Project on climate change adaptation to benefit central Vietnam
A climate change adaptation project has been launched to strengthen the resilience of smallholder agriculture to climate change-induced water insecurity in the Central Highlands and the south-central coast.
Financed with 30 million USD by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), it was launched by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on October 15, covering the five provinces of Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Khanh Hoa, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan.
More than 500,000 people, of which more than 50 percent are women, will benefit directly and indirectly from this project, which will be implemented from 2021 to 2026.
The project is designed to empower vulnerable smallholders in the target provinces - particularly women and ethnic minority farmers - to manage increasing climate risks to agricultural production by securing water availability, adopting climate-resilient agricultural practices, and strengthening access to actionable agro-climate information, credits and markets.
To address water insecurity, the project will support the smallholder farmers, whose income do not permit investment in climate resilience-enhancing inputs, technologies or infrastructure to cope effectively with impacts of droughts, to directly address the need for investments in last-mile connections to the larger irrigation infrastructure invested by the government with the finance from the Asian Development Bank. Similarly, farmers in rain-fed areas will benefit from the upgrading and construction of 1,159 climate resilient ponds.
Farmers will be provided with training on how to manage climate risk to their agro-ecosystems by applying climate-resilient soil and crop planning and management practices to reinforce the investments in water security. They will also receive technical guidance and financial support on climate smart- and resilient agriculture practices to improve production and increase yields.
Farmers will be engaged in the co-development of localised agro-climate information in the form of advisories, through which they will be able to synthesise traditional knowledge with contemporary scientific information to manage risk at local level.
The project will enable farmers to address production problems and bottlenecks, access credit, negotiate contractual arrangements, and smooth access to existing markets through promotion of value chain partnerships.
MARD Deputy Minister Nguyen Hoang Hiep said the project reflects the strong commitment and efforts by the Government of Vietnam, one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, to support vulnerable communities, ethnic minority groups, the poor farmers, women and men to be resilient to increasing climate change impacts in the new situation with uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This project complements the ongoing GCF project that UNDP supports in 28 coastal provinces for building the resilience of poor communities vulnerable to floods and storms, bringing together these innovative and integrated approaches will ensure to improve the resilience of more than a million most vulnerable people in Vietnam,” said Terence D. Jones, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in the country./.
Social network campaign launched to change plastic use habit
A social network campaign called “Plastic-19 Lockdown Challenge” was launched by UNESCO and the Centre for Supporting Green Development (GreenHub) on October 15 to inspire the community to reduce the use of plastics.
The contest comprises of 19 challenges to be completed in 19 days, enough for participants to get in the habit of minimising plastic use. The number 19 also means that plastic waste is another alarming issue of the world, similar to the COVID-19 pandemic it is facing.
All Vietnamese people aged 18 – 35 are invited to take advantage of their creativeness to inspire people to take actions and change their perception into rejecting, reusing, reducing and recycling plastic products.
Many Vietnamese artists are engaged in the campaign.
The competition forms part of the “Youth and Innovation for Ocean” initiative by UNESCO and GreenHub’s “Local Solutions for Plastic Pollution” funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The “Youth and Innovation for Ocean” initiative aims to encourage university students and young professionals to put forward innovative and practical solutions in reducing, reusing, recycling and managing plastic products in coastal regions of Vietnam. The initiative is under the partnership between UNESCO and The Coca-Cola Foundation established in 2017 for solutions to manage plastic waste, toward as sustainable green economy in Vietnam.
The Local Solutions for Plastic Pollution project aims to inspire local communities to reduce plastics pollution by creating networks and uniting and providing support to communities and individuals in Vietnam's popular destinations of Hanoi, Halong, Danang, and Hoi An./.
Party official meets newly-accredited ambassadors
Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of its Organisation Commission Truong Thi Mai on October 16 met newly-accredited ambassadors and consul generals before they take office.
The official ask them to bring into full play their role in the new context, mobilise external resources and those of the over 5 million overseas Vietnamese to the national construction and development.
She asked the diplomats to better perform the Party work in foreign countries in conformity with the local realities, and suggested the Foreign Ministry collaborate with the commission in the training work for diplomatic officials.
The diplomats were told that the ministry is simultaneously building two strategies on foreign relations to 2030 and building and developing the diplomatic sector to 2030.
Representatives of the diplomats affirmed they will well carry out their assignments, deserving the trust from the Party, State and people./.
Love letters from late songwriter Trinh Cong Son broadcast on podcast
A podcast entitled “Nang thuy tinh” (Crystal sunlight) introducing more than 300 love letters from late musician Trinh Con Son and many songs from a movie to be released shortly about the talented artist was broadcast on October 14.
The “Nang thuy tinh” (Crystal sunlight) podcast introduces more than 300 love letters sent by late musician Trinh Cong Son to his lover Dao Anh.
The podcast is hosted by Hoang Ha and Avin Lu - the two actors who play young Dao Anh and Trinh Cong Son in the film “Me and Trinh”. The first episode was broadcast at 7pm on October 14 on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcast.
“Me and Trinh” depicts the life of Trinh Cong Son from youth to middle-age, when he became nostalgic about the muses in his life: Bich Diem, Dao Anh, Thanh Thuy, and Michiko. Actor Tran Luc plays the role of the middle-aged musician.
The podcast production team hopes that besides romance, the show will also share feelings about love and life, bringing a sense of relaxation and peace to listeners.
On Oct. 8, the movie’s official website announced a postponement of its screening schedule to 2022 due to the pandemic./.
Young overseas Vietnamese prove crucial to homeland’s innovation
Overseas Vietnamese (OVs) are viewed an important resource for national development and safeguarding, and young expatriates have proved to be an important part of innovation promotion in the homeland.
Vietnam is still lagging behind many countries in terms of technology readiness, innovation, and labour productivity.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Vietnam ranked 44th in the Global Innovation Index 2021. With this position, it still tops the lower-middle-income countries but has fallen two places from last year.
To address shortcomings and create stronger momentum for innovation and science - technology, human resources have a significant role to play.
The 13th National Party Congress identified developing human resources, especially high-quality ones, as one of the three strategic breakthroughs.
With the viewpoint that people are the centre, the target, and also the impulse for development, in achieving ambitious development goals, Vietnam will have to exert efforts to develop and fully tap into the huge potential of Vietnamese people not only at home but also abroad.
The Politburo has been affirming that OVs are an important resource for national construction, development, and safeguarding.
About 5.3 million Vietnamese are living and working in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, 80 percent of them in developed countries, and about 50 percent young expatriates.
Those under the age of 45 account for some 60 percent of the number of Vietnamese in the US, Germany, and Australia - the second homelands of over 50 percent of the total OVs. Young expatriates hold huge potential for contributing to innovation and science - technology, according to preliminary data of the State Committee on OVs.
Regarding intellectual power, about 500,000 OVs hold a bachelor’s or higher-level degrees, including many working at research institutes, universities, and technique - technology centres of such developed nations as the US, Japan, and Canada.
In terms of finance, unofficial statistics show that the OV community has an annual income of about 50 billion USD. The income of young expatriates can reach up to 30 billion USD per year.
Particularly, though young expatriates were born and grew up overseas, the Vietnamese origin is the one differentiating them from other foreign investors and intellectuals when coming to work in the country. In the recent past, a number of young OVs have returned and contributed considerably to the homeland./.
Vietnam among world's top 30 October destinations
British travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler has listed Vietnam among top 30 global holiday destinations that are ‘at their finest’ for October visit.
"October is the beginning of dry season in Vietnam’s north and south, where monumental natural spectacles and buzzing city scenes both abound," the magazine says.
It suggests that visitors trek up to Sa Pa, the misty tourist town famed for terraced rice fields in northern Vietnam, or sit on low plastic stools to enjoy a cup of condensed-milk coffee in Hanoi.
It also recommends a boat trip in the Mekong Delta, which is famous for mangroves, cajuput forests, floating markets and orchards.
"Don’t miss The Café Apartment in HCMC, a nine-storey block stuffed with fairy-lit mini-boutiques and craft coffee stores," according to the magazine.
The old apartment block on Nguyen Hue Boulevard in downtown HCMC is home to a series of coffee shops, restaurants, and coworking spaces. It has for long been a popular rendezvous for young people and foreigners in the city.
Deputy Foreign Minister holds phone talks with Canadian official
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung on October 15 held phone talks with the Foreign and Defence Policy Advisor to the Canadian Prime Minister, David Morrison, to discuss ways to promote bilateral ties and cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dung conveyed Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s congratulations to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party on their victory in the general election on September 20.
The Deputy Minister also spoke highly of Canada’s foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific, and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Vietnam.
Towards the 5th founding anniversary of the comprehensive partnership next year and the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Canada in 2023, Dung expressed his wish to further strengthen the bilateral comprehensive partnership in all areas to bring benefits to both people of both nations, contributing to peace, stability and development in the region and the world.
Amid complicated developments of the pandemic, he called on Canada to continue providing vaccine and treatment medicine support for Vietnam.
Morrison, for his part, said he treasures and wants to further deepen the Canada-Vietnam comprehensive partnership.
He highly valuated Vietnam's COVID-19 prevention and control efforts with safe and flexible adaptation to the pandemic.
The official affirmed Canada's commitment to help Vietnam and regional countries access vaccines via the COVAX Facility and the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund.
Both sides agreed to strengthen bilateral relations, initially facilitating visits all levels when conditions allow and maintaining regular cooperation mechanism between the two foreign ministries.
On regional and global issues of shared concern, including the East Sea issue, they highlighted the observance of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and agreed to continue close cooperation at regional and international multilateral forums./.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh receives Australian Ambassador
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh hosted a reception for Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie on October 15, during which he spoke highly of the bilateral cooperation.
Two-way trade maintained an upward trend in the first months of this year, posting a year-on-year surge of nearly 50 percent despite difficulties brought by COVID-19, the PM said, affirming that the countries have ample room for growth.
The Government leader urged the two sides to effectively carry out the Vietnam -Australia Plan of Action for the Strategic Partnership for the 2020-2023 period, and step up economic, trade and investment cooperation.
He called on Australia to consider opening its door for Vietnam’s agro-fishery products and create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in the country, as well as increase scholarships for Vietnamese students and prioritise Vietnam in official development assistance.
Vietnam will create optimal conditions for Australian citizens living and working in the country, the PM pledged.
