Vietnam, Sweden Eye Cooperative Partnership

Bilateral cooperation between Sweden and Vietnam will be lifted to the level of cooperative partnership during the 2009-2013 period, said an official of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
    Over the past four decades, Sweden and Vietnam have cooperated closely, particularly in hunger eradication and poverty reduction, SIDA Deputy Director General Magnus Lindell told local reporters during his visit to the Southeast Asian country from Dec. 1-2.
    Sweden has been always North Europe’s leading provider of non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam, having granted approximately 3 billion USD since 1969, said the SIDA official, citing the Sweden Pediatrics Hospital (now the National Pediatrics Hospital), the Bai Bang Paper Factory and the Uong Bi General Hospital as good symbols of bilateral ties.
    However, he said, in the new context that Vietnam’s economy has experienced rapid development and Vietnam is on the path of becoming a country with average income, the building of a new cooperation strategy has topped the concern of the two governments.
    Lindell said his visit aims to discuss with Vietnamese partners measures as well as new approaches to the two countries’ relations for the 2009-2013 period.
    The new cooperation strategy between Sweden and Vietnam will be based on the growing ties, with the participation of more parties, including government and non-government organisations, the private sector and individuals, he said.
    Lindell went on to say that Sweden will gradually withdraw from the role as a non-refundable ODA donor for Vietnam . Instead of this, it will move to but create opportunities and better conditions for partners of the two countries to expand their cooperation.
    Bilateral cooperation projects designed for the years from 2009 to 2013 will focus on climate change, environmental protection, state governance and anti-corruption.
    Sweden will continue to back Vietnam’s poverty reduction efforts through its assistance to the southeast Asian nation’s fight against corruption, Lindell said, noting that his country’s ODA for Vietnam is likely to drop in the years to come, but its support will be demonstrated in larger-scale activities.
    During his trip, Lindell worked with leaders of the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Science and Technology, the Office of the Central Steering Committee for Corruption Combat and Prevention, and a number of other ministries and agencies.
    The SIDA official said it was impressive that Vietnam has made careful preparations for joining the new cooperation strategy.
 

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