|VUFO President Nguyen Phuong Nga (Middle) and VOV leader and staff
This is the opinion given by Secretary of the Party Delegation and President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Nguyen Phuong Nga in an interview with Voice of Vietnam Radio (VOV) on the occasion of the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.
Alongside Party and State diplomacy, people-to-people diplomacy has undergone a historical journey with strong, comprehensive, and positive steps, which have contributed to the cause of national liberation, construction, and protection, thus bringing Vietnam closer together with friends from across the globe.
Asked about the contributions made through people-to-people diplomacy in recent times and the future development of people-related affairs, the VUFO President said throughout 2018, public diplomacy launched by the VUFO and its member organizations brought about numerous innovations.
These innovations effectively contributed to national construction and development. In addition to expanding and strengthening ties regarding peace, solidarity, friendship, and foreign non-governmental aid, the Union focused on promoting co-operation in economics, trade, investment, culture, science, technology, education and tourism, among other fields.
The VUFO sent over 60 working groups abroad, as well as welcoming nearly 1,400 delegations (including working groups from foreign non-governmental organizations). This was in addition to over 3,000 staff coming from different countries around the world to carry out humanitarian and development projects in Vietnam.
Aside from their regular activities, the Union organized a broad array of important bilateral and multilateral external activities whilst continuing to enhance ties with neighbouring and major nations. It also celebrated 45 years of diplomatic relations with countries such as Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Malaysia. The Union also successfully organized a photo exhibition featuring the country’s achievements in renewed international integration as well as China's open-door reforms, and participating in the ASEAN People's Forum and the Asia-Europe People's Forum, Nga said.
With a key role in the mobilization of foreign non-governmental aid, the VUFO Friendship Union actively propagated and promoted the nation’s renewal achievements, foreign policy, attraction and effective use of aid. The value of aid from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been maintained with an estimated US$280 million in 2018 poured into thousands of projects across the nation.
These projects help Vietnam in multiple fields as well as providing a positive contribution to boosting socio-economic development and improving the living standards of local people, especially those in mountainous, remote, and ethnic minority areas.
The Union reviewed the National Program to promote non-governmental aid between 2013 and 2017, finalising the draft National Program to promote the mobilization of non-governmental foreign aid ahead for 2018 to 2025, she added.
Regarding foreign information services, the VUFO leader stated that along with the promotion of closer ties with media agencies, the VUFO and its member organizations have made considerable contributions to media.
The organization provides regular up-to-date information regarding domestic and international affairs, Party and State external policies as well as peace, solidarity, and friendship activities between Vietnamese people and their counterparts from around the world. Currently, the Union’s Thoi Dai (Era) Online in English, Chinese, Russian, Laotian, and Khmer has been able to maintain a stable readership with a large number of articles and viewers.
The Union has developed a network of member organizations with a total of 116 organizations, including 64 bilateral and multilateral friendship organizations with various countries, in addition to 52 local member organizations. Its local activities have significantly contributed to strengthening external relations and deeper international integration in provinces and cities throughout the nation, Nga noted.
With regard to 2019 and the years ahead, the VUFO President set out the aims for her organization. She stated the organization will continue to strengthen and develop a wide network of friends and international partners, actively participate in important multilateral institutions, and improve upon the effectiveness of foreign NGOs’ activities.
The VUFO will promote external activities to further deepen ties with major and neighbouring countries, while fostering people-to-people friendships with traditional allies and regional countries, as well as trying to create ties with new partners.
It will also enhance its role as a bridge for an increasing number of exchanges as well as economic, cultural, and scientific-technological co-operation and humanitarian activities. All aimed at helping the Vietnamese people’s organizations become more involved in multilateral people’s forums.
The focus will also be on studying and forecasting international affairs and their impacts on Vietnam, resolving domestic political and socio-economic issues and making thorough preparations to successfully undertake its role as host of the ASEAN People’s Forum ahead in 2020.