He thanked the Australian Government for its commitment to providing a total of 5.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and a large amount of medical supplies to Vietnam following phone talks between the Vietnamese PM and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in May, which reflect sentiments of the Australian Government and people for Vietnam. He also voiced his hope that Australia will continue to assist Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight.
In May, PM Chinh and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held phone talks to discuss bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual concern.
For her part, the Australian ambassador affirmed that Australia will further support Vietnam in terms of vaccine and medical equipment, as well as help raise health care capacity in the Southeast Asian nation.
Australia always treasures and wants to lift its relationship with Vietnam to a new height in the near future, hoping that Vietnam will support its strategic partnership with ASEAN and continue close cooperation in climate change issues, particularly at the upcoming 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 26.
At the reception, the two sides rejoiced at the strengthened political trust between the countries, voicing a wish to promote economic, trade and investment in a practical and efficient manner. They also took the occasion to exchange views on international and regional issues of mutual concern./.
President stresses need to build open, transparent judicial sector
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc has emphasised the need to build an open and transparent court and judicial sector under the public supervision for the people and serve the people in the best way.
The President, who is also Head of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform, made the request during a working session with the Party Civil Affairs Committee of the Supreme People’s Court on judicial reform of the court sector in Hanoi on October 15.
President Phuc hailed courts for their achievements in judicial reform over the past years, helping to protect citizens’ rights, State interests, and legitimate rights and interests of individuals and organisations and to create a healthy and stable environment for socio-economic development and international integration.
He commended the courts for successfully dealing with corruption with thousands of serious and complex economic cases being brought to light. The leader requested continuing reclaiming embezzled assets for the State and encouraging offenders to voluntarily compensate in corruption and economic cases.
The Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice and local authorities were asked to work closely with courts on the serious enforcement of sentences, especially in civil cases in localities while listening to public aspirations.
Courts all all levels were assigned to suggest amendments and supplements to the Law on Organisation of People’s Courts, the Civil Procedure Code, the Law on Administrative Procedure, the Law on Bankruptcy and the Law on Child Protection.
The Supreme People's Court must promptly improve the working quality of people’s courts, adopt technological advances to successfully build e-courts, discover shortcomings in court hearings, and build a contingent of qualified staff capable of joining in the settlement of international disputes, thus meeting global integration demand, he said.
In the past tenure, courts nationwide received over 2.4 million cases and handled 97.6 percent of the total. Over 7,400 serious corruption and economic cases were brought to trials with 14,450 defendants. The court sector publicised more than 733,000 verdicts and decisions on its portal./.
ASEAN strengthens partnership, innovation for disaster management
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its partners have reaffirmed commitments to raise the ASEAN people’s awareness about the importance of disaster risk reduction during the commemoration of ASEAN Day for Disaster Management (ADDM) 2021.
The ADDM is convened annually and jointly with the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) on 13 October. This year’s commemoration took place on October 14 via video conference, hosted by Singapore as the current Chair of the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM).
Under the theme “Strengthening Partnership and Innovation for Disaster Management in ASEAN”, ADDM 2021 was commemorated on the sidelines of the 9th AMMDM, which was held on the same day. It was attended by ASEAN Ministers in-charge of disaster management or their representatives, ACDM members, other ASEAN Sectoral bodies and partners.
In his remarks, the AMMDM Chair, Associate Professor Dr. Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, noted that “the commemoration demonstrates ASEAN’s commitment and efforts towards disaster reduction and management. This leads to an important end goal – to alleviate the hardship and suffering of peoples of ASEAN, who live in one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world.”
In his closing remarks, ASEAN Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi highlighted the importance of innovation and partnership in disaster management in the years ahead, as well as ASEAN’s commitments towards realising a disaster-resilient region.
The commemoration witnessed the progress made through partnership and innovation, including the start of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) Work Programme 2021-2025.
It welcomed the finalisation of key documents that set strategic actions in disaster management in the next five years, including the launch of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Adaptation to Drought 2021-2025; the ASEAN Framework on Protection, Gender and Inclusion 2021-2025; the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action in Disaster Management (JSPADM) IV 2021-2025; the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook; among others./.
Indonesian expert suggests solutions to COVID-19 in Vietnam
Senior expert Veeramalla Anjaiah from the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) in Indonesia has expressed his appreciation for Vietnam’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview recently granted to a Vietnam News Agency reporter in Jakarta, Anjaiah said Vietnam did quite well in pandemic prevention and control during the early stages of the outbreak and was subsequently not impacted by the pandemic for a long period of time.
However, the more infectious Delta variant has caused the fourth outbreak wave in the nation.
Anjaiah, therefore, recommended that first, like Indonesia, the country should be properly aware of the pandemic and strive to increase its predictability. While it is impossible to wipe out the SARS-CoV-2 virus, countries globally must find a way to live together safely with it.
He suggested that Vietnam should learn lessons from Indonesia in handling the disease, which is to push the vaccination rate as soon as possible, up to 65-70 percent of the national population at best in order to achieve herd immunity.
With a population of over 90 million people, Vietnam needs to vaccinate at least 65-70 million residents. After achieving the goal of giving the first and second shots, the country should then consider planning booster shots to achieve greater vaccine efficacy. Therefore, diversifying vaccine types and ensuring supply should be done as swiftly as possible, he said.
