Vietnam’s Commitment to UNESCO’s Common Affairs: Latest News (Mar 22)

Today's headlines: Vietnam vows to make positive contributions to UNESCO's shared initiatives. Vietnam and Singapore are strengthening their economic and energy cooperation. Vietnam has climbed 11 spots in the 2024 World Happiness Report. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into Vietnam are expected to surge this year.

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Vietnam News Today (Mar 22) notable headlines

Vietnam pledges positive contributions to UNESCO’s common affairs

Vietnam, Singapore deepen economic, energy cooperation

Vietnam jumps 11 steps in World Happiness Report 2024

FDI flows in Vietnam forecast to boom this year

Promoting Vietnamese culture in Denmark

South Sudan aspires to push all-around cooperation with Vietnam

Speaker of Finnish Parliament to visit Vietnam

Retail petrol prices increase sharply at the latest adjustment

Vietnam underscores women, youth’s role in conflict prevention

The Vietnamese delegation to the 219th session of the UNESCO’s Executive Board. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam pledges positive contributions to UNESCO’s common affairs

The country always greatly evaluates multilateral co-operation and UNESCO’s role in the world, therefore pledging to continue to make positive contributions to the organization’s common affairs.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc made the statement at the 219th session of the UNESCO’s Executive Board, which was held in Paris on March 18 and March 19.

Deputy Minister Ngoc, who is also chairman of the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO, stated that the world is now in a difficult time and is facing many intertwined challenges such as the climate and an environmental crisis, the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI), increasing inequality, violence, and armed conflicts, all of which have impacted aspects of social life.

Amid this context, multilateralism and international co-operation based on openness, equality, and mutual benefit, as well as UNESCO’s mission to promote peace through dialogues, mutual understanding, and its pioneering role in strengthening global co-operation in education – training, culture, heritage, science – technology, and information – communication, are becoming more important than ever, he emphasized.

The Vietnamese representative applauded the efforts made by UNESCO’s director-general and secretariat, as well as the group’s members in promoting interdisciplinary and multi-sector approaches, diversifying resources, and expanding the global partnership network to further strengthen the role and effectiveness of the organization, cited VOV.

Deputy Minister Ngoc proposed UNESCO and its executive board continue realizing initiatives, programs, and activities to carry out the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 4 aimed at ensuring equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, while also seeking to strengthen the efficiency of the Global Network of Learning Cities, UNESCO Associated Schools Network, and UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Meanwhile, it remains essential to associate culture and heritage with sustainable development, promote open science and ethics in AI, strengthen biodiversity conservation, water security, ocean governance, and climate change response, contribute to the UN Summit of the Future (slated for September), and support member countries in implementing the SDGs, he suggested.

On this occasion, the Vietnamese diplomat held working sessions with Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO; Xing Qu, deputy director-General UNESCO; Vera Khoury Lacoeuilhe, president of the UNESCO Executive Board; Simona-Mirela Miculescu, president of the UNESCO General Conference; Anthony Ohemeng-Boamah, assistant director-general for Priority Africa and External Relations of UNESCO; and Lida Brito, assistant director-general for Natural Sciences of UNESCO; as well as heads of delegations from some member countries to promote bilateral and multilateral ties.

Deputy Minister Ngoc also worked with Lazare Assomo, director of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, and Regina Durighello, director of ICOMOS World Heritage Advisory and Monitoring Unit, to discuss the enhancement of co-operation in protecting and promoting the values of world heritages in Vietnam.

At the working sessions, the UNESCO leaders and heads of delegations of countries hailed the fruitful linkages that exist between Vietnam and UNESCO and other member countries, as well as important and effective Vietnamese contributions to the common affairs of the organization in its capacity as a member of five key management mechanisms of the group.

They highlighted Vietnam as a model for harmony between preservation and promotion of heritages in association with promoting tourism development, economic growth, and people’s livelihoods.

