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VUFO President Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga

The Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and other people’s organisations have flexibly responded to the current challenges and renovated their activities to adapt to the new situation, VUFO President Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga has said.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) ahead of the National Conference on External Affairs, slated for December 14 in Hanoi, Nga pointed out the challenges to people-to-people diplomacy, including complex developments of the world situation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the 13th National Party Congress has identified people-to-people diplomacy as one of the three pillars of external relations, together with Party diplomacy and State diplomacy.

Highlighting Vietnam’s friendship with foreign countries, friends and partners, which has been consolidated over the past decades, the VUFO President said Vietnam is working hard to expand the network of friends and mobilise international resources to serve national construction and development.

During the interview, Nga also reviewed achievements recorded in people-to-people diplomacy across spheres, saying despite the pandemic, Vietnam’s connection with international friends has not been disrupted thanks to the utilisation of internet and social platforms.

She said VUFO has so far raised more than 47 billion VND (2.04 million USD) in support of the COVID-19 combat. Meanwhile, 57 non-governmental organisations have donated over 10.6 million USD to help Vietnamese fight the pandemic.

The Vietnam-Laos, Vietnam-Cambodia and Vietnam-India Friendship Associations, among others, have also mobilised resources to aid foreign friends affected by the pandemic, Nga added.

She emphasised contributions of the associations to the country’s socio-economic development through the organisation of seminars over the past time.

Right after the pandemic was brought under control, people-to-people diplomacy activities have been integrated into overseas trips by high-ranking leaders, according to the VUFO President.

Apart from bilateral activities, people-to-people diplomacy has also played a part in affirming Vietnam’s role and position at people’s forums like the ASEAN People’s Forum and the Asia-Europe People’s Forum.

In the foreign non-governmental work, Nga said foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have pledged 260 million USD in aid for Vietnam this year.

The upcoming conference will set out specific orientations, directions and strategies for agencies, ministries and branches in this field.

It will also seek measures to promote the effectiveness of coordination between agencies and localities, and between Party diplomacy, State diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy.