Since Vietnam joined the UN in 1977, it has actively engaged in UN-initiated activities, increasing its relations with other member countries and organisations. From the very first days that the country won UN official membership, it received full advocacy from other UN members, including at the 32nd UN General Assembly when it received approval of Resolution 32/2, which called on nations and aid organisations worldwide to help Vietnam’s post-war reconstruction work.
Vietnam has also received substantial financial aid and technical support from the UN for its socio-economic development endeavours.
During the 1977-1991 period, Vietnam’s role and status at the UN were minimised by the Cold War. Despite a myriad of difficulties caused by economic sanctions, Vietnam still managed to mobilise non-refundable aid amounting to more than US$500 million from UN agencies.
UN organisations have played a critical role in helping Vietnam overcome socio-economic difficulties and and consequences of wars and natural disasters. They have also provided Vietnam with assistance in various areas, including healthcare, education, maternal and child protection and care and implementation of family planning. These organisations have also created favourable conditions for Vietnam to improve its scientific and technological development, upgrade and build more production units, and enhance its development competence.
Since 1991, Vietnam has actively adhered to UN programmes covering themes of global concern such as peace, security, disarmament, socio-economic development, family planning and environmental protection, thus helping to raise the country’s status among UN members.
To date, twelve UN agencies have opened representative offices in Vietnam, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAISD), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Vietnam has so far held and run for many positions in UN agencies, namely Vice President of the UN General Assembly in the years of 1997, 2000 and 2003; member of the UNESCO’s Executive Council (1979-1983); Vice President of the UNESCO Executive Council (2001-2003); member of the Economic and Social Council (1998-2000), the Universal Postal Union Executive Council (1999-2004), the International Telecommunications Union (2003-2007); member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (1997-1999; 2003-2005); member of the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Council (2000-2002); member of the Human Rights Committee (2001-2003) and the Social Development Committee (2001- 2005) and President of the FAO’s 33rd General Assembly (2005-2007).
In 1996, Vietnam was a signatory to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and it joined the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in June 17. In 1998, it actively took part in the negotiation process and became an official member of the Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC).
Every year, Vietnam participates in the UN Register of Conventional Arms as one of confidence building measures to other countries and fulfill its UN membership duties.
Vietnam has become one of the world’s leading countries in implementation the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in hunger alleviation and educational aspects, since President Tran Duc Luong signed the commitment on the implementation of MDGs at a UN Summit in September 2000. Over the past five years, Vietnam has made remarkable achievements in enhancing gender equality, improving women’s position in society, protecting maternal and child health and controlling HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
In support of Vietnam’s work toward the MDGs, the UN and Vietnam have signed the “UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Vietnam in the 2006-2010 period”.
Vietnam has decided to run for UN Security Council non-permanent membership for the 2008-2009 tenure in order to increase its contributions to UN peacekeeping activities. At present, Vietnam is the only Asian candidate for the tenure.
UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, in an interview granted to a VNA reporter before his official visit to Vietnam from May 23-25, expressed his pleasure at the fine relations between the Vietnamese government and UN organisations.
Vietnam and the UN have co-operated effectively in various kinds of projects to reach the MDGs by 2015, he added.
Vietnam has achieved remarkable results in the implementation of the MDGs, he said.