The Vietnamese Government will continue creating favourable conditions and further improving the legal environment to facilitate foreign non-governmental organisations’ aid activities.

Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the affirmation at the opening ceremony of the third international conference on cooperation between Vietnam and foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Hanoi on November 28.

The event brought together 350 delegates from ministries and sectors at all levels, donors, foreign embassies and bilateral and multilateral development agencies, as well as representatives from 500 foreign NGOs.

The Deputy PM spoke highly of the effective cooperation between Vietnam and foreign NGOs, and thanked the organisations for their remarkable support for Vietnam over the past decade.

He briefed participants on Vietnam’s renewal achievements and her fulfilment of the United Nations’ millennium development goal on poverty reduction.

Minh stressed the country’s priorities to promote sustainable development, improve its competence in science and technology and overcome existing difficulties.

He expressed his hope that foreign NGOs will further strengthen their connection with Vietnam as well as provide more assistance for the country in the future.

The Deputy Prime Minister also suggested proposals to step up the relations between Vietnam and foreign NGOs, focusing on poverty reduction, international integration, socio-economic development, healthcare, education, disease prevention, environmental protection, disaster response and solving war consequences.

Speaking at the event, both Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc and President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong shared the view that foreign NGOs have significantly contributed to speeding up the friendship between Vietnamese people and those from other countries across the world.

They stressed that foreign NGOs’ activities over the past ten years have complied with Vietnam’s socio-economic development orientations and her priorities.

Marko Lovrekovic, Co-Director of the VUFO-NGO Resource Centre spoke highly of Vietnam’s efforts in socio-economic development, especially in poverty reduction.

He note that the Vietnamese Government has made efforts in bettering the legal environment and offered opportunities for foreign NGOs to involve in Vietnam’s development process.

He, however, emphasised the need to press ahead with improving the legal environment and policies to elevate the cooperation between Vietnam and foreign NGOs.

According to the Committee for Foreign NGO Affairs, Vietnam has established ties with around 950 foreign NGOs.

Over the past decade, NGOs have implemented more than 25,000 programmes, projects and aid packages totalling some 2.4 billion USD, with over 1.12 billion USD coming from North America, 813 million USD from Europe and more than 450 million USD from Asia-Pacific.

The assistance, which makes up 0.21 to 0.45 percent of Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP), has reached all 63 cities and provinces in the country.

In the framework of the conference, eight seminars were also held, focusing on healthcare, education, socio-economic development, poverty reduction in remote areas, vocational training and job generation, social issues, unexploded ordnance, Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin, environmental protection, climate change and natural disaster response.

The conference will end on November 29.-VNA