Norway-Việt Nam cooperation – stronger with a green promise

May 16, 2024 - 09:06
On the occasion of the Norwegian Constitution Day, the 17th of May 2024, Norwegian Ambassador to Việt Nam, H.E. Ms Hilde Solbakken shared her address with the Việt Nam News.

On the occasion of Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17, 2024, Norwegian Ambassador to Việt Nam, H.E. Ms. Hilde Solbakken shared her thoughts with Việt Nam News.

Constitution Day – a proud celebration

The Norwegian Constitution was signed 210 years ago on this day in 1814. The document, which is the second oldest Constitution still in use, was radical in its time, with its ideas of national self-determination and the principle that the people themselves should have the right to decide. It was based on principles of sovereignty, separation of powers and individual rights. The Constitution embodies the values Norway is built upon, of freedom, equality, and democracy, and fundamental human rights.

In Norway, May 17 is always filled with celebrations and songs, especially for the children as they represent the future. It is often referred to as “barnas dag” or “children’s day.” You can see children parading through the streets, wearing their national costumes, and proudly waving their flags.

Ambassador Solbakken and her family visit Đường Lâm ancient village during Tết 2024. Photos courtesy of the embassy

2024 is also a year for significant anniversaries in Việt Nam – 70 years since the Geneva Accord, and just ten days ago, 70 years since the Vietnamese victory at Điện Biên Phủ. A truly momentous date in Việt Nam’s struggle for freedom and independence. As President Hồ Chí Minh said several years later: Không có gì quý hơn độc lập tự do (Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom).

On a day when we celebrate freedom and independence, our thoughts inevitably go to the people in Ukraine, the Middle East, and other parts of the world whose security and safety are under threat.

Celebration of Norway-Việt Nam co-operation

Against this somber backdrop, it is worth remembering that there is still more co-operation than conflict in the world, and that we can make a difference by continuing to foster co-operation. Upholding international law and the principles in the UN Charter, and working for a strong multilateral system, are core priorities in the foreign policies of both Norway and Việt Nam. So, as we celebrate May 17 here in Hà Nội, it is also a day to celebrate the co-operation between Norway and Việt Nam.

The highlight of our bilateral relations last year was undoubtedly the visit of Vice President Võ Thị Ánh Xuân to Norway at the end of November. It was a privilege to host the Vietnamese delegation in Oslo for a few beautiful early winter days, and I hope we can exchange many more such visits during my time as Ambassador.

Ambassador Solbakken played football with school children in Huế City in November 2022.

I am very proud that so much of what Norway and Việt Nam are doing together is about finding solutions to global challenges: To combat climate change, we cooperate in the green energy transition – whether it is within the Just Energy Transition Partnership or developing offshore wind. We work on making our economies more circular by developing value chains for plastic that improve waste management and save our environment.

The most striking thing Norway and Việt Nam have in common is our long coastlines. We are the second and third biggest seafood exporters in the world, respectively, and depend on good management of marine resources. Sustainable marine aquaculture can be a key component in food security for the future.

The embodiment of the co-operation between Norway and Việt Nam is the Norwegian companies that are investing, producing, and creating jobs in Việt Nam. Some of them include Equinor, Mainstream and Scatec in renewable energy, including offshore wind; Jotun – one of the world’s leading paint companies; Tomra in circular economy; and the Norwegian Seafood Council and Thoresen Vinama, who have been working in shipping and trading in Việt Nam since 1993.

I would like to name a Norwegian newcomer to Việt Nam: Jon Fosse, the Norwegian author, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year. We are happy to see three – so far – of his many books translated into Vietnamese and released by two Vietnamese publishers. Literature is a profound means of cultural exchange, connecting people across borders, languages, and times.

In the spirit of May 17, I would like to thank our Vietnamese friends and partners of Norway for your cooperation. As we look to the future, we commit to working more closely with Việt Nam and the international community towards a greener and more sustainable Việt Nam!

Happy Norwegian Constitution Day! — VNS