The Ministry of Planning and Investment, in conjunction with the Swedish Embassy in Vietnam, held a ceremony in Hanoi on November 4 to celebrate 46 years of successful development cooperation between Vietnam and Sweden.

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong thanked the Swedish Government and people for their enthusiastic support for Vietnam from its past struggle for liberation to today’s national construction and development.

He stressed that the celebration is to review the valuable contributions made by Sweden to Vietnam over the past 46 years.

Sweden was the first Western country to fund and maintain official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam since 1967. The country has so far provided Vietnam with more than 3.4 billion USD in non-refundable aid through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Sweden has also supported Vietnam in environmental and health projects through UN offices, international financial and non-governmental organisations.

Swedish Ambassador Camilla Mellander emphasised that over the past 46 years, Sweden has helped Vietnam in poverty reduction as well as its development into a middle-income nation, with assistance mostly in agriculture, industry, forestry, economic reform, judiciary, health, education and gender equality.

She said Sweden ’s bilateral development cooperation programme in Vietnam will end in late 2013. However, she affirmed that her country pledges to continue contributing to Vietnam ’s development through regional, international and multilateral programmes.

Meanwhile, SIDA Director of Reform and Selective Cooperation Elsa Hastad noted that the most important success of the two countries during the abovementioned period is the timely cooperation, which is always adjusted to conform to Vietnam ’s demand. The two countries have also listened to and discussed with each other to contribute to further strengthening mutual understanding during the development cooperation process, she added.

On this occasion, partners, organisations and businesses exchanged views on the results of poverty reduction works, the building of a partnership to deal with climate change, and ways to build sustainable partnerships.-VNA