Saturday, December 10 2016

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Viet Nam, France to work together on climate change

Update: December, 02/2015 - 08:46
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (left) holds talks with his French counterpart Manuel Valls in Paris yesterday at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. — VNA/VNS Photo

PARIS (VNS) — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls spoke with Prime Minister Dung in Paris on Monday, saying France and Viet Nam should support each other in climate change response.

PM Valls promised to encourage French businesses to invest in "green growth" projects in Viet Nam.

The leaders acknowledged the momentous establishment of Viet Nam and France's strategic partnership in 2014, laying the foundation for the countries to define long-term goals for co-operation in key areas.

To enhance the bilateral partnership, they agreed to increase contact at all levels, to enhance the role of co-operative mechanisms such as the joint committee on defence co-operation and hold annual high-level economic dialogues. The two sides agreed to organise the 10th conference on co-operation in Viet Nam in September.

France is currently Viet Nam's fifth largest trade partner in the EU, with two-way trade reaching $3.5 billion in 2014. However, the two leaders were not satisfied and said they had not yet met their trade potential.

The French PM said France would continue to advocate for stronger relations between Viet Nam and the EU, particularly in trade and economics. He said France supported the early signing, ratification and enforcement of the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement.

PM Dung said Viet Nam would, in turn, work as a bridge to help France strengthen ties with the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN.

PM Valls spoke highly of Viet Nam's achievements in international integration and in maintaining peace, security and stability in the region.

The two leaders agreed that all disputes in the East Sea needed to be addressed via peaceful measures on the basis of international law, such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, while ensuring security and safety of navigation and aviation in the interests of the international community.

PM Dung offered deep sympathy from the Vietnamese Government and people to the nation of France and the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

French officials

Also yesterday, PM Dung met President of the Senate Gerard Larcher and Speaker of the Lower House Claude Bartolone of France in separate meetings, during which they agreed that Viet Nam and France needed to do more to develop their ties, especially in economics, trade and investment. They agreed to do this in a result-oriented manner to meet the respective countries' current developmental requirements.

Dung delivered the Vietnamese people's sympathy with the French parliament and people over losses and pain caused by the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13.

Dung affirmed that France was a big economic, trade and investment partner for Viet Nam, asking the Senate and the Lower House to continue backing and facilitating connectivity between businesses, the French Government's maintenance of co-operative efforts and support for Viet Nam to achieve its sustainable development goals.

He also suggested the Senate and the Lower House complete their ratification of the Viet Nam-EU Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA), and support the early signing and prompt implementation of the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The Speakers pledged support for multi-dimensional ties between Viet Nam and the EU, as well as the quick ratification of the PCA. They said they would urge the French Government to support the EVFTA as part of efforts to contribute to broadening co-operation potential and deepening the Viet Nam-EU comprehensive strategic partnership in general and the Viet Nam-France strategic partnership in particular.

Both hosts and guest touched upon the situation in the East Sea and developments that threatened navigation, aviation security, safety and freedom in waters that house a huge maritime route linking Asia and Europe.

The Speakers stressed that maritime security and safety were always high priorities for France, agreeing that the disputes should be addressed peacefully through negotiations and with respect for international law – the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

VN to donate to fund

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced that Viet Nam would contribute US$1 million to the Green Climate Fund from 2016-2020 in a speech at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris on Monday.

Speaking to 150 heads of State, Government and leaders of international organisations representing 196 UNFCC members, the PM reiterated the Vietnamese Government's political commitment to joining global efforts to cope with climate change.

He said Viet Nam pledged to step up the negotiations and adoption of the post-2020 global climate agreement.

Its contents should ensure equal contributions are made by all countries, and reach a balance between emissions reduction, adaptation, financing, technology transfer and development, he said, adding that developed countries should lead the way by meeting their commitments and helping developing countries realise the agreement.

Despite difficulties in pooling resources, he vowed that Viet Nam would continue to carry out programmes and plan to tackle climate change while fulfilling obligations set in the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

He said that Viet Nam would keep its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8 per cent by 2030, and up to 25 per cent with international support.

