Vietnam joined the UN 40 years ago.
Besides this, there were other positive results in 2019 on implementing the activities of the One Strategic Plan. We have prepared for the co-operative framework with the Vietnamese government over five years, as well as discussed priority fields, including social protection, inclusive growth, and the fight against climate change.
The two sides also agreed to introduce the Global Joint Sustainable Development Goals Pooled Fund Proposal, which is used for Vietnam’s social protection.
In addition, peacekeeping is another important co-operation area between Vietnam and the UN. The country has been increasing its participation in UN peacekeeping operations by sending the second contingent from Level-2 Field Hospital to South Sudan which has been highly appreciated by the international community. The first incarnation of this mission previously successfully completed its tasks.
At the same time, with the support of the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Vietnam and the UN Development Programme, the first Vietnamese army officer passed the interview round to be added to the global roster for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
Therefore, it can be said that in 2019, the image and position of Vietnam at the UN and the international arena rose significantly.
Important UNSC tasks
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), Vietnam at the same time assumed the role of community chair for January. The country will also carry out the same task in April 2021. Besides this, Vietnam is also the chair of the ASEAN for 2020.
This is a huge challenge for Vietnam as the first country to act as the chair of the UNSC right after becoming a non-permanent member. Vietnam chose two topics for its chairmanship month. The first is the role of the UN Charter and its relevance today. This is a good topic for open discussion because in order to solve the current major challenges, we need to consider and act based on the UN charter, complying with the rule of law and international agreements.
For the first time in the UN’s history, more than 110 countries have registered to speak in the open discussion, and a declaration on open discussion related to the UN Charter has been released by the chair.
This is an important milestone in the first month of Vietnam joining the UNSC, as it simultaneously holds the role of chair on the UN’s 75th anniversary. This is an opportune moment for Vietnam because it is also the 75th anniversary of the launching of the UN Charter. Besides that, currently, the world is facing many problems related to compliance with the UN Charter.
Secondly, on January 30 in New York, Vietnam also held discussions on co-operation between the UN and the ASEAN in peacekeeping and international security. This topic was also entirely reasonable when many issues discussed at the UNSC need the intervention and help of regional organisations to come up with effective solutions.
The effective partnership between the UN and regional organisations is vital in the face of increasing challenges to international peace and security. The ASEAN’s active participation in the work of the UN, especially in peacekeeping operations around the world, and regional initiatives on preventive diplomacy, conflict prevention, and peacebuilding, as well as the ASEAN’s leading role in the regional structure has been highly appreciated by the international community.
In the discussion, the members of the UNSC welcomed the first meeting of UN-ASEAN co-operation at the council, and emphasised the ASEAN’s successful lessons as a valuable source of experience in promoting community spirit and unified identity in diversity.
Besides this, they also appreciated the bloc as a model of consultation, co-operation, and constructive consensus and support for efforts to promote dialogue and co-operation through mechanisms initiated, chaired, and led by the ASEAN. Also, at the discussion, the importance of the ASEAN’s central role was emphasised in the regional structure, expressing the hope that the bloc would continue its efforts and maintain its role in dealing with issues of common concern in the region and around the globe.
From the UN’s perspective, we appreciate the role of regional organisations, and we are always willing to help them play their important role.
Another role of Vietnam as ASEAN chair is to reach an agreement for the next five years of the ASEAN-UN Strategy next year. Vietnam will be in a special position when it holds important positions at both the world and regional levels. With a proactive attitude, Vietnam will make a positive contribution in this role.
For a better world
In 2019, there were many highlights in Vietnam-UN relations. Many projects were implemented by both sides, with the participation of various agencies, including development of the Labour Code. Namely, the International Labour Organization has helped Vietnam develop the code’s content to submit and was approved by the National Assembly in November.
Another important area that we support Vietnam is response to natural disasters. Over the years, climate change has been one of the top priorities of the UN. Many UN organisations are trying to solve this problem, particularly what we call “leaving no one behind”, including specific subjects of ethnic minorities.
This year will be an important one for Vietnam. The UN office in Vietnam will support the country to fulfil its ASEAN chairmanship and the role of the UNSC. We recently discussed with the Vietnamese government the hosting of an international conference on women, peace, and security. This activity has great significance and is directly related to Vietnam’s role of rotating UNSC chair in April 2021, when Vietnam wants to focus on conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and the role of women.
It is also the year that we review the implementation of the One Strategic Plan for the past five years, and begin the process of designing for the next Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.
Vietnam is a friend and a very reliable partner of the multilateral mechanism. This is reflected in both regional and global levels. In 2020, Vietnam will have opportunities to affirm its position more clearly and firmly in areas such as peacekeeping and peacebuilding.
Vietnam also needs to assert its role in sharing experiences in co-operation, especially in the process of doi moi, overcoming the consequences of war, and building the economy, as well as learning from other countries’ experiences in areas where Vietnam can benefit. We are pleased to co-operate and are willing to assist Vietnam during this time.