Nonprofit grant-making organisation Ford Foundation and Aspen Institute of the U.S. have reaffirmed their plan to accelerate efforts to help Vietnamese and Americans address the lingering effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam.

A press release, issued by the two organizations on May 9, said that a 1.6 million USD grant from Ford Foundation will help the Aspen Institute pursue a set of activities intended to seize the momentum created by the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin. These include building a long-term, sustainable commitment among a wide array of public and private sources to address Agent Orange at a scale consistent with the Dialogue Group’s plan of action; providing expert oversight of projects in Vietnam to ensure that they remain focused on needs of affected people and employ cost-effective best practices; and publishing periodic reports on the sources and uses of funds and the progress being made.

In June 2010, the Dialogue Group released a 10-year plan of action that identifies proven and actionable solutions to address the health and environmental impacts of dioxin—the poison that contaminated Agent Orange—in Vietnam . Officials from Ford and Aspen said that the plan heralded a key moment of opportunity to secure long-term funding from both public and private sources to see health and cleanup programmes through to their completion.

According to the news release, the Ford Foundation and the Aspen Institute have each played a central role in building a space for a bipartisan, humanitarian response to Agent Orange in Vietnam and raising awareness of this issue among policymakers in the United States .

The US - Vietnam Dialogue Group, a bi-national humanitarian initiative, was launched in 2007 to develop practical responses to the continuing human and environmental consequences of Agent Orange use during the war. The Dialogue Group is co-chaired by Walter Isaacson, Aspen Institute President; and Ngo Quang Xuan, Vice Chair of the Vietnamese National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Since 2000, the Ford Foundation has provided over 17 million USD in support of efforts to respond to the legacy of Agent Orange and dioxin./.