VUSTA’s International Cooperation of the 7th National Congress (2015-2020): Achievements and the Way Forward

Posted at: SATurday - 30/12/2017 10:46 - post name: Cộng tác viên


2017 is a special year of our country. For the first time since many years back, Viet Nam have outperformed all the 13 basic indicators of the socio-economic development plan and state budget. The APEC Vietnam 2017 and related meetings held successfully has enhanced the image, position and prestige of the Nation in the international arena. Also, an event that worth mentioning in 2017 was the Government's addressing strong international commitment by the Prime Minister’s issuance of the “National Action Plan for Implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda".

For the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), 2017 is the pivotal year of the 7th term of VUSTA National Congress (2015-2020) with great deals of outstanding achievements. At the same time, important tasks and challenges are set in the remaining half of the term. Among the achievements that have been made, there is a remarkable contribution of the people’s diplomacy and international cooperation that credit is taken to all VUSTA members and affiliated organizations.

The following are some highlights of VUSTA's outstanding international cooperation activities.

Aligning to the CPV's guidance on the people’s diplomacy in the new era, VUSTA has undertaken external affairs tasks in varying fields over the past three years. Taking the advantages of flexibility, pro-activeness and innovations of the non-state science and technology associations and organizations, the external activities of VUSTA affiliated organizations are not just a part of contribution to elevating the Nation’s image and positions but also improve effectiveness and efficiency of people’s diplomacy through mobilizing international resources for the cause of science and technology development, high skilled labor force training, capacity building and improved staffmembers’ research and advisory performance.

VUSTA has worked closely with other socio-political organizations such as the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), the Vietnam Farmers’ Unions (VFU), Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU)...  for the past three years in realizing people’s diplomacy mechanisms such as the ASEAN’s People Forum, the Asia-Europe People's Forum. Annually, VUSTA's affiliated associations and organizations host hundreds of international scientific conferences in Vietnam, welcomes numerous international inbound working visitors and organizes hundreds of outbound delegations; carry out joint projects on research and technology application and transfer... In fact, the above mentioned activities are of contribution to deepening the understanding of international friends to Vietnam.

Development cooperation is a traditional strength in VUSTA's people’s diplomacy. In the period from 2015 to 2017 in the context of a sharp reduction in foreign aid, VUSTA's affiliated Science and Technology Organizations (STOs) have striven to mobilize and maintain the aggregate over 10 million USD per year for the development projects being deployed in entire territory, especially for the most disadvantaged people in remoted areas. The main focus of these projects are in the fields of health care, natural resource management and environmental protection, education and training, integrated rural development, contributing to addressing social issues namely the HIV infected, people with disabilities, gender equality, gender-based violence and capacity building.

Literally, the said volume is not only the proof for economic efficiency but also the concrete outcome of technology, experience and knowledge transfer to the recipient organizations and individuals and partly the contribution to achieving the set forth goals of the “2030 Agenda National Action Plan". In addition, through the mobilization of foreign capital, human resources and expertise, the affiliated organizations themselves have undertaken the people’s diplomacy tasks in proactive way on its own land.

As well, since 2015, VUSTA has initiated the Annual Networking Event for Cooperation and Development which have praised international cooperation efforts of members and STOs; enhanced mutual understanding and cooperation among stakeholders and debated the emerging issues and solutions for conducive environment for the members’ and affiliated STOs’ operation and well-beings.

For the past period, VUSTA have paid special attention to research and advisory tasks. The findings of VUSTA’s international cooperation research works have defined the partners and the areas which are potential for proposing joint projects for the period 2018-2020. In addition, as the coordinating focal point for the entire VUSTA external activities, VUSTA have made its observations and amendments suggestions to related polities and practice in the field of people’s diplomacy area. In particularly, VUSTA has carried out 5-year preliminary review of the implementation of Directive No. 04/CT-TW, preliminary review of implementation of Decision No. 272 and input the comments on the draft instrument substituting Decree No. 93 on Foreign non-governmental aids management and other regulatory documents relating to foreign non-governmental activities.

As the coordinating body, VUSTA Headquarters has implemented a number of substantial external activities and gained encouraging achievements for recent years. Based on the principle that said "international cooperation is the pioneer front and supports the organization’s other functions", VUSTA has actively maintained and expanded its partnership with scientific and technological organizations, international organizations and diplomatic missions, to mobilize resources and provide technical assistance for the important tasks of VUSTA. i.e. the project supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Germany for providing training courses to improve the capacity of consultancy, judgment and social assessment of the provincial unions; the joint project with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) in capacity building for leadership and organizational development; or the Microsoft supported project providing free Microsoft licensed software to VUSTA and its member organizations to improve IT infrastructure and staff daily work efficiency.