He added that though the pandemic has eased in severity, citizens still need to seriously follow social distancing measures, wear masks, wash hands regularly, and avoid mass gatherings.
The expert expressed his belief that Vietnam could overcome the pandemic quickly thanks to drastic actions by the Government and high public awareness./.
Ninth ASEAN ministerial meeting on disaster management held
The ninth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management (AMMDM), the 10th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) and related meetings were held virtually from October 11-14.
During the meetings, ASEAN and partners reaffirmed commitments to fostering cooperation in improving resilience to disasters in the region. They also commended the successful launch and ongoing progress of the ADDMER for the 2021-2025 period.
The meetings noted with satisfaction several achievements, including the endorsement and launch of the ASEAN Disaster Resilience Outlook: Preparing for a Future Beyond 2025, the Web-based Monitoring and Evaluation System of the AADMER Work Programme 2021-2025; the recommendation report of the ASEAN Mapping Exercise to Promote Synergy with Other Relevant ASEAN Sectoral Bodies, ASEAN Centres, and Entities Adopted 2 Associated with ASEAN on Disaster Management, the ASEAN-UN Joint Strategic Plan of Action on Disaster Management (JSPADM) IV 2021- 2025, the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on Adaptation to Drought (ARPA-AD) 2021-2025, and the ASEAN Regional Framework on Protection, Gender and Inclusion in Disaster Management 2021-2025.
They charted out strategic orientations to full and effective implementation of the AADMER Work Programme 2021-2025, advancing the ASEAN Declaration on “One ASEAN, One Response”, as well as realising 2025 ASEAN Vision on Disaster Management.
On the occasion, ASEAN also held the AMMDM Plus with dialogue countries China and Japan, during which they once again affirmed the resolve to boost cooperation to improve their resilience to disasters and mitigate their risks in the region.
Earlier, the 39th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), the second ACDM Plus China Meeting, the second ACDM Plus Japan Meeting, the first ACDM Plus Korea Meeting, and the 16th Joint Task Force on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (JTF-HADR) were also held./.
Japanese prefecture fosters sound relations with Vietnam
An exhibition was held on October 15 in Kanagawa prefecture of Japan to promote its relationship with Vietnam and introduce products of the Southeast Asian country to local people.
Speaking with reporters at the event’s opening ceremony held in Yokohama city, Kanagawa's Governor Kuroiwa Yuji said the Vietnam Festival in Kanagawa was held annually during 2015-2019. However, it was postponed in the past two years due to COVID-19, and so was the Kanagawa Festival in Vietnam.
Instead, the Kanagawa-Vietnam exchange exhibition was organised this year to further bolster the sound relations between the two sides, he added.
Kuroiwa said the number of Vietnamese living and working in Kanagawa, the second-most populous prefecture of Japan, has seen a 2.5-fold increase since 2015. More businesses of the prefecture are keen on investing in Vietnam, the Governor stated.
For his part, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Vu Hong Nam highly valued the holding of the event, which helped promote Vietnamese products and landscapes to Japanese friends.
He appreciated efforts made by Vietnamese localities, under the guidelines of the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Government, to study hardships facing Japanese firms operating in Vietnam caused by COVID-19, and devise prompt solutions to address such difficulties so as to ensure safety for workers and curb the spread of the pandemic./.
Vietnamese, Lao Party officials hold online talks
Politburo member and permanent member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee’s Secretariat Vo Van Thuong held online talks with his counterpart from the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Bunthoong Chitmany on October 15.
Thuong expressed his belief that under the leadership of the LPRP, the fraternal Lao people will continue reaping greater achievements in the cause of national renovation, construction and defence, successfully realise the Resolution adopted by the 11th National LPRP Congress and the ninth five-year socio-economic development scheme, thus improving Laos’ position and role on the international arena.
Chitmany, who is also Vice President of Laos, congratulated Vietnam on its great achievements over the past years, considering it a great source of encouragement for Laos. He believed that under the leadership of the CPV, the Vietnamese people will continue scoring new successes, realise the Resolution adopted by the 13th National CPV Congress and build a modern-oriented industrialised nation in the mid-21st century.
Both sides informed each other about the situation of each Party and country, shared experience in the building of the Party and political system, corruption prevention and control, Party inspection and discipline, as well as measures to realise each Party’s Resolution.
They shared the view that ties between the two Parties and nations have been consolidated in various areas, bringing practical benefits to the two countries' people. They affirmed that under any circumstance, they will do their best to ceaselessly foster their traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive partnership.
The officials pledged to effectively coordinate in carrying out agreements reached by their high-ranking leaders, focusing on organising visits and online talks, enhancing the sharing of information and experience in building the Party and political system, socio-economic development and global integration, and holding theoretical seminars between the two Parties and training courses for LPRP officials.
They agreed to raise the awareness of the public, especially young generations, about Vietnam – Laos special relations, jointly make good preparations for celebrations for the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Laos – Vietnam, Vietnam – Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation next year, as well as actively implement bilateral joint projects and works./.
Vietnam records additional 3,797 COVID-19 cases on October 15
A total of 3,797 new COVID-19 cases and 93 more deaths were reported in Vietnam on October 15, the Ministry of Health announced.
