Being a proactive member of the global community

September 29, 2022 | 18:00
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Last week saw Vietnam celebrate 45 years since its accession to the United Nations. Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son writes about how the country has and will continue to enhance its relationship with the UN.

The United Nations is the world’s largest multilateral organisation with the mission of maintaining international peace and security, and promoting friendly cooperation and development of nations around the world. Cooperation with the UN has always held an important position in the foreign policy of our Party and state, reflecting the will and aspirations of our people and the world’s people to strive for peace and national independence, democracy, cooperation, and development.

Being a proactive member of the global community
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son

In January 1946, President Ho Chi Minh on behalf of the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam sent a letter to the president of the United Nations General Assembly expressing Vietnam’s wish to join the UN. Experiencing historical ups and downs, on September 20, 1977, Vietnam officially became the 149th member of the organisation.

Since then, the country has always been a reliable partner and an active member of the UN, and made many important contributions to the implementation of UN missions.

Cooperation between Vietnam and the UN has developed strongly, extensively, and effectively. UN programmes and projects have made important contributions to Vietnam’s doi moi and international integration, especially the development of socioeconomic infrastructure, education, healthcare, hunger eradication, poverty alleviation, and environmental protection, and they have also shared development experience in many fields with the country.

Promoting the spirit of self-reliance coupled with effective use of external resources, Vietnam has achieved many important development achievements highly appreciated by the United Nations and the international community.

Vietnam has completed ahead of schedule five out of eight Millennium Development Goals, and well implemented the “United Action” initiative on reforming the UN development system. Vietnam is now trying to complete the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the determination to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

At the most difficult time of the pandemic, Vietnam received tremendous support in vaccines and medical equipment from the United Nations, directly through the World Health Organisation and the COVAX facility, making an important contribution to effective control, safe adaptation, and progress towards repelling the pandemic.

Via the tripartite cooperation model under the support of the United Nations, Vietnam has actively shared knowledge and experience gained with developing countries, especially in economic reform, international integration, and development of agriculture, healthcare, and education.

Being a proactive member of the global community
Vietnam has sent its people on peackeeping missions in countries like South Sudan

Major contributions

After many years of war, Vietnam deeply treasures the value of peace. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres once stated that Vietnam is an important contributor to peace and stability in the region and the wider world. We always uphold international law and the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and strive to promote the search for a comprehensive, long-term solution to conflicts.

At the UN, especially during the country’s terms as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Vietnam proposed many initiatives and solutions to global issues such as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on December 27, the establishment of the Group of Friends on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, dealing with the consequences of landmines and mines, protection of critical infrastructure in conflict zones, and promotion of cooperation between the UN and ASEAN in maintaining regional peace and security.

So far, Vietnam has sent over 500 military officers and four police officers to join UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and at UN headquarters. This has not only cemented the country’s responsibility for international security but also contributed to beautifying the noble image of Uncle Ho’s soldiers in carrying out the task of emissary of peace and friendship.

In the sector of human rights, Vietnam upholds dialogue and cooperation, and promotes the spirit of humanity and benevolence, while putting people at the centre of development, sharing achievements and experiences in protecting the fundamental rights of humanity, and ensuring justice and social progress.

After the 2014-2016 term as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Vietnam is running for the 2023-2025 term to continue contributing to the promotion of human rights worldwide.

With the achievements from doi moi and positive contributions to the common efforts of the international community, Vietnam has been elected to many important UN organisations such as the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Council, the International Law Commission, and more besides.

With high responsibility and practical contributions to the UN’s shared work, Vietnam has clearly demonstrated its status, identity, and stance on Vietnamese diplomacy in the Ho Chi Minh era, strongly spreading the message of an independent, self-reliant, innovative, and peace-loving country, with respect to international law, trust, sincerity, and responsibility to the international community.

A reliable partner

The cooperation between Vietnam and the UN over the past 45 years has made an important contribution to strengthening a peaceful and stable environment, promoting comprehensive and extensive international integration, and taking advantage of external resources for national development and enhancing Vietnam’s status and prestige in the international arena.

The 13th National Party Congress has continued to highlight the important position of the United Nations in the foreign policy of the Party and state. It is necessary to raise the level of multilateral diplomacy, actively participating in and promoting Vietnam’s role in multilateral mechanisms, especially in ASEAN, the United Nations, and other important cooperation frameworks and mechanisms of strategic importance, in accordance with the requirements, capabilities, and conditions of the country.

Implementing that right policy, Vietnam continues to attach importance to and strengthen cooperation with the UN, while being steadfastly independent and self-reliant, ensuring the highest interests of the nation on the basis of the UN Charter and basic principles of international law, equality, cooperation, and mutual benefit.

Vietnam makes continued efforts to promote the core role in leading and mediating international issues within its own conditions; and continues to promote multilateral cooperation, and partnerships between the UN and regional organisations, including ASEAN, to jointly find long-term solutions to handle security and development challenges around the world.

We actively perform well our responsibilities at UN organisations and agencies that Vietnam was elected to, and at the same time have a plan and roadmap to prepare for candidacy for important UN positions.

In addition to continuing to improve institutions and strengthen coordination among agencies and organisations in the political system, it is very important to focus on training, fostering, improving capacity, and building up the country’s comprehensive, professional, and modern multilateral foreign affairs staff, while also needing to have appropriate policies to increase Vietnamese personnel working in UN organisations.

The global situation is changing rapidly, but the big trend and the earnest aspiration of nations and peoples have always been to maintain peace and expand development cooperation.

In being proactive, positive, sincere, reliable, and responsible, Vietnam continues to do its best to contribute to strengthening the central role of the United Nations in the global governance system, striving for sustainable peace, national independence, democracy, development cooperation, and social progress.

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By Bui Thanh Son

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