Thematic Areas of Action
Despite the global economic down-turn, in 2010 Viet Nam achieved lower middle income country (MIC) status, a classification which both recognizes the country’s socio-economic progress and defines a new set of requirements for development assistance.
With a view to these evolving challenges, UNESCO continues to work together with its UN partners, the government, and development stakeholders to promote Viet Nam’s sustainable growth in line with the principles and commitments agreed upon in the Ha Noi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness:
- Managing for results
- Mutual accountability
Education for the 21st Century
Nothing in the 21st Century is more empowering, on a personal and collective level, than education. Education is the key component for building global peace, eradicating poverty and driving sustainable development – and since 1999 UNESCO Ha Noi has been committed to providing dedicated efforts to better support human development for the people of Viet Nam.
At the heart of UNESCO is a steadfast belief that every human being has the right to education and that access must also be matched by quality. The Education 2030 Agenda is built on the fact that education drives development by transforming lives through the principles of equity, quality, inclusion and gender equality whilst promoting creativity and critical thinking. In support of this, UNESCO fosters Member States’ commitment to the right to education and the concept of lifelong learning, as a key principle for holistic and sector-wide educational reform and a response to emerging socio-economic challenges.
Since 1995 Viet Nam has made rapid strides forward in educational achievements. It reached 98 and 88 per cent of the Net Enrolment Rate at primary and lower secondary levels in 2013 respectively, while the national adult and youth literacy rates were 89 and 97 per cent respectively in 2012.
With Viet Nam’s rapid strides forward in educational reform and accessibility, there still remains room for further progress in improving the quality and diversification of education to include moral, creativity, linguistic and information technology skills. Additionally, the need for high-quality human resources to support industrialization, modernization and the creation of a knowledge-based economy calls upon the safeguarding of social justice in education and lifelong learning opportunities for every citizen (Viet Nam National Education for All 2015 Review).
With this, UNESCO supports Viet Nam in achieving its national education goals and targets in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Science for a Sustainable Future
For hundreds of years’ humans have shown a consistent ability to overcome issues relating to health, energy and the environment through scientific research. More than that, science has been successfully employed as a means for developing new and sustainable industries that protect the environment and create new employment opportunities for impoverished communities.
UNESCO believes that a sustainable future can be realized through international scientific cooperation; whereby knowledge is shared and distributed, particularly to areas that are more visibly affected by matters that require scientific intervention. UNESCO also helps countries to invest in science, technology and innovation (STI) so that education can be modernized and Viet Nam can develop its own solutions to scientific problems.
UNESCO works closely with various government and independent organizations in the fields of bioethics, geology, ecosystem management and biodiversity. These are all areas that Viet Nam has shown a clear focus in developing for the protection of its biosphere reserve, world heritage sites and water management projects.
In particular, UNESCO has been working in close partnership with the National Committee for Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), for the implementation of the 2012 project Biosphere Reserves for Environmental and Economic Security(BREES); a long-term project which helped alleviate poverty and climate change in Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve. UNESCO also promotes scientific progress and innovation by supporting institutions and individuals that share UNESCO’s vision of science for a sustainable future in Viet Nam.
Learning to Live Together
In today’s increasingly diverse societies, UNESCO continues to support people in understanding each other and working together to build lasting peace. UNESCO also helps to enable people to create and use knowledge for just and inclusive societies.
In a progressively globalised world, UNESCO believes that national diversity and societal differences are what bring humans closer together and form lasting bonds that create the building blocks for a sustainable future. By supporting people to understand each other’s differences and cultural identity, UNESCO hopes that humanity will achieve new levels of cooperation for longer lasting peace.
From its Headquarters and in Viet Nam, UNESCO supports its Member States and all its partners to better understand the complexities of a diverse and ever-increasing population. It does this through various initiatives such as the Programme for Management of Social Transformations (MOST) and the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence Programme.
Learning to live together is not just about developing deeper cultural connections; it is also about bringing communities together at a local level, regardless of age, gender and social standing. Learning to live together is a topic particularly relevant to the people of Viet Nam, as they experience accelerated economic growth leading to large numbers of rural dwellers migrating to the cities. This brings new pressures as cities become more densely populated with people from vastly different social and economic backgrounds.
UNESCO works with local partners in Viet Nam in order to inform individuals about the importance of cross-cultural communication and understanding. Through greater social cohesion, humankind can live and work together towards a peaceful and sustainable future.
Protecting Our Heritage and Fostering Creativity
In a world of global economic instability and political tension, it is often cultural heritage that bears the biggest losses. Cultural heritage is often overshadowed by the drive for financial security, overlooking the fact that values passed down from generations to generations provide people with a sense of identity and belonging. If cultural heritage is what forms identity, then it is creativity that helps bring people together to create new cultural benchmarks and lay the foundations for knowledgeable pluralistic communities.
The cultural heritage of Viet Nam is noticeable in every facet of life, from ornate and peaceful pagodas and silk paintings to traditional clothing. With a strong emphasis on family values, Vietnamese people take pride in their heritage and cultural identity, allowing them to express themselves in the modern world.
To continue Viet Nam’s growth and sustainable development, it is important that the safeguarding of cultural heritage allows the fostering of creativity which is incorporated into daily-life practices. UNESCO firmly believes these two interdependent spheres of action can inform development pathways for the country, while ensuring contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
That said, sustainable development is as much about financial prosperity as it is about the growth and coming together of people. By fostering cultural identity and cultivating creativity, human development is promoted and inclusive societies are further developed upon the successes of ancestors.
Building Knowledge Societies
The power of knowledge cannot be underestimated. It can transform economies, revolutionize societies and allow individuals to make conscious decisions based on quality and factual information. UNESCO envisages future societies that are literate in using knowledge and information towards sustainable development. In order for this to occur, sharing of information must expand its reach to as many communities and establishments as it can. UNESCO is committed to achieving this by promoting freedom of expression; universal access to information; respect for cultural diversity; and quality education for all.
In Viet Nam, UNESCO promotes a capacity building approach to knowledge societies, in which individuals are able to access information through Open Educational Resources, Free and Open Source Software, Open Access to Scientific Informationand distance learning institutions. These resources provide a platform for learning and allow people to share and receive knowledge more easily.
Preservation of documentary heritage is also a key factor in UNESCO’s vision of knowledge societies. By preserving historical and digitized documents, such as the 34,555 plates of wood-blocks of the Nguyen Dynasty, a deep sense of heritage and identity is protected and used in building inclusive and knowledgeable societies for the future.
Information Literacy plays an important role in sustaining ongoing efforts in responsible knowledge and information management. Building upon previous information literacy projects, Viet Nam has made great progress in providing its people with opportunities to educate themselves in ICT, Digital and Media and Information Literacy. Among its most recent achievements, Viet Nam was awarded the 2016 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for the programme “Books for rural areas of Vietnam.”
Fostering Freedom of Expression
Since 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has set a global standard for our right to freedom of opinion and expression. In the years that followed, we have witnessed numerous shifts in our own ability to communicate thoughts and feelings. Most recently, the unprecedented rise of social media has provided a global platform, enabling many of us to express opinions and information.
Yet, in the 21st Century, the right to freedom of expression is a liberty to which countless men, women and children across the world are denied access. By fostering an environment that promotes free, independent and pluralistic media in all formats, UNESCO believes that universal freedom of expression can be achieved in a way that encourages independent journalism and brings communities closer together.
This sentiment is particularly true of Viet Nam; for many years the Vietnamese people have endeavoured to achieve the right to freedom of expression against a backdrop of globalization. UNESCO continues to work closely with government bodies and local partners in an effort to foster freedom of expression and empower individuals to become informed producers and consumers of information.
One Planet, One Ocean
Sustainable development is not achievable purely through economic and political change; it must also come through a conscious decision to change the way humans interact with the environment. Every day, many engage in routines and practices that seem normal but are in fact unsustainable and detrimental to the health of planet Earth.
As a coastal country, Viet Nam has a unique and vital geographical standing in the world and one that requires a compassionate and forward-thinking mind-set towards the environment. Viet Nam relies heavily on the ocean for resources, sustenance and as a means for depositing waste. However, as development continues to accelerate, the strain placed upon the environment becomes increasingