|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (right) shakes hand with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that opened in Paris yesterday. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
PARIS (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attended the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) that opened in Paris yesterday.
On the sideline of the conference, PM Dung, the PM of Holand, Mark Rutte and Vice President of the World Bank, Laura Tusk, co-chaired a high level dialogue on the co-operation between Viet Nam with international partners in coping with challenges of climate change in Cuu Long (Mekong) River Delta.
The dialogue attracted the participation of representatives from many countries, international and Vietnamese organizations as well as provincial authorities from the Cuu Long River Delta.
Stressing on the priority of investment in the region, the PM said the Vietnamese Government was focusing on undertaking activities against the impact from climate change and the sea rising by integrating them with economic restructuring and sustainable socio-economic development in the region.
Besides, he said, Viet Nam continued to boost management of damage caused by natural disasters by setting effective urbanisation plans.
The PM also stressed the role of communication in improving people and business' awareness and participation in environment activities.
Before the opening ceremony of the Conference, French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hosted a reception for the heads of delegations.
The conference has the main goal to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate change, also known as the Paris agreement 2015 that targets keeping global warming below 2oC by the end of the 21st century in comparison with the 1850 to 1990 period.
The event attracted 1,300 delegates, including 150 heads of state and government, and leaders of international organisations representing 196 UNFCC members.
If the Paris agreement is adopted, this will be the first time over two decades of negotiations within the UN framework that the international community reaches a binding agreement with the involvement of major emitters of greenhouse gases, including developed and developing countries.
PM Dung reiterated the nation's friendship with the French people - especially during a time of heavy losses caused by recent terrorist attacks in Paris - while meeting with the leader of the France-Viet Nam Friendship Association in Paris on Sunday night.
PM Dung thanked the association and General Secretary Jean Pierre Archambault for their valuable support for Viet Nam's past struggle for national liberation and current nation-building process.
He applauded the association's activities in past years, particularly projects and programmes to help Viet Nam overcome the aftermath of war, deal with sustainable development-related issues and alleviate poverty.
The general secretary stated that the Vietnamese PM's presence at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) will contribute positively to the success of the conference.
The France-Viet Nam Friendship Association will implement more cooperation projects and humanitarian activities, especially to support Agent Orange/dioxin victims and continue efforts to intensify collaboration between the two countries in general and their localities in particular, he added.
Currently, France is Viet Nam's fifth largest European trade partner. The two nations generated US$3.5 billion in bilateral trade revenue in 2014, an annual growth of 11 per cent.
France first invested in Viet Nam in 1988. By June 2015, the country was ranked second among European investors and 15th among 101 foreign investors in Viet Nam. Official statistics showed that France had nearly 430 valid projects in Viet Nam with total registered capital reaching more than US$3.38 billion.
Cooperation between the two nations has also gained momentum in education training, culture-tourism, health, science-technology, and security-defence, among other fields.
On the same day, PM Dung met representatives of the Vietnamese community at the Vietnamese Embassy in France, during which he emphasised that the Party and State continually consider the overseas Vietnamese community an important and integral part of the nation.
The PM is in Paris to attend the COP21 at the invitation of French President Francois Hollande.
The PM is accompanied by ministers and provincial officials, who will hold meetings with their French counterparts on ways to reinforce bilateral engagement.
Visits to Belgium, EU
PM Dung will pay visits to Belgium and the EU tomorrow to discuss measures to enhance bilateral co-operation in priority fields.
The PM accepted an invitation to visit from his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel and President of the European Commission (EC) Jean Claude Juncker.
During his stay in Belgium, PM Dung is expected to hold talks with PM Charles Michel with an aim of boosting co-operation in economy, trade, investment, transport and aviation.
Two-way trade has seen sustainable growth, increasing to US$2.3 billion in 2014 from $395.4 million in 2000. The figure reached $1.5 billion in the first eight months of 2015.
Belgium is currently Viet Nam's sixth biggest export market in the EU, mainly for footwear, garments, seafood, coffee and handbags.
The connection between Viet Nam's localities and organisations and Belgium's Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels has been expanded.
The two countries signed an investment encouragement and protection agreement in 1991. By October, Belgium had run 59 projects worth $420 million in Viet Nam, while Viet Nam has invested in two projects in the European country.
At present, Viet Nam is the only Asian country to receive development assistance from the Belgian Government. Since 1997, Belgium has provided nearly $300 million in non-refundable aid and loans to Viet Nam to support co-operation programmes on water resource management, waste treatment, irrigation, administrative and educational reforms, agriculture, rural development and health.
On this occasion, Prime Minister Dung will also meet the presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament to discuss co-operation opportunities in the fields of energy, green growth and vocational training.
Viet Nam and the EU officially established diplomatic ties on November 28, 1990. A series of activities have been held throughout this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.
After the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) was signed, the bilateral political ties have experienced considerable development, which is reflected by regular exchanges of high-ranking delegations.
Trade is an important pillar in bilateral relations. The EU is Viet Nam's second largest trade partner, after China, and its second biggest importer, following the US. Two-way trade increased eightfold from $4.5 billion in 2001 to $36.8 billion in 2014. Turnover hit $30.8 billion between January and September, a year-on-year rise of 15.5 percent, of which $22.6 billion came from Viet Nam's exports.
Negotiations on the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement concluded on August 4, 2015. Once it is put into effect, the agreement is expected to have a positive impact on both Viet Nam and the EU – especially on their economies.
In terms of investment, as of September, 23 out of the 28 EU nations poured money into 1,718 projects with total registered capital of $21.53 billion in Viet Nam. The Netherlands topped the list with 239 projects totaling $6.66 billion, followed by France, Luxembourg and Germany.
Meanwhile, as of June, Viet Nam has run 57 projects in 13 EU countries with a total registered capital of $152 million.
The EU is also one of the big ODA suppliers for Viet Nam. Between 1993 and 2013, the EC and EU members committed to providing nearly $14 billion in ODA for Viet Nam, accounting for 20 percent of the total amount committed by the international community.
Between 2014 and 2020, the EC pledged to provide 400 million EUR ($423.5 million) for the Southeast Asian country, with a focus on sustainable energy and institutional affairs. — VNS