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COVID-19 successes, multilateral diplomacy, devastating disasters among Việt Nam’s top 10 events in 2020

Update: December, 30/2020 - 12:33

HÀ NỘI — The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) has selected the top 10 outstanding events in Việt Nam in an eventful and memorable 2020.

1. Successfully organising Congresses of centrally-run Party organisations; completing documents and personnel plans for the upcoming 13th National Party Congress

 

The 14th plenum of the 12th-tenure Party Central Committee wraps up in Hà Nội on December 18 after nearly five days of work, with all agenda items completed. — VNA/VNS Photo

In implementing Directive No 35-CT/TW of the Politburo, all 67 centrally-run Party organisations conducted their congresses for the 2020-2025 tenure at an earlier time than in the last three tenures in line with regulations and with high quality amid difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters, such as storms and flooding. In three sessions held throughout the year, the Party Central Committee received and studied opinions contributed by Party members and the people to complete all documents and reach a high level of consensus on personnel plans being submitted to the upcoming 13th National Party Congress (slated for late January 2021).

Party organisations have promoted democracy and brainpower to identify opportunities and challenges, thus establishing orientations, tasks, and strategic breakthroughs as well as suitable solutions with a high level of feasibility for the next five years. The number of members in Party committees has been reduced but they still maintained good structure and quality.

2. Việt Nam, a bright spot in the world in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic

 

A Hà Nội health worker collects a nose-throat swab specimen from a returning citizen from Đà Nẵng to test for COVID-19 in the second wave outbreak occurring in July-August. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết

With unity and determination in the entire political system and the people, Việt Nam has brought the COVID-19 pandemic largely under control. As of December 30, the country had logged a total of 1,454 infections (the majority of which are imported) with 1,281 recoveries, while the world has seen more than 82 million cases and nearly 1.8 million deaths. Right from the beginning of the outbreak, leaders of the Party and State have been resolved to “fight the pandemic like fighting the enemy”, and remained faithful to the principle of “preventing; detecting; quarantining; stamping out; effectively treating”, to “protect the health and lives of the people”. As a result, Việt Nam’s COVID-19 response has been recognised by the world as a role model to follow.

Besides its success in treatment, Việt Nam also successfully isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus in February, started the production of test kits, and began human trials of a homegrown COVID-19 vaccine in late December.

3. Multilateral diplomacy makes important strides

 

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and Minister of Industry and Trade Trần Tuấn Anh join other countries in the signing ceremony for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. — VNA/VNS Photo

In 2020, Việt Nam successfully performed the roles of ASEAN Chair 2020, President of the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-41), and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure, actively making contributions to the building and shaping of multilateral institutions.

In a “cohesive and responsive” spirit, Việt Nam organised the 36th and 37th ASEAN Summits and related meetings in a hybrid format, mixing virtual and in-person meetings, presenting 13 initiatives to control COVID-19 and implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. The 37th ASEAN Summit adopted more than 80 documents, the highest number passed at an ASEAN summit, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Việt Nam proposed initiatives to organise the first open discussion on UN-ASEAN cooperation, with the theme “Upholding the UN Charter to Maintain International Peace and Security”, and set the date of December 27 as International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

4. GDP growth expands in the context of severe global economic downturn

 

A production line at the Japanese-invested JFE Shoji Steel Hải Phòng in the Việt Nam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) in the northern port city of Hải Phòng. — VNA/VNS Photo

As the global economy is plunged into an unprecedented crisis due to the impact of COVID-19, Việt Nam remains one of only a few countries to maintain positive economic growth, with GDP growth in 2020 registered at 2.91 per cent, among the highest in the region and the world, thanks to effective handling of the pandemic and reasonable measures to stimulate the socio-economy and reduce the impacts of the pandemic. Việt Nam's economy has witnessed multiple positive signs, such as a record trade surplus of more than US$20 billion and 2,500 foreign-invested projects worth nearly $15 billion. About 180,000 new companies were set up or existing companies resumed operations, up 0.9 per cent year-on-year. The disbursement of public investment posted the highest increase in the 2011-20 period, of more than 90 per cent. These outcomes result from the efforts of the entire political system and all economic sectors in implementing the twin targets of preventing the pandemic and boosting economic development, as well as from Việt Nam joining new generation free trade agreements, including the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1.

