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Vietnam-France relations unique in the world: Deputy Prime Minister
Son Nguyen - Cam Anh 17:05, 2023/04/14
France is the only country in the world where Vietnam has established local-to-local ties.

The decentralized cooperation between Vietnam and France is the only one of its kind in the world, said Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang.

Vietnam and France have become reliable allies over the past 50 years, Quang said at the opening ceremony of the 12th Vietnam-France Decentralized Cooperation Conference. France is one of Vietnam's largest partners in terms of trade, investment and official development assistance (ODA), he noted.

The European country thus occupies an important position in Vietnam's foreign policy.

Vietnamese and French officials attend the 12th Vietnam-France Decentralized Cooperation Conference opening ceremony on April 14. Photo courtesy of the organizer

"The exchange of visits of high-ranking officials, volunteers, and students proves that people are the key factor in deepening the partnership between Vietnam and France," he said.

He hoped the ongoing event would boost bilateral ties and make Vietnam-France relations different. "France is the only nation that Vietnam has established nationwide local-to-local partnerships," he emphasized.

Dinh Tien Dung, Secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee, states that decentralized cooperation is a focal point of the activities that Vietnam and France have established.

Some 38 French municipalities have cooperated at all levels, with some 18 Vietnamese provinces and cities. Nearly 240 joint projects have been launched in health care, education, water management and sanitation, historical preservation, and sustainable development.

"The conference is expected to strengthen ties between the two countries, enhance the role of local-to-local cooperation, and promote the development of each country and region," Dung said.

In reality, the relationship between Hanoi and the Ile-de-France region, which began in 1989, has made the Vietnamese capital proud to be the first Vietnamese municipality to establish local cooperation with a French local government," he added.

Accordingly, cooperation projects with French communities have significantly influenced the city's socio-economic growth, especially in rehabilitating aging infrastructure, green development, and waste management.

These ordinary, people-oriented projects create a sustainable link between Vietnamese and French localities by meeting the basic needs of people and businesses based on the union and friendship between the two nations.

Jean-Paul Guihaumé, Ambassador and Delegate for the External Action of Local Authorities at the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, highlighted the value of decentralized cooperation in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

The event also demonstrates the benefits of joint initiatives between French and Vietnamese local authorities to the two countries and their respective populations. He promised that the ministry would continue to support decentralized cooperation projects between the two sides.

He said the projects are very diverse and contribute effectively to achieving local and global sustainable development goals, especially in responding to climate change.

Promising future efforts

According to experts, the Vietnam-France decentralized cooperation still has room for further growth.

Delegates attend a photo exhibition during the conference on April 14. Photo courtesy of the organizer

The French Development Agency (AFD) believes that local-to-local cooperation is very fruitful, said Anne de Soucy, Director of Partnerships at the AFD.

AFD Vietnam is using all the tools to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the Financing Facility for Local Authorities (FICOL), which makes it possible to co-finance projects carried out by French municipalities with their Vietnamese partners, Anne said.

There are now four active cooperation projects between France and Vietnam co-financed by FICOL, including three initiatives in cooperation with Hanoi. These projects now receive EUR1.3 million ($1.44 million) in co-financing from AFD. The agency aims to increase its funding for joint projects to $2.21 million.

Delaunay Yann, General Director of France Volontaires, said he hopes to see more exchanges of volunteers between the two nations, contributing to strengthening bilateral relations.

In 2019-2022, Vietnam received 670 French volunteers to work on local projects in education and training, language teaching, healthcare, and the environment. During this period, Vietnam sent 13 young volunteers to France to work in education, culture, environment, and community service. He said 2023 is a good time for volunteer exchange between Vietnam and France.

He called on the two governments to create an ideal environment for voluntary activities to impact socio-economic development positively.

TAG: Vietnam news Hanoi news Vietnam France decentralization cooperation Vietnam France relations foreign relations Foreign Affairs international collaboration local to local cooperation
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