In early 2017, to follow up the working visits of VUSTA leaders to the Republic of Korea and Japan, VUSTA has officially signed the Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the National Institute of Technology in Japan on science education and high professional skilled human resources training and with the Korean National University of Transportation in the field of technology transfer and exchange among STOs and business communities the two countries. In addition, VUSTA has established formal relationships with other counterparts such as China Science and Technology Associations, members of the ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations, the Federation of Korean Federation of Science and Technology Organizations, the Japan Science Council, the Professional Engineers Association of Japan and Korea. These are actually the strategic and potential partners to provide technical support and share experiences to assist VUSTA in realizing the two important tasks which are proposing the draft law of Professional Engineering and the draft Law of Science and Technology Knowledge Dissemination.

In 2016, VUSTA concluded a cooperation agreement with the MOFA’s Committee for Overseas Vietnamese to carry out activities to attract overseas Vietnamese intellectuals’ contributions to the Nation’s cause of science and technology and education and training programs. Specifically, VUSTA has organized a number of seminars and workshops with the participation of overseas Vietnamese intellectuals to share their views and commitments on their role in promoting international exchange to develop high professional skilled human resources for the nation as well as exchanging on orientation and policies in relations to science and technology experts and scientists in general and Vietnamese overseas intellectuals themselves in particular.

In commemorating the efforts of VUSTA’s international cooperation, in 2016, VUSTA was awarded with the Appreciation of Merit by the Chairperson of the CPV Central Commission for External Relations for its outstanding achievements and performance in the field of people’s diplomacy. Responding to the emulation movement of the mass organizations in people’s diplomacy affairs has really brought new momentum and contributed to improving the quality of VUSTA people’s diplomacy in a more practical and comprehensive way.

In the time to come, VUSTA will continue to bring into full play the strength of the whole system, actively mobilize resources for the implementation of joint programs, mobilize the participation of local and overseas Vietnamese scientists and experts focusing the following areas:

Firstly, VUSTA will actively study and propose two important draft laws that are supposed to influence the quality of S&T activities in Vietnam namely the Law on Science and Technology Knowledge Dissemination and the draft Law of Professional Engineering. For that end, VUSTA external relations shall definitely function a crucial role in connecting with international partners, proposing and calling for technical assistance and experience sharing.

Second, VUSTA will continue to mobilize the resources needed to support the capacity of VUSTA headquarter and the members and affiliated organizations with particular focus on knowledge and skills furnishing such as strategic planning, organizational development, project management and implementation and sustainable fundraising.

Thirdly, VUSTA will promote and facilitate partnership among the STOs and domestic and FDI enterprises in pursuit of sustainable development goals. VUSTA will closely associate with the business community through collaboration with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Small and Medium Enterprises Association and the associations of foreign investors namely EUROCHAM, AMCHAM and so on… to develop diversified forms of linkages to mobilize utmost resources for the goals of sustainable development including response to climate change, environment protection, renewable energy and smart agriculture.

Fourthly, VUSTA will continue to maintain its responsible participation in multilateral mechanism and fora in the region, especially the Federation of ASEAN Engineers Organizations and to be ready to host successfully the AFEO Annual Conference in Vietnam in 2020. In addition, VUSTA will continue to consider the options of being member of international organizations in science, such as the International Council of Science (ICSU) in which VUSTA is the observer at the time being, the Public Communication of Science and Technology Network (PCST) and being the observer for a number of UN agencies in the field of education amd science such as ECOSOC, UNESCO.

Fifthly, VUSTA will well implement the cooperation projects with present partners such as the Global Fund for fighting HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Microsoft Corporation, Bread for the World (BftW-PDS) and seek the potential partners to develop new cooperation projects in capacity building on climate change response, database research findings and the sustainable development models and best practices sharing in VUSTA system.

To realize the aforementioned tasks, VUSTA has developed a plan of action identifying key objectives and worked out annual plans for each program and tasks.

In spite of limited human capacity, with only 4 fulltime officers in charge of external relations at the Headquarters, VUSTA has mobilized the majority of VUSTA and affiliates staff members to join the external cooperation efforts to achieve the aforementioned goals in the past 3 years.

With the strong commitment of VUSTA's leadership and the entire staff members, ever expansion of number of partners and increasing quality of cooperation programs, the international cooperation activities of the entire VUSTA system in the period 2018-2020 is expected to gain momentum for further development toward professionalism and to constantly grow its trust and prestige among international partners.

Author: Duong Thi Nga, Deputy Director General International Cooperation of VUSTA
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