The leader noted that the recently adopted Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development required strong political commitment and close co-operation to effectively fulfill the global climate agreement beyond 2020.

On behalf of the Vietnamese Government and people, he expressed his hope for further assistance from countries and international organisations in Viet Nam's socio-economic development and fight against climate change.

He also thanked France for hosting the event, and expressed support and solidarity with French citizens over the recent terror attacks.

Sideline meetings

PM Dung also held a marathon of bilateral meetings with leaders of 24 countries on Monday on the sidelines of the ongoing 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris.

Dung's dizzying schedule included: the UK, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Finland, Chile, Iran, Cuba, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Ukraine, Slovenia, Algeria, Bulgaria, Italy, Panama, New Zealand and Latvia.

PM Dung reiterated Viet Nam's policy of promoting and enhancing friendship and intensive, result-oriented co-operation with the countries.

Expressing his thanks for the many countries' support of Viet Nam's sustainable development, he then appealed for their continued assistance during the nation's construction and development in the time ahead.

He proposed specific concrete measures to foster multi-faceted co-operation between Viet Nam and each country, but asked them all to back Viet Nam's bid for seats in the UN's major agencies.

Leaders of the 24 countries uniformly expressed their admiration for Viet Nam's socio-economic and cultural achievements, its role and prestige in Asia-Pacific and the international arena, and its contribution to global efforts against climate change.

Many a leader voiced support of the viewpoints of Viet Nam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on issues in the East Sea.

In Dung's meeting with WB President Jim Yong Kim, he spoke highly of the bank's support for Viet Nam's socio-economic development, especially its grant of preferential loans of nearly US$1.7 billion for the 17th term of the International Development Association (IDA). He asked that the WB continue accompanying Viet Nam throughout its development and integration in the coming time.

President Jim Yong Kim described Viet Nam as a shining example of development, saying he was impressed by Viet Nam's ambitious targets, particularly those concerning climate change.

The WB would do its utmost to help Viet Nam realise its transitional targets, he said, and stand by the country as it copes with the effects of climate change.

At a meeting with Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) President Kim Young-mok, Dung expressed gratitude for the agency's support of the country's development projects and asked for assistance in infrastructure development and climate change response, especially in the Mekong Delta.

The KOICA head affirmed that Viet Nam is the Republic of Korea's largest infrastructure and development partner, and was willing to help build institutional capacity and pledged stronger support for climate change efforts.

Meeting with CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Naoko Ishii, PM Dung said that the support of the GEF allowed Viet Nam to more effectively address environmental issues such as harmful waste, biodiversity, climate change and land and water degradation.

Noting her concern over sea level rise, Naoko Ishii said the GEF could assist in sustainable urban development, climate change projects in Viet Nam's delta region and work with Mekong countries to protect the river's water resources.

An important role

On the same day, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Irina Bokova told PM Dung that Viet Nam played an important role in intensifying mutual understanding and co-operation between UNESCO member states during their meeting at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Bokova said the PM's visit was a manifestation of the close relationship between UNESCO and Viet Nam.

Viet Nam had contributed effectively to preserving and promoting the cultural values of humanity, as well as implementing Millennium Development Goals in education, sustainable development, environmental resources protection and climate change adaptation, she affirmed.

She praised Viet Nam as one of the 10 countries that had successfully piloted the "One UN House" initiative. She also backed the country's sending of officials to work at UNESCO offices and hoped for Viet Nam's support as the organisation enhanced co-operation with ASEAN.

PM Dung stressed that Viet Nam wished to build trusted relationship with UNESCO and its member states since it became a UNESCO member in 1976.

UNESCO had also contributed to Viet Nam's communities and localities, particularly in lawmaking.

Thanking the member states for selecting Viet Nam for the UNESCO Executive Council for the fourth time, the Government leader confirmed that Viet Nam would join efforts to participate in the organisation's decisions, while remaining an active and responsible member of the international community.

He expressed his hope that the organisation would continue to support Viet Nam as it trained human resources in the culture sphere and sought more world heritage recognition. — VNS

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