Special milestones

In recent years, the multilateral diplomacy service has made a giant step forward when successfully hosting activities of the APEC Summit in 2017, the 27th World Economic Forum on ASEAN in 2018, the DPRK-USA Hanoi Summit in 2019, the ASEAN and AIPA Chairmanships in 2020, and Non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (center) chairs the high-level open debate of the UNSC on April 19.

Notably, 2021 has become a successful year of the national diplomacy sector. Vietnam has for the first time become a member of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in 2021. The country has signed a document on the establishment of a PCA Representative Office in Hanoi and has a diplomat to be re-elected to the International Law Commission (ILC) with a higher number of votes. These events have proved that the international community has increasingly believed in Vietnam’s role and its diplomats’ capacities.

According to Assistant to Foreign Minister and Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for International Organizations Do Hung Viet, Vietnam has made milestones when becoming a member of the UNSC. Particularly, the country has a principled stance based on international law and the U.N. Charter. Vietnam has always respected legitimate interests and voices of stakeholders in order to create consensus. The country has also promoted several priorities and completed them successfully.

Sharing the same view, Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao, member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations, reaffirmed that Vietnam has always been proactive in several issues such as the building of U.N. peacekeeping force. The country has also represented developing countries to call on the international community to address conflicts in flash-points such as Sudan, Ethiopia and other countries. For the first time, the U.N. General Assembly approved Vietnam’s initiative with a resolution proclaiming December 27 as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. Besides, Vietnam and Germany have co-founded the Club of Nations on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 with 112 participating countries.

Indispensable goals

To answer the question: “What benefits has Vietnam gained from taking part in the settlement of conflicts in Africa and Middle-East,” Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for International Organizations Do Hung Viet explained that the top priority of the Vietnamese diplomacy is to creating a peaceful environment for development. Vietnam has diplomatic relations with 189 out of 193 members of the U.N. and commercial activities across the world. Vietnam has interests wherever the Vietnamese people and enterprises are. Therefore, the country’s contribution to peace and stability in other countries will help bring back benefits to its people. We may not see them immediately; however, we will see how important it is after five, 10 or 15 years ahead, Mr. Viet stressed.

There are some instant benefits of multilateral diplomacy. When the COVID-19 pandemic  broke out, multilateral mechanisms were almost paralyzed. Fortunately, after only a short period of time, the mechanisms in the region such as ASEAN and in the globe such as ASEM, APEC, and G20, together with organizations of the U.N. such as the World Health Organizations (WHO) started  to play a very important coordinating role.

In particular, the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have co-founded the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility. Right after its establishment, the mechanism has planned to provide adequate vaccines for 20 percent of the world population, with about 39 million of vaccine doses for Vietnam.

The very first vaccine shots administered for the Vietnamese people came from COVAX, Viet stated. Amid the shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine supplies across the world, the Vietnamese Party and State have directed relevant ministries and sectors to enhance capabilities of the health system and strengthen vaccine diplomacy. “We had to gather each batch of COVID-19 vaccines. Several batches consist of millions of doses while others only have 30,000 doses.” Viet remembered.

The year 2021 is about to end with remarkable achievements of the multilateral diplomacy sector, which has contributed to the success of the diplomacy sector in general. The tasks posed to the multilateral diplomacy sector are getting bigger. Currently, the Department for International Organizations under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is developing a plan to continue running for other positions of the U.N. Apart from applying to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Vietnam is planning to run for elections to several other mechanisms and organizations of the U.N. In addition, the country will continue promoting deployed initiatives and priorities, and dealing with non-traditional security threats, especially the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Viet emphasized that these are areas where Vietnam has capabilities to further promote its role in the time to come.

Translated by Trung Thanh