VUFO in 2023: People-to-people Diplomacy Focuses on Socio-economic Development

In 2023, the focus of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) is "People-to-people diplomacy for socio-economic development." That is the affirmation of VUFO President Nguyen Phuong Nga in an interview with the press on the occasion of the New Year 2023.
January 22, 2023 | 06:13
VUFO in 2023: People-to-people Diplomacy Focuses on Socio-economic Development
Training course for newly recruited officers of VUFO in 2022. Photo: VUFO

VUFO President Nguyen Phuong Nga gave the following address to the press:

We chose this topic based on the priorities of the Party and State of Vietnam, which identifies 2023 as the pivotal year to realize the 5-year socio-economic tasks according to the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.

In the process of overcoming the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have spent about 2 years after the Congress and now it is the 3rd year, the year of decisive significance. We must make efforts to recover, develop socio-economic, restructure the economy, renew the growth model towards green and sustainable development.

The task of people-to-people diplomacy, one of the pillars of Vietnam's diplomacy, is to take on the mission and play a pioneering role in creating and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, mobilizing external resources for national development, enhancing Vietnam's position and prestige.

What is the direction of the action plan for this focus?

In 2023, Vietnam celebrates its diplomatic relations with countries such as Japan, Canada, Argentina, France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This is also the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam. We need to take advantage of this occasion to tighten the friendship between the Vietnamese people and the people of other countries. VUFO is determined to enhance the practicality and effectiveness of peace, solidarity, and friendship activities; well organize commemorative activities to expand the network of partners.

We will focus on socio-economic development goals to mobilize resources of knowledge, experience and technology for the development of the country. For example, in Vietnam, there are Korean and Japanese communities. They have strengths in investment, technology, that we can make use of.

In 2023, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam. This is also an opportunity to strengthen bonds with international friends.

We will welcome international friends who have supported Vietnam in the negotiation process of the agreement, as well as those who have made contributions in the struggle for an end to the war and later in the campaign for normalization. They supported Vietnam to overcome the consequences of the war and build the country.

VUFO continues to implement the National Program on strengthening cooperation and mobilizing foreign non-governmental aid for the period of 2019-2025, Decree 58/2022/ND-CP dated August 31, 2022 of the Government on registration and operation management of foreign non-governmental organizations in Vietnam.

This work should be associated with the goals of politics, and foreign affairs. We need to have a practical and effective plan to mobilize aid; develop data on aid needs. In 2022, in a difficult context, foreign non-governmental aid mobilization still achieved positive results, attracting over US$200 million.

VUFO in 2023: People-to-people Diplomacy Focuses on Socio-economic Development
Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, president of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations. Photo: Thu Ha

What are the main solutions to implement these programs?

In my opinion, the first thing is to thoroughly grasp, creatively, and flexibly apply the Party's foreign policy, especially those set out by the 13th National Party Congress.

This is also clearly shown in the speech of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at the Conference to implement the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.

He mentioned how we can be steadfast in our goals, protect the interests of the nation, and at the same time be flexible in our strategies to contribute to the common interests of mankind for progress, justice and sustainable development.

The second is the consistent and close coordination between the three pillars: Party diplomacy, State diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy.

The third is the close connection between the central and local governments. In 2022, people-to-people diplomacy in localities has been active, with innovative models and methods, attracting the participation of many people from Cao Bang to Ca Mau.

The outstanding event is that last year, VUFO successfully organized the first national conference on people-to-people diplomacy in Cao Bang province. All contents and directives of the Party and State were thoroughly understood and discussed at this conference. The event also sets the stage for similar activities of VUFO in the following years.

In 2022, VUFO also conducted a recruitment round of officers specialized in people-to-people diplomacy. We have selected good candidates. New employees were able to contribute immediately, integrating into VUFO's work.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of people-to-people diplomacy in 2023?

2023 is forecasted with potential difficulties and challenges. It is said that this is a turning point, the world will move into a new phase.

We are also facing existential challenges: great power competition, conflict in Ukraine, inflation, energy crisis, unstable food and energy prices, risk of food crisis.

People-to-people diplomacy also directly or indirectly faces these difficulties. In 2022, although we have gained many achievements, people-to-people diplomacy still has certain limitations.

Firstly, we have limited resources, both in terms of human and material.

Regarding awareness: not all places, agencies and organizations have a deep and full awareness of the role of people-to-people diplomacy; the role and mission of VUFO.

Regarding advantages, we have policies, clearly define the tasks, roles and positions of people-to-people diplomacy in accordance with the 13th National Party Congress and Directive 12 of the Secretariat.

Second, Vietnam's position and role in the international arena is increasing. In particular, international friends still have good feelings for Vietnam; admire and support us.

Third, the staff in VUFO's organizational system as the core force of people-to-people diplomacy has been increasingly consolidated. We have people who are enthusiastic, and dedicated to this work. There are touching examples all over the country. It is a huge and powerful resource of people-to-people diplomacy.

I think that, despite many difficulties, people-to-people diplomacy will continue to have mature steps and new successes in 2023.

Welcoming the New Year of the Cat 2023, what message do you have for our compatriots abroad and international friends?

We are welcoming the New Year 2023 with high hopes. I would like to wish all Vietnamese people living, studying and working abroad as well as international friends a new year of peace, happiness and prosperity. May all people in the world live in peace, prosperity and joy!

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