November 16, 2023
HANOI – As the Vice President representing the Asia-Pacific of the 42nd session of the UNESCO General Conference, Việt Nam will help build consensus and seek appropriate solutions to urgent issues of the Asia-Pacific and UNESCO, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hà Kim Ngọc.
Việt Nam was elected to the post at the 42nd session of the UNESCO General Conference, which is taking place in Paris from November 11 to 22. This is the first time the country has held this position at one of the two most important governing bodies of UNESCO, Ngọc, who is also Chairman of the Việt Nam National Commission for UNESCO, told the Vietnam News Agency.
He said the election holds importance in many aspects as it affirms the country’s stature and prestige in the world as well as the international community’s trust in its contributions and chairmanship capacity at global multilateral forums.
As the representative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific, which has a large number of members with varying development levels, politics, cultures, sizes, interests, and priorities, Việt Nam will continue bringing into play the soft power from its national prestige and the capacity of grasping common concerns, harmonising interest differences among members, negotiating, chairing, leading, and proposing initiatives to build consensus and seek appropriate solutions to urgent issues of the Asia-Pacific and UNESCO, Ngọc said.
The country will actively join in the shaping of the UNESCO cooperation in issues of shared concern, he noted, elaborating that it will propose policies and promote UNESCO’s leading role in multilateral cooperation in education – training, culture, science – technology, and information – communications to maintain peace, respond to global challenges, and assist countries in augmenting efforts to realise the Sustainable Development Goals
Besides, it will contribute to the implementation of UNESCO’s focal programmes such as the Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-29, the programme and budget for 2024-25, Open Science, the ethics of artificial intelligence, education for sustainable development, the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage values, climate change response, and the reform of UNESCO to enhance the organisation’s democracy and transparency, according to the Deputy Minister.
He noted that Việt Nam’s active and responsible contributions to promoting dialogue, cooperation, consensus, and appropriate solutions to issues of shared concern amid the highly complicated international situation have been welcomed by UNESCO leaders and countries.
That has not only affirmed the pioneering role of Việt Nam’s diplomacy but also demonstrated the country’s soft power and stature, he remarked.
Over 47 years of cooperation, Ngọc added, Việt Nam has continually been assessed as a dynamic and responsible member by UNESCO leaders, and described by the UNESCO Director-General as a model of effective cooperation with this organisation.
In particular, since the historic visits by Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính to the UNESCO headquarters in November 2021 and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay to Việt Nam in September 2022, and with the implementation of the two sides’ memorandum of understanding on cooperation for 2021-25, the bilateral partnership has been lifted to a new level that is more substantive and effective, he said.
The official noted that for the first time, Việt Nam has concurrently held positions at four governing mechanisms of UNESCO, namely Vice President of the General Conference, Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Committee of the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, member of the Executive Board, and member of the Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, reflecting the international community’s trust in Việt Nam’s contribution and chairmanship capacity at the multilateral organisation.
The high-level contributions to the shaping of strategic issues and global policies are another success of Việt Nam at UNESCO as seen in its ministers’ participation in international events of UNESCO.
Việt Nam has also successfully organised many important international activities, such as the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, which was also attended by the UNESCO Director-General, the conference on science, ethics and human development, and the conference on volcano speleology and global geoparks in 2022; the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the 2003 Convention in 2023, and especially the international conference on harnessing UNESCO designations for sustainable development in Việt Nam last July – the first on this topic held so far.
In addition, Việt Nam has received UNESCO recognition for 12 titles and heritage elements since 2021, including documentary, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, two world biosphere reserves, two global creative cities, one global learning city, and two world figures of culture.
The recognition has not only shown the international community’s high evaluation of the country’s heritage and cultural values, its people’s wisdom and virtues, and its contributions to UNESCO efforts in preserving heritage and cultural values and boosting sustainable and inclusive development, but also created more momentum for domestic socio-economic development, according to Deputy Minister Ngọc. — VNS