Deputy Minister Ngoc expressed his hope that the UNESCO leaders and the secretariat of UNESCO will provide consultancy and support new Vietnamese heritage dossiers such as those of the Yen Tu – Con Son – Kiep Bac landscape and relic complex, the Oc Eo – Ba The archaeological site, Con Moong cave, and intangible cultural heritages such as the Festival of Ba Chua Xu Goddess at Sam Mountain, Dong Ho folk painting art, and Lang Son global geopark.

The nation also aspires to receive support in preserving and promoting the value of UNESCO-recognized world heritage sites, including the project to preserve, restore, and promote the value of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – Hanoi, Deputy Minister Ngoc said.

The leaders of UNESCO and ICOMOS pledged to support the country in building and promoting heritage dossiers proposed by the chairman of the Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO.

The Vietnamese Deputy Minister also used this occasion to invite and convey invitations to the UNESCO leaders to visit the nation for the celebrations of 10 years since Trang An Landscape Complex, which was recognized as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site in April, the Festival for Peace 2024 in July, and the eighth Asia Pacific Geoparks Network Symposium in September.

Vietnam, Singapore deepen economic, energy cooperation

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien held talks with Singaporean Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng in Hanoi on March 20, during which they discussed ways to strengthen economic and trade ties between the two nations.

Both ministers hailed the existing economic partnership as a model for successful bilateral cooperation in Southeast Asia. They acknowledged a shared interest in expanding collaboration beyond traditional sectors to embrace emerging trends like energy transition, digital economy, digital transformation, and green economy.

Energy emerged as the focus of the discussion, with both sides commending ongoing joint projects, particularly those involving clean energy. They emphasized the mutual benefits that could be reaped from ramping up cooperation in this sector.

As there remain numerous potential and existing cooperation opportunities that need to be explored, Tan proposed joint research and implementation with Vietnam, potentially involving other partners, with a special focus on wind and clean energy, according to VNA.

Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien (R) and Singaporean Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng. (Photo: VNA)

Dien expected that Singapore would share its experience in building relevant policy mechanisms to support robust energy and clean energy cooperation with Singapore and other countries.

He proposed that the working group of the two ministries share technical expertise to translate potential into concrete action.

The Vietnamese minister further suggested fostering human resource development in the energy sector through enhanced collaboration between universities and research institutions. He also sought Singapore’s assistance in the Vietnamese ministry’s units in building development strategies for industries, energy, trade, digital transformation, and green transition.

Singapore is now Vietnam’s fourth largest trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and second largest foreign investor.

The two-way trade value hit US$9.1 billion in 2023, and the figure in the first two months of 2024 already reached US$1.5 billion.

Last year, Vietnam and Singapore signed the upgraded connectivity framework agreement, under which energy cooperation has become one of the five core pillars.

Vietnam jumps 11 steps in World Happiness Report 2024

Vietnam has climbed 11 steps from 75th in the previous year’s ranking to 54th in the World Happiness Report 2024.

In Asia, Vietnam was ranked 6th, behind Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

The report, released on March 20, surveyed people from 143 countries and territories, ranking their happiness based on a three-year average of each population’s assessment of their quality of life, from 2021 to 2023.

Interdisciplinary experts from the fields of economics, psychology, sociology, and beyond then explained the variations across countries and over time using six factors: GDP, life expectancy, having someone to count on, a sense of freedom, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.

The data gathered for the factors came from organizations like the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and the Gallup World Poll, cited VGP.

Photo: VNN

“These factors help to explain the differences across nations, while the rankings themselves are based only on the answers people give when asked to rate their own lives,” according to a statement by the World Happiness Report.

Vietnam’s population was estimated at 100.3 million in 2023, ranking third in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines and 15th in the world, reported the General Statistics Office.

The crude death rate was estimated at approximately 5.5 per thousand inhabitants, an average level compared to the region.

