The year 2012 saw Vietnam working hard to struggle against impacts from the world’s economic slowdown and internal difficulties, while accelerating its international integration process.

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) has selected the top ten events during a hectic year as follows:

1. The Resolution of the 11th Party Central Committee’s fourth meeting on urgent issues in Party building was deployed widely and deeply in the spirit of strictness, willingness to learn, and in a constructive manner among the Party, from top leaders to each member of the Party, aiming at heightening the leadership and combative capacity of the Party and consolidating people’s trust in the Party.

2. The 13 th National Assembly (NA) approved a number of important laws and resolutions at its third and fourth sessions. They are the Law of the Sea of Vietnam, the Resolution on organising a referendum on draft amendments to the 1992 Constitution and the Resolution on conducting votes of confidence on officials holding important positions elected or approved by the NA or People’s Councils.

3. The macro-economy was kept stable and inflation rate was kept at a single digit, at 6.8 percent for 2012 compared to nearly 19 percent in 2011. The country earned a record export value of nearly 115 billion USD and exported 8 million tonnes of rice, the largest ever volume.

The government has continued to take measures to restructure the national economy. However, difficulties remained such as bad debts, a frozen real estate market and large numbers of businesses halting operations or dissolved, leaving negative impacts on the country’s socio-economic development.

4. The year 2012 was marked by hectic diplomatic activities with 49 high-ranking foreign delegations visiting Vietnam while 37 high-ranking Vietnamese delegations made visits to other countries and attended international conferences.

In particular, 2012 is designated as the Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year to mark the 50 th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (September 5, 1962-2012) and the 35 th year since the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Cooperation Treaty (July 18, 1977-2012). Many practical activities have been conducted, reflecting the special solidarity, friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos .

5. The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, the largest organisation of young people in Vietnam, held the 10 th National Congress, themed “Youth: aspirations for building the nation”, in Hanoi from December 12-14. The congress showed the political determination of Vietnamese youth to undertake a vital role in building and defending the country in the renewal process.

6. Drastic, uniform measures were employed to consolidate the observance of traffic law and traffic safety rules. In particular, many vital transport infrastructural facilities were built in big cities during 2012, which was billed as the Year of Traffic Safety. These measures have helped reduce traffic congestions as well as traffic accidents, their fatalities and injuries by 5-10 percent compared to the targets set by the National Assembly.

7. The Son La hydropower plant was accomplished three years ahead of schedule. The six-turbine Son La hydropower plant with a combined capacity of 2,400 MW was entirely designed and built by Vietnam and is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia to date.

However, in the wake of a series of incidents at hydro power dams, especially at the Song Tranh 2 hydro power project in the central province of Quang Nam, the Government has instructed that inspections be conducted at small- and medium-sized hydropower plants nationwide to assess their safety, economic efficiency and environmental impacts.

8. For the first time ever all Vietnamese students competing in international competitions on school subjects have won medals, including five golds, 15 silvers and 11 bronzes and the first prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

9. The unique practice of worshipping Hung Kings in the northern midland province of Phu Tho was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humankind on December 6. This is the first ritual heritage in the world that has been recognised by UNESCO.

10. The Vietnamese football squad was disqualified right in the first round of the ASEAN football championship, AFF Suzuki Cup 2012, which took place in Singapore from November 24 to December 22. The team earned only one point after three matches, which was the heaviest failure for the squad since it first competed in the event. It reflected the serious crisis in the country’s professional football that calls for a strong and complete overhaul.-VNA