It also demonstrates the role of the UN in promoting international cooperation to address economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian issues.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is scheduled to hold an important meeting with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and attend a New York ceremony to mark 40 years of Vietnam’s participation in the UN (1977-2017), during his official visit to the US from May 29-31.
Since Vietnam officially joined the UN on September 20, 1977, the bilateral relations have been thriving.
After the southern liberation and national reunification in 1975, Vietnam had to address post-war consequences, restructure the poor economy, and gradually restore production.
In that context, major UN donor agencies, particularly the UN Development Programme, the UN Population Fund, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UN Children’s Fund and the World Health Organisation provided remarkable support for the Vietnamese government to develop socio-economic infrastructure, especially in the fields of education, health care, population, and family planning.
The cooperation with the UN helped Vietnam promote the application of modern science and technology to build production facilities and gain access to aid from many foreign countries.
Since 1986, Vietnam embarked on the cause of “doi moi” (renewal). The UN’s cooperation projects helped the Vietnamese Government build development policies and enhance management capacity for agencies and officials.
The UN also made significant contributions to the improvement of manufacturing techniques, science-technology human resources development, and the settlement of social issues in Vietnam.
In the 1997-2000 period, the UN’s support for Vietnam focused on poverty reduction efforts, implementation of social policies, management of the environment and natural resources, aid coordination, State management, and resources mobilization.
In 2001-2005, the UN shifted its technical assistance for Vietnam to the reform of economic institutions and policies, State-run businesses, public administration, law, public investment planning and the banking system while expanding its help to other fields such as HIV/AID prevention and fatal diseases, promoting grassroots democracy and gender equality.
Pursuing the external policy of multi-lateralisation and diversification of international relations, Vietnam has taken the UN forum as a basis to enhance relations with UN organisations and expand bilateral and multi-lateral relations with other countries and international organisations.
Notably, Vietnam fulfilled its role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2008-2009 tenure. This was the first time Vietnam has participated in the most important organ of the UN on international peace and security.
Vietnam became an official member of the UN Chemical Weapons Convention in 1998, and was one of the first countries to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996.
The country also joined the Conference on Disarmament in 1996, and engaged in the preparation process for major conferences, such as conferences on the revision of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 2000, 2005, and 2010, and on illegal trade of small weapons in 2001 and 2003.
Vietnam’s position in the UN was marked with its election as Vice President of the UN General Assembly in 1997 and to various UN agencies, such as the council of governors of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in 1997 and 2003, the UN Commission on Human Rights and UN Commission on Social Development in May 2000, the Executive Board of the UNESCO in 2001, the UN Human Rights Council in 2014-2016 tenure, and the Executive Council of the UNDP and UN Population Fund, the UN Socio-Economic Council in 2016-2018 tenure.
In June 2014, Vietnam for the first time joined the UN peacekeeping activities and the country is running for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.
Besides receiving aid from the UN, Vietnam took the initiative in building and participating in cooperation models for the UN. The tri-partite cooperation between Vietnam, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and Senegal on rice cultivation has been expanded and widely applied as a model for the South-South collaboration.
Furthermore, Vietnam has actively coordinated with UN agencies to implement the “One UN” initiative, which received high evaluation from the donor community.
The building of the Green One UN House in Hanoi was a highlight of the initiative in the bilateral cooperation period in 2012-2016.
The cooperation programme between Vietnam and the UN in 2017-2021 has been submitted to the Vietnamese government for approval. It focuses on helping Vietnam carry out the socio-economic development plan in 2016-2020 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.