The nationwide tally since the beginning of the pandemic stands at 857,639. The total number of deaths is 21,043.
Among the new cases, eight were imported and the rest were local transmissions. Of the new infections, 1,475 were detected in the community.
The number of infections increased by 701 cases compared to the figure on the previous day.
Ho Chi Minh City still has the highest infection rate with 1,131 cases, followed by the neighbouring provinces of Dong Nai (586), and Binh Duong (533). The capital city of Hanoi reported one new case.
Other provinces and cities that recorded COVID cases are Soc Trang (414), An Giang (170), Ca Mau (168), Kien Giang (82), Dong Thap (78), Tien Giang (70), Tay Ninh (64), Long An (47), Can Tho (43), Bac Lieu (40), Hau Giang (34), Gia Lai (30), Khanh Hoa (28), Thanh Hoa (27), Nghe An (25), Thua Thien Hue (22), Tra Vinh (18), Vinh Long (15), Ha Nam (15), Quang Tri (13), Ba Ria - Vung Tau (12), Quang Binh (12), Ben Tre (12), Quang Nam (11), Binh Phuoc (11), Ninh Thuan (9), Son La (9), Binh Dinh (9), Lam Dong (8 ), Dak Nong (8 ), Quang Ngai (7), Phu Tho (5), Kon Tum (4), Ha Tinh (4), Lai Chau (2), Yen Bai (2), Hung Yen (2), Thai Binh (2), Phu Yen (2), Hai Duong (1), Bac Giang (1), Lang Son (1), and Lao Cai (1).
It was also announced the same day that 918 patients have fully recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 788,923.
Of the 3,847 COVID-19 patients being treated in hospitals at the moment, 21 are on life support (ECMO).
More than 59 million doses of vaccines have been administered so far in Vietnam. Nearly 17.2 million people have fully received two jabs./.
Seminar seeks to improve firms’ role in climate change response
A seminar on promoting the involvement of pioneering enterprises in natural disaster prevention and control, and response to climate change and epidemics was held in Hanoi on October 15.
Co-organised by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Vietnam Disaster Management Authority (VNDMA), the event aimed to respond to International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (October 13) in order to review the impacts of natural disasters, climate change and epidemics on Vietnamese businesses, as well as policy impacts on the role of enterprises in the field.
In his opening speech, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Vietnam Partrick Haveman said UNDP together with relevant agencies have encouraged technical working and research groups, organisations and business associations to acquire new initiatives to help businesses improve their resilience to shocks like COVID-19 and mitigate the impacts of disasters and epidemics.
Citing the World Bank’s report on the role of the Vietnamese firms in disaster prevention and climate change response, Head of the VCCI’s Legal Affairs Department Dau Anh Tuan said Vietnam is one of the countries hardest hit by extreme weather. Economic losses caused by natural disasters could amount to nearly 1.5 percent of its annual gross domestic product and could keep rising in the future, he said.
Agriculture suffers the most consequences of natural disasters while newly-established firms are also the most vulnerable to climate change. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 71 percent of companies reported year-on-year decline in revenues this year, Tuan said.
According to the official, 63 percent of joint ventures and 49 percent of foreign-invested enterprises have actively joined in efforts to overcome consequences caused by natural disasters. Therefore, the building of a national strategy on disaster prevention and control as well as the role of business community is needed at present.
VNDMA Deputy General Director Nguyen Van Tien said Vietnam has been one of the five countries hardest hit by climate change over the past three decades. Each year, natural disasters leave about 400 dead and missing and cause economic losses of 1-1.5 percent of the GDP.
Since the beginning of this year, calamities have left more than 100 dead and injured, collapsed hundreds of houses and damaged 8,000 houses across the country, he added./.
Vietnam voices support for peace, reconciliation process in Colombia
The UN Security Council convened a session on October 14 to discuss the situation in Colombia and activities of the UN Verification Mission there.
Applauding the political, economic, and social strides in Colombia, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, voiced support for the peace, security, national reconciliation, reunification, and development process in the country, as well as for the role of the UN Verification Mission.
Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy asked all relevant parties to continue engaging in dialogue in a constructive spirit so as to deal with challenges and differences during the peace process, especially via the mechanisms set up under the peace agreement.
Quy also demanded all parties involved take necessary measures and effectively use mechanisms for guaranteeing security in the protection of civilians, particularly women and children.
At the event, speakers said the peace process in Colombia have attained much important progress in terms of politics, security, and economy. They also voiced concern about the continued attacks on and violence against veterans, the black, women, and indigenous people, particularly in rural areas./.
Better implementation required for policies for women’s development
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh on October 15 required ministries, agencies and localities to better implement policies promoting the development of women in general and female entrepreneurs in particular.
The Deputy PM made the request while speaking at a ceremony marking the 91st anniversary of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU). Winners of the Vietnam Women’s Awards and Women Startups Awards were also honoured on this occasion.
The awardees represent many Vietnamese women who are silently contributing to national development and the COVID-19 fight, Minh said.
He asked the VWU to cooperate with ministries, agencies and businesses to carry out the project on supporting women-led startups more effectively.
VWU President Ha Thi Nga highlighted the exemplary individual and units honoured by the Vietnam Women’s Awards this year.
