offers nuclear power know-how
ambassador Herve Bolot talks to Viet Nam News on the occasion of France’s
National Day today.
|Ambassador Herve Bolot
you briefly list the important events marking bilateral relations between Viet
Nam and France since your arrival in Viet Nam as French Ambassador?
One of the most important
events, only two months after I was posted here, was the visit to France by Viet
Nam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
This was a very important
visit because the highest authorities of our two countries decided to reinforce
our relationship in every field. High level visits took place, and the
relationship at the political level is alive and well.
Of course, relations in
the last two years presented many other features, notably the Presidency of the
EU. I also remember the launching of Vinasat by Ariane 5, the European launcher,
from French Guyana. We also organised many events with our Vietnamese partners,
in various fields (medicine, investment and teaching), and many cultural events
took place, such as the restoration of parts of the Cham Museum in Da Nang. Most
recently, I attended the inauguration of Viet Nam’s first satellite image
receiver, which received financial support from the French Government.
last year granted 1.5 million euros as a supplement to the 30 million euros
(US$47.5 million) loan previously granted by the French Agency for Development
to the HCM City Investment Fund for Urban Development to finance public
infrastructures. How do you assess the effectiveness of the grant?
The grant is effective.
The HCM City Investment Fund (HIFU) is in the process of preparing and
publishing calls for proposals for consultants who will reinforce HIFU’s
capacity in investment project assessments and help with management and
In another interview with
Viet Nam News, you mentioned the low rate of disbursement of France’s aid in
Viet Nam. The disbursement rate was 69 per cent in 2000-05 and only 34 per cent
in 2006. Have you seen any improvement in the past two years?
The disbursement rates you
mention seem to have been calculated on a different basis. Let me just say that
France is the second bilateral donor to Viet Nam and, since 1989, has been very
involved through ODA in supporting Viet Nam in meeting its development
challenges in regards to environmental protection, social development, climate
change issues and infrastructure improvement. In this regard, it is expected
that our new commitments for 2009 will surpass the 220 million euros that were
pledged at the CG meeting of December 2008. Having said that, the ODA
disbursement rate is crucial in terms of how to bring effective and rapid
benefits to Vietnamese citizens. In this respect, the French Development Agency
and the French Directorate General for Treasury and Economic Policy together
achieved in 2008 a disbursement rate of roughly 13.3 per cent, which I would
qualify as fair and quite similar to those of other main donors in Viet Nam.
are cultural exchanges between France and Viet Nam progressing?
Co-operation in this field
has been shown with "French Season 2009", which aims at disseminating
contemporary creations in all fields. Everywhere in Viet Nam, in Ha Noi and HCM
City, Hai Phong and Hue, Da Nang and Can Tho, we have proposed a dozen events
every week and will participate in about 20 international events every year, be
it the international festival in Hue, the "French Spring" or any of a
number of European Festivals. More and more French artists have come to Viet Nam
to introduce French culture to Vietnamese audiences. We will also support
important cultural events, and in particular, we will support the Millennium
anniversary of Thang Long-Ha Noi. And the Embassy won’t be the only one doing
so: French and Vietnamese businesses will give generous support, as well as
French local authorities, who are very active in the visual arts and street
performances. We will soon begin preparations for "French Season
2010", so let me invite your readers to participate in these diverse and
de Paris. — VNS Photo Viet Thanh
has said that it will support Viet Nam in training about 10,000 doctors from now
to 2020. What activities will be carried out to realise this goal? What are
opportunities to broaden co-operation in education?
France is already
supporting Viet Nam in training PhDs and will specifically support 2,000 PhD’s
in the framework of the programme, "20,000 new PhD’s for Vietnamese
Universities by 2020". On one hand, 400 PhD’s (40 each year) will be
trained as teachers, researchers and managers for the new Ha Noi University of
Sciences and Technology (HUST), and will become scientists in the main fields of
HUST as well; on the other hand, a Vietnamese and a French university will
create a partnership to bring forward a specific project, for instance building
or developing a laboratory.
has continuously supported Viet Nam in research and the care of HIV/AIDS
patients since the 1990s. How do you evaluate co-operation in this field? Are
there any new activities planned for the future?
at a glance
Population: About 64 million
National Flag: Blue, white and red
Over the years, we have
built an outstanding relationship in this field, so close that it led Nobel
Prize of Medicine recipient Mrs Barr-Sinoussi to again visit Viet Nam a few
months ago, for an ANRS (French National Agency for Scientific Research)
seminar. ANRS has had a close working relationship with the Pasteur Institute
and, with a view to develop clinical research, partnerships have been forged
with several hospitals in HCM City. The principal lines of research are
virology, clinical research developed through a trial on the treatment of adults
co-infected with HIV and tuberculosis and studies on the diagnosis of
tuberculosis in children.
ESTHER (the Network for
Therapeutic Solidarity in Hospitals) also supports partnerships that enable us
to structure care around the hospital and social networks on a long-term basis.
In Viet Nam, ESTHER’s programmes are implemented by partners such as hospitals
and research centres in France and Viet Nam. ESTHER strives to improve
conditions by enhancing technical platforms and the supply of hospital
equipment, to support national care strategies for people living with HIV/AIDS,
to promote and support the implementation of a continuous care strategy and to
take part in joint actions with international organisations to help provide
coherent interventions and increase long-term access to care and treatment.
is also well-known for producing nuclear energy, which accounts for 85 per cent
of the country’s power, or reduce dependence on oil. Can France share with
Viet Nam its experiences in this field?
You are right to mention
that France has the highest per capita equipment rate. It also has the best
safety record in the world. France is ready and willing to share its experiences
in nuclear power. Two weeks ago, major French players in this field paid a visit
to Viet Nam to exchange and discuss ongoing co-operation. The research agency (CEA),
the nuclear safety and radioprotection agency, the operator Electricity of
France (EDF), AREVA and others were here to meet all the Vietnamese
stakeholders. They presented their experiences in building and operating nuclear
facilities. We do hope that co-operation in this field will deepen in the near