The nation’s under-5 mortality rate has dropped over the recent years, from 18.9 deaths per 1000 live births in 2022 to 18.2 in 2023.

The life expectancy was 73.7 in 2023, with the life expectancy for males and females at 71.1 and 76.5, respectively, only behind Singapore (83), Brunei (78), and Thailand (76).

FDI flows in Vietnam forecast to boom this year

Vietnam will experience a breakthrough in foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction to the fields of technology, renewable energy, health, banking, and real estate, according to world media.

Investor-friendly policies, along with tax breaks and emerging industrial hubs beyond Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, have made Vietnam an attractive destination for foreign investors who are looking for sustainable long-term growth prospects.

The news site Vietnam Briefing, developed by Dezan Shira & Associates – a pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm, recently wrote that Vietnam’s FDI landscape in 2024 is poised for robust expansion, with several opportunities in these above-mentioned sectors.

It quoted Vietnam’s Foreign Trade Agency as saying that the country experienced a surge in FDI in January and February, recording an influx of over US$4.29 billion, marking a significant increase of 38.6% compared to the previous year.

The FDI capital disbursed in the first two months amounted to US$2.8 billion, up 9.8% year-on-year, VNA reported.

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Attracting the most were Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Thai Nguyen, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Bac Ninh, Dong Nai, Bac Giang, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, and Hung Yen. These 10 localities accounted for 81.7% of the foreign investment received during January-February. Out of them, Hanoi capital city led the pack with nearly US$914.4 million, which was up 24.4 times that recorded in the same period in 2023.

According to the news site, this year, Vietnam presents investment prospects across multiple frontier industries. The technology industry is experiencing a great deal of innovation and digitalization. Similarly, the renewable energy sector is gaining traction, with a rising focus on clean energy sources like solar and wind power to sustainably bolster Vietnam’s power supply. Moreover, there is great anticipation regarding the demand-driven growth of the med-tech field and other healthcare-related industries.

Meanwhile, in its article titled “Vietnam ‘has been a development success story’: World Bank,” the US-based Washington Examiner website wrote: “While economic freedom is declining around the world, Vietnam is bucking the general trend. The country still has a lot of work to do to join the ranks of economically free countries, but it is moving in the right direction. No other country of comparable size has made such strong gains in the Index of Economic Freedom in recent decades.”

“Growth in Vietnam no longer revolves solely around agriculture as it has positioned itself in high-tech fields, including Industry 4.0, semiconductor chips, AI, and hydrogen, and is attracting international capital. Foreign direct investment amounted to US$36.6 billion in 2023,” it added.

The New York-based Nasdaq Stock Market assessed that Vietnam’s growing economy not only brings benefits to its people but also brings profitable opportunities to investors in many fields, typically technology and textiles. The country’s economic growth momentum is also boosted by its capacity to attract FDI.

Promoting Vietnamese culture in Denmark

Youth in Denmark have been given the chance to learn more about Vietnamese culture, history, landscapes, and its people through a cultural exchange held on March 20 in the Danish city of Holbaek.

Upon addressing the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Denmark Luong Thanh Nghi introduced the socio-economic development of Vietnam, while highlighting the 50-year diplomatic relations between the nation and Denmark.

He noted that the event aims to deepen mutual understanding and strengthen friendship between the two countries, especially among the young generation.

Ambassador Nghi also welcomed a group of teachers and students from Slotshaven high school who are preparing to participate in a fact-finding trip to Vietnam in April, cited VOV.

Vietnamese culture is promoted through a cultural exchange held on March 20 in the Danish city of Holbaek. (Photo: VNA)

During the event, young Danish people attended a photo exhibition and short films about Vietnamese people and landscapes, as well as sampling some traditional Vietnamese delicacies.

The event was jointly organized by the Embassy of Vietnam in Denmark and the Denmark-Vietnam Friendship Organization (DAVIFO) with the goal of enhancing exchanges between residents of the two countries, especially young people.

Rosie Nguyen