Initiated in 2002, the Vietnam Women’s Awards is one of the biggest prizes designed for women, helping to encourage women to carry forward their talents and knowledge in the cause of national industrialisation and modernisation.
A total of 93 collectives and 164 individuals have won the awards over the past 19 years thanks to their outstanding performance in education, arts, sports, business, agricultural production, management, research, health care, humanitarian and charitable activities, and national defence and security.
This year’s awards went to six collectives and 10 individuals.
Meanwhile, the 2021 Women Startups Awards attracted women of different ages, with the youngest 17 and the oldest 71. Twenty four startup projects honoured at the ceremony were selected from thousands of entries.
Vietnam ready to work with FAO towards sustainable food systems: official
Vietnam is ready to coordinate with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and international partners to achieve the targets of this year’s World Food Day (October 16), an official has said.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh made the remark at a ceremony marking the 41st World Food Day and the 76th anniversary of FAO in Hanoi on October 15.
The World Food Day 2021, themed “Our actions are our future - Better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”, aims to improve awareness of the demand for support for the transition to more effective, flexible, and sustainable food systems. It is also meant to call for joint actions to ensure that food systems are able to supply safe food with reasonable prices and adequate nutrition so that people everywhere can enjoy a dynamic and healthy life.
Doanh said agriculture plays a highly important role in ensuring food security and social and livelihood stability for more than 60 percent of the rural population in Vietnam. It also contributes 18.85 percent of the GDP.
Despite impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, agriculture has firmly guaranteed food security for nearly 100 million people in the country and supply for export, he noted, adding that agricultural exports brought home 35.5 billion USD in the first nine months of 2021, up 18 percent year on year.
Not only paying attention to agricultural production, Vietnam also attaches importance to the role of digital technology and innovation in improving food productivity and safety. It has worked to connect producers with consumers, minimise food losses and wastefulness, boost the resilience of the farm produce supply chain, and promote green and sustainable consumption - an effective solution to protect the environment and community health towards sustainable development, according to the deputy minister.
Vietnam is ready to coordinate with FAO and international partners to work towards the targets of this year’s World Food Day, thereby helping achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Doanh said.
He added the country also wishes to continue receiving assistance and support from FAO in the time ahead.
Francisco Pichon, Country Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said themes related to nutrition and gender equality will be the key issues in the next cooperation programmes between FAO and Vietnam.
He noted the FAO-Vietnam cooperation and actions today are to ensure that no one is left behind, there will be no malnutrition or inequality in the future, and better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life are secured for Vietnamese people.
In September, the first UN Food Systems Summit was held to create consensus on new actions to change the ways the world produces and consumes food so as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Deputy Minister Doanh said President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s participation in this event demonstrated Vietnam’s commitment to shifting to and developing a transparent, responsible, and sustainable food system in the “new normal”./.
Ben Tre tightens handling of illegal fishing
Secretary of Ben Tre province’s Party Committee Le Duc Tho asked localities and competent forces to strictly handle violations of fishing regulations at a meeting on fighting the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing on October 14.
The Mekong Delta province has taken an array of measures, in line with the government's resolve to have the European Commission (EC)’s “yellow card” removed as early as possible.
Ben Tre has stepped up coordination with information and communion agencies to raise public awareness of relevant regulations.
Competent agencies and local authorities have kept a close watch on the registration of vessels, the installation of monitoring devices and the operation of local fishing boats at sea, especially large boats going deep sea fishing, and strictly handled violations.
For boats that register in Ben Tre but operate in other localities, Tho required coordination with those localities in supervision work.
He also urged the coastal guard force to boost inspections to prevent any boats not meeting regulations from going to sea, and quickly detect and punish boats violating foreign waters, fishing illegally, and or involving in the organisation of illegal exit from and entry into Vietnam.
According to the provincial People’s Committee, up to 98.8 percent of fishing boats meeting requirements in Ben Tre have installed monitoring devices.
Since the beginning of this year, competent forces have found seven fishing boats violating foreign waters. Four of them were fined a total 3.2 billion VND (140,600 USD), while papers for punishment for the three others are being completed. /.
Travel firms in HCM City resume selling tours
Travel firms in Ho Chi Minh City have resumed selling tours as the southern metropolis has allowed tourism services in “green zones” after a period of social distancing due to COVID-19.
From October, HCM City has allowed tourism activities in the so-called “green zones,” where the pandemic outbreak has been contained. Holidaymakers have to go in groups and travel within a day.
Saigontourist Travel Service Company is the pioneer in the city’s tourism programme, following the success of eight pilot tours to Can Gio and Cu Chi districts held exclusively for medical workers working in the pandemic fight.
Doan Thi Thanh Tra, Director of Marketing and Communications of Saigontourist, said her company has offered two tours to Can Gio and Cu Chi.
Saigontourist and Bao Viet Insurance in Ho Chi Minh City signed an expanded tourism insurance contract covering tourists infected with the coronavirus during the company’s tours, Tra added.
A representative from Vietravel said the firm will develop intra-region products and provide on-the-spot services.
According to Nguyen Minh Man, Director of Communications and Marketing of TST tourist, many customers have shown interest in tours again, focusing on Phu Quoc, Ha Long, Yen Tu and Cat Ba.
He suggested management agencies and authorities soon issue guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control, including procedures to deal with COVID-19 cases detected among vacationers, to facilitate the resumption of tourism.
