President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong said the union plans to increase people-to-people exchanges with ASEAN countries in 2015 in the period leading up to the formation of the ASEAN Community at the end of the year.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency reporters on the occasion of the New Year, the friendship union leader also revealed that the union will host a series of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the normalization of Vietnam-US relations.

According to Hong, the union set up friendship associations with Singapore, Myanmar and the Philippines in 2014, bringing the number of bilateral friendship organisations with ASEAN member countries to eight.

He said VUFO is seeking suitable ways to encourage the masses to become involved in the regional integration process in a more active manner.

In addition, several major events will be organized to express thanks to international friends for their support of Vietnam on the occasion of the country’s two key anniversaries in 2015 – the 70th anniversary of the August Revolution and National Day, and the 40th year since the liberation of southern Vietnam and national reunification.

At the same time, the union will continue to expand its network of foreign friends and partners in 2015, while actively participating in multi-lateral mechanisms, said the VUFO President.

Another key task for the union this year is to continue to garner more assistance from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

According to the VUFO leader, NGOs provided more than 300 million USD in aid to Vietnam in 2014, contributing greatly to poverty reduction and the development of social welfare and services. The NGOs also work actively in environmental protection, adaptation to climate change and the overcoming of war consequences, he said.

He continued, saying the union will strive to connect foreign NGOs and donors with Vietnamese ministries, sectors and localities, build more specific projects and ideas to call for assistance and develop a full database about NGOs’ priorities and Vietnamese localities’ needs for support to facilitate connectivity.-VNA