Norway-Việt Nam: together to achieve a greener future for our children

May 17, 2023 - 07:16
On the occasion of the Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17, Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam, H.E. Ms Hilde Solbakken shared with the Việt Nam News her first address with hopes for the promising future of cooperation between Norway and Việt Nam.

Norwegian Ambassador to Việt Nam HE Ms Hilde Solbakken wrote to Việt Nam News on Norwegian Constitution Day

On May 17, 1814, the Norwegian constitution was adopted. It is now one of the oldest constitutions in Europe. At the time, it was a radical and progressive constitution, founded on the principles of separation of power and human rights. These principles, and the core values they embody – openness and trust, freedom of expression, inclusive decision-making processes, and effective rule of law - have become the backbone of the Norwegian society as we know it today.

After World War 2, a new and broader meaning was added to the celebration of the 17th of May. By standing together as one nation and with our allies, we had won back our freedom from the German occupation. Today’s war in Europe once again proves that it is a privilege to live in a peaceful society and that this should not be taken for granted.

The Norwegian national day looks different than in many other countries. There are no military parades. Instead, it is a party for everyone, especially for children. More often than not, official speeches are delivered by children instead of by politicians. Wherever you are in Norway on May 17, you will see streets filled with children accompanied by their school bands, waiving Norwegian flags. People dress up in national costumes reflecting all the regions of the country, and high school graduates have a spirited early celebration of their final year before university. They all enjoy an abundance of ice-cream, hot dogs, strawberries and of course, the sound of the national anthem “Ja, vi elsker dette landet”.

Norwegian Ambassador to Việt Nam Hilde Solbakken and her husband and daughter visit the Literature Temple in Hà Nội in the Lunar New Year 2023. Photo courtesy of the embassy

I would like to take this opportunity to speak about the bonds between Việt Nam and Norway. Over the past 52 years since the establishment of our diplomatic ties in 1971, the two countries have enjoyed a good relationship and a rich history of cooperation. However, I would wager that our relationship has never been more dynamic than it is now. We both have abundant energy and marine resources, and we are committed to combating climate change and to developing a sustainable ocean economy. Within these areas, our cooperation is expanding almost daily – with renewable energy, circular economy, fisheries and aquaculture –at the government level and through the private sector.

Norway and Việt Nam will join forces to realise the commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

To accomplish this goal, it is crucial to shift to alternative sources of energy that are clean, sustainable, reliable, and affordable. As part of the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), Norway is working closely with relevant ministries and authorities to help Việt Nam realize its historic net-zero target by 2050.

Norway is partnering with the UNDP to assist the Government of Việt Nam and its ministries and relevant authorities in tackling marine litter, waste management and building a circular economy, which can also contribute to cutting CO2 emissions and accelerating green shift.

In the fisheries sector, Norway and Việt Nam are the second and third biggest seafood exporters in the world. We are in the fortunate position that this does not make us competitors – in fact, we complement each other as seafood nations. There is great potential in further cooperation in sustainable marine aquaculture, representing an important part of the solution to the world’s pressing need for a sustainable food systems transition.

Norwegian Ambassador to Việt Nam Hilde Solbakken at the Viêt Nam Wind Electricity Conference in 2022. Photo courtesy of the embassy

Businesses play a major role in all these areas and are key drivers towards a green and circular economy. With innovation and digitalisation, they can bring systemic change in how we use resources, materials, products, and services. Many Norwegian companies have been active in Việt Nam, making contributions to the country’s socio-economic growth. Others, particularly those in waste management and the renewable energy sector, including offshore wind, look to Việt Nam as a promising destination of investment and cooperation.

Today, we celebrate the Norwegian Constitution Day, but we also celebrate the strong ties with Việt Nam and friends and partners of Norway. We choose to stay optimistic and do what is needed to ensure a better future for our children and grandchildren, where they can live a life filled with greater prosperity, happiness, and freedom.

Congratulations Norway and Hip Hip Hurrah! VNS