Nguyen Thi Khanh, Chairwoman of the HCM City Tourism Association, urged travel firms and relevant agencies to make use of existing regional connectivity agreements to launch “travel bubble” and build tourist sites free from the coronavirus.
Travel companies are waiting for concerted policies regarding the “COVID-19 green cards” to further revive the tourism sector./.
Cai luong story sharing campaign kicks off
The YUME Art Project has launched a campaign calling upon youth to tell their stories about Cai luong (reformed opera) on social network platforms.
Sponsored by the British Council, the campaign targets people aged between 15 and 35 with interest in traditional art, with entries in forms of podcasts, videos, photos, and graphic designs submitted from October 1 to November 15.
Voting for these submissions opens from October 15 to December 7.
The results awarding entries in terms of materials, creativity, communications, and public voting will be announced on December 23, with the highest prize valued at 2.5 million VND (109.76 USD).
Cai luong is the convergence of southern Vietnamese folk songs, classical music, tuong (traditional opera) and modern spoken drama.
About 100 years ago, authors like Ho Bieu Chanh and Dang Thuc Lieng introduced Cai luong to the public. Chanh and his friend set up cai luong troupes that staged performances across Sai Gon (now Ho Chi Minh City) and Mekong Delta provinces. The birth of the art had enriched people’s spiritual life, becoming the most popular art genre at that time, especially during the 1960s.
Between 1975 and 1990, Ho Chi Minh City was home to more than 20 Cai luong troupes that performed at 15 theatres, with each attracting thousands of audiences each night.
Cai luong was the first traditional Vietnamese art genre that had been introduced in Paris in the first half of the 20th century. During the wars against French and American forces, it served as a spiritual weapon, helping to encourage people to join revolutionary movements, particularly in southern provinces./.
HCMC suggested to prioritize socio-economic aspects in urban planning
Seeing that certain land resources in Ho Chi Minh City are underused or abandoned wastefully due mostly to project suspension and legal issues, experts in the field propose that the municipal authorities focus more on methods related to investors and law adjustment.
Vice Chairman of the HCMC Urban Development and Planning Association Nguyen Minh Hoa stressed on the measures to attract important investors to address current problems regarding land resources in HCMC.
He explained that many land projects are suspended because they do not consider socio-economic development aspects, which should be done before urban space planning for a more sustainable growth. The reason is to more precisely evaluate the potential development corresponding to the existing natural resources of a certain area, as well as current global trends, in order to devise the most suitable policy.
As to land compensation and recovery, Vice Chairman Hoa said that the only way to speed up this task is to adjust outdated content in legal documents and mechanisms, especially compensation price. He also suggested to seek a strong investor who has the power to logically handle current congestions, while the Government needs to impose a deadline for project completion.
At present, the surface area of HCMC is around 2,061km2, yet only 750km2 is actively used. Therefore, he mentioned the necessity to use land more effectively via re-categorizing parcels and upgrading technical and social infrastructure to attract more residents.
Lawyer Le Trung Phat, Director of Le Trung Phat Law Firm, recommended a change in investor capacity evaluation.
Before the introduction of the 2020 Investment Law, there used to be overlaps between the 2014 Investment Law and the 2013 Land Law, leading to inconsistency in project permit withdrawal. The 2014 Investment Law states that an investor without the capacity to complete a land project after 12 months will have the permit withdrew, yet the 2013 Land Law allows an extension of this deadline to 24 months. This contradiction has obviously been addressed in the 2020 Investment Law when it says that the Land Law has the final saying in project permit withdrawal.
Director Phat advised that there should be a bidding mechanism for land use in projects; the regulation to assess the financial capacity of investors through the charter capital of the company they registered with the authorities is not adequate; functional agencies should increase their monitoring over the progress of a land project, with severe punishments for those behind schedule; and it is necessary to have specific local planning to avoid localities massively approving land projects because of budget collection pressure.
These changes will allow the authorities to better understand the project progress and increase information transparency for investors’ clients.
Director General of Van Phuc Land Nguyen Thanh Huong proposed to focus more on housing projects that can satisfy the public’s accommodation needs.
She commented that many residential projects are left uncompleted because it would be so troublesome to come and live there due to the inconsistency in basic infrastructure and a lack of necessary facilities, not to mention the long proximity to existing residential areas. When approving a certain project, the authorities should consider whether the project answers the current accommodation needs of the community or not.
Finally, she mentioned the need to select a capable investor for a land project to minimize cases of businesses just selling the land right to clients without finishing building proper housing on those land lots.
The 11 policies proposed to have amendments in the Land Law are:
1. Clarify the role and responsibility of the Government as the representative of land owners; unify the methods for land management, decentralization, and administrative procedure reforming.
2. Classify land in accordance with uses, space, and functions.
3. Complete regulations on land users to ensure consistency with relevant laws.
4. Improve the planning processes, protect and increase the quality of land.
5. Retrieve land to better exploit the land resource for socio-economic development of the nation.
6. Perfect the policy to change land use from rice-growing, protection forest, special-use forest to other uses.
7. Update land price, compensation price, resettlement support when the Government recovers land.
8. Measure land to make cadastral records and land certificates, build a land database and related information.
9. Manage and use agricultural land to promote land gathering for large-scaled centralized agricultural production.
10. Complete regulations on land users’ rights and usage modes of land kinds.
11. Complete the mechanism for settling land disputes.
Abandoned, underused land in HCMC requires urgent attention
While land resources in Ho Chi Minh City becomes increasingly scarce, leaving many people homeless, there are other parcels underused or even abandoned. Obviously, this paradoxical situation needs immediate handling by the authorities.