5. Severe storms, flooding, and landslides hit the central region, with 249 dead or missing

 

Many regions of Quảng Bình Province became inundated with water following successive storms and floodings in October. — VNA/VNS Photo

Seven consecutive storms hit Việt Nam’s central region in October and November, bringing unprecedented torrential rain, leading to widespread flooding that left 249 people dead or missing. Some 50,000ha of rice and crops were destroyed, while more than 4.5 million heads of livestock drowned. There were also 149,000ha of forest affected, while a range of infrastructure and civil works were damaged. Devastating flooding and landslides at the Rào Trăng 3 hydropower project in Thừa Thiên-Huế Province, Nam Trà My and Phước Sơn districts in Quảng Nam Province and Hướng Hoá District in Quảng Trị killed many and left others missing, causing devastating losses to the localities.

6. Strict disciplining of senior officials committing law violations continues

The Party Central Committee, the Politburo, and the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and Inspection Commission handed down strict disciplinary measures to many senior officials under the Party Central Committee’s management in 2020, including two members and one former member of the Politburo and five members and former members of the Party Central Committee, for their wrongdoings relating to corruption cases and other violations.

Investigations into a number of very serious and complex cases were sped up, including those relating to the Hải Thành company, the Việt Nam People’s Navy, Mobifone, Việt Nam Social Security, BIDV, Sacombank, and the Thái Nguyên Iron and Steel Corporation, as well as violations in land management and the management and use of State property in HCM City and Đà Nẵng City. The rate of corrupt asset recovery has increased.

7. Breakthroughs in national digital transformation programme

The National Digital Transformation Programme to 2025 with a vision toward 2030 was approved by the Prime Minister with the aim of making Việt Nam a digital country with stability and prosperity and pioneering new technologies and models by 2030. The programme targets the twin goals of developing e-government, e-economy, and e-society, and forming digital technology businesses with global competitiveness. The Government has defined “Make in Việt Nam” technologies as the foundation for digital transformation, which are expected to help the country take advantage of technology to post breakthrough growth and become a strong technology country over the next five years.

In realising the goal of developing e-government, the National Public Service Portal provided more than 2,650 online public services during the year, along with 6,700 administrative procedures at four levels.

8. For the first time, Việt Nam launches a framework programme of general education with several sets of textbooks

Việt Nam introduced a new general education programme for first graders in the 2020-21 school year, with a number of different textbooks that follow the same general education framework, thus realising the policy of mobilising social efforts in compiling textbooks and eliminating monopolies in textbook publishing and distribution.

Unreasonable prices of some textbooks along with problems with the use of language in others caused public concern, however. The Ministry of Education and Training has accepted public opinion and adjusted the content of some textbooks.

9. Việt Nam conducts world’s first limb transplant from a live donor

On February 24, the Central Military Hospital 108 announced that it had successfully performed the world’s first limb transplant, a hand, from a live donor. It was also the first such limb transplant in Southeast Asia.

The HCM City Children’s Hospital 1 also successfully separated conjoined twins Trúc Nhi and Diệu Nhi, with the sisters now able to walk on their own.

10. Đắk Nông Geopark joins the network of UNESCO Global Geoparks

 

Tà Đùng Lake in Đắk Nông Geopark is dubbed “Hạ Long Bay in the Central Highlands”. — VNA/VNS Photo

On July 7, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognised the Đắk Nông Geopark as a global geopark. In the Central Highlands, the park has some 65 heritage sites, including craters, a network of 50 volcanic caves stretching a total length of 10km, and waterfalls. It also boasts interesting culture, natural geology, and traces of early human life.

The Đồng Văn Karst Plateau Geopark in Hà Giang Province and the Non Nước Cao Bằng Geopark in Cao Bằng Province, both in the northern mountainous region of the country, were previously recognised as global geoparks. — VNS

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