Viet Nam News
On the occasion of the Swedish National Day, 6 June, Việt Nam News presents an article written by Camilla Mellander, Swedish Ambassador to Việt Nam.
Sweden, Việt Nam to promote bilateral relations
Swedes all over the world celebrate the Swedish National Day on June 6. On this occasion, allow me to share a few highlights of the Swedish-Vietnamese relations as well as on Sweden’s position in the international arena.
Today, we face new emerging challenges and conflicts are more complex and multidimensional. Managing these requires multifaceted solutions. Sweden’s candidacy for the UN Security Council for the period 2017- 2018 is an expression of our readiness to take responsibility for promoting peace, security and sustainable development in the world.
More than 80,000 Swedish women and men have served in UN peacekeeping operations, we are the number one per capita donor to the Green Climate Fund, the sixth largest donor to the UN globally and our development assistance exceeds 1 per cent of our Gross National Income. We are the sixth largest provider of assessed and voluntary contributions to the UN.
We act in solidarity, stand for transparency, talk with countries rather than about countries, and maintain a proud tradition of giving refuge to those in need.
Sweden is also a very innovative country found at the top of global innovation indexes year after year. Sweden is the birthplace of many successful companies such as ABB, Electrolux, Tetra Pak, AstraZeneca, SKF, Volvo, Ericsson and IKEA. More recent innovations are Skype, Spotify and Bluetooth and we are also big in the gaming sector with well-known games such as Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga. Swedish products are known for long lasting, excellent quality and for low life-cycle cost. Around 60 Swedish companies are already well-established here, but we see a new surge of interest from Swedish companies that are now looking at Việt Nam, from big multinational to medium and small-sized enterprises. The Embassy together with Business Sweden is working actively to support those entering or expanding into the Vietnamese market, and the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement entering into force in 2018 will open up further trade opportunities.
Sweden is the country of the Nobel prize and has a proud history of academic research and excellence. I am happy to see that the number of bright and talented Vietnamese students studying in Sweden is increasing. In Sweden you are not only able to study in English but also encouraged to think critically and “outside the box”. University teachers encourage students to seek new perspectives and come up with new solutions.
This Sunday (June 5) will be World Environment Day. For all countries the crucial question is how to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability and how to protect the quality of air, land and water. Sweden has a very good international reputation for innovative and sustainable solutions in the environmental field. As a way to inspire environmental solutions, the Embassy of Sweden this year launched a nationwide Smart Water Innovation Contest. The aim was to motivate Vietnamese students in higher education to take on sustainable development and climate change challenges and to come up with water related innovations. We received many good proposals and identified a winning team which will be awarded with a trip to Sweden to attend the World Water Week in Stockholm in August this year.
Sweden is also one of the world leaders in gender equality and the Swedish government is promoting a feminist foreign policy to see to that women have equal representation, the same resources and the same rights. Many chairs of Swedish municipalities, country councils, businesses and NGOs are women, as well as around 50 per cent of the members of Swedish government and parliament.
My term as ambassador of Sweden to Việt Nam is coming to an end this summer. It has been an honor for me to serve in Việt Nam and it’s been four very rewarding years. We have achieved great results and have deepened our bilateral relationship significantly. I’m very happy to see the increased interest from Swedish companies looking at Việt Nam and I have witnessed a remarkable transformation of the country. I have come to know many Vietnamese friends and partners from government agencies, institutions, universities, private sector, art scene and civil society. I have also travelled extensively and fallen in love with the natural beauty of Việt Nam. I recently participated in an expedition to the Sơn Đoòng cave and this place is the probably the most unique and beautiful place on earth. I sincerely hope the Vietnamese government will save Sơn Đoòng cave for generations to come. Sweden will remain as Việt Nam’s close friend and partner. Thank you! --VNS