It is not hard at all to find in Hoc Mon District, Cu Chi District, and Thu Duc City a huge vacant lot surrounded by wired fence. Local people near those lots informed that the land owners mostly live in the inner city and buying these parcels is their investment method.
Statistics from the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment reveal that there is an increase at the rate of over 1,100ha a year in the surface area of agricultural land in suburban districts changing to non-agricultural purposes or leaving unused. Noticeably, in the districts of Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh, more than 3,000ha of agricultural land either belongs to suspended projects or is left abandoned by owners, or even severely polluted by industrial waste.
This is the result of ineffective management of manufacturing plants causing environmental pollution in the inner city 20 years ago. They should been given a chance to upgrade their production lines and waste treatment instead of a simple relocation to outskirt areas. To amend the situation, functional agencies in HCMC is inspecting and punishing any business creating pollution to the environment, especially rivers and channels.
The HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment reported that in HCMC, there are hundreds of new urban areas without or with so few residents. Such examples are Khang An residential area with 350 villas and urban houses in Phu Huu Ward or the vacant Dong Tang Long urban area in Truong Thanh Ward of Thu Duc City.
Another pitiful case is the 13A residential area in the Southern new urban area with the surface area of 378,000m². The construction project started 15 years ago in hope of becoming a modern residential area full of facilities like department stores, parks, playgrounds. At that time, the parcels of the project had a price of VND40-50 million (US$1,800) per square meter. At present, however, only a few houses are completed. Other lots are left vacant, and weeds are as high as 2 meters.
The reason for this downgrading state is the lack of necessary residential infrastructure. In addition, many land owners just buy the lots as an investment method to earn profit. That has partially contributed to the land waste and affected the overall architectural beauty.
Besides the low accommodation need of land buyers, tardiness in land compensation and recovery task plays a negative role in project suspension. Among the 75 projects under the responsibility of the HCMC Management Board for Traffic Infrastructure Investment and Construction, 57 cannot proceed due to this reason.
This tardiness also causes a rise in overhead cost, some even a double, like the expansion project for Hanoi Highway or the construction project of leftover parts of Ring Road No.2. This creates loss for both contractors as well as the State since socio-economic activities related to these facilities cannot be done and residents in these areas cannot enjoy a stable life.
In 2020, the Prime Minister issued Resolution No.27 to allow HCMC to pilot special mechanisms and procedures to shorten the time of land compensation and to offer resettlement support. That legal document was expected to address the land recovery problem, yet it was not enough. Experts in the field stated that the Government should review construction and planning laws as well.
Being planned as a public facility, the land of many people cannot be transformed into other useful purposes or constructed. The localities could not invest in those lots either, which makes the land value lower than the market price and unfairness to land owners. Therefore, they refuse the compensation price, and the land recovery task cannot be completed.
Once the task is prolonged for maybe many years, this land compensation price gradually becomes outdated. Obviously, it is impossible for land owners to agree with that price, even though the compensation price for buildings on the land is satisfactory.
To address the situation, Vice Chairman of HCMC People’s Committee Le Hoa Binh signed Decision No.539/QD-UBND along with the key project ‘Land Management and Methods to Effectively Use Land in HCMC’.
Accordingly, HCMC People’s Committee proposes these solutions of
_computerizing the calculation of land price to ensure objectiveness, starting with the selection of standard parcels which are annually priced to develop a land value map;
_deciding the rate not subjectively by the authorities
_using the majority consensus method among resettled residents to on-site resettlement measures in the case of building new or expanding current streets by acquiring neighboring land
_valuating land immediately when investment projects are approved and refusing land price increase to calculate compensation or support value since the project starts
Vietnam receives nearly 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine donated by Poland, RoK
The Ministry of Health on October 15 received nearly 2 million doses of COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine presented by Poland and the Republic of Korea (RoK) to help Vietnam battle against the pandemic.
This time, the Government and people of Poland offered 887,700 doses of vaccine to Vietnam, which arrived in the country on October 14. Poland previously presented 501,600 AstraZeneca doses to the Southeast Asian nation.
Meanwhile, the Government and people of the RoK donated 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Vietnam, which were delivered on October 13 night.
At the handover ceremony, Polish Ambassador to Vietnam Wojciech Gerwel said that the Government and people of Poland are thankful to the Vietnamese community in Poland for their support during the European country’s COVID-19 fight.
For his part, Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan said the RoK side is considering the possibility of granting an additional 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Vietnam in the coming time.
Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen thanked the governments and people of Poland and the RoK for their assistance to Vietnam’s COVID-19 fight in particular and public health services in general. He expressed his wish to receive more support from the governments and people of Poland and the RoK in the coming time.
He underlined that Vietnamese agencies are exerting efforts to speed up vaccinations to reach herd immunity as soon as possible./.
Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/SGGP/Nhan Dan
Two more domestic air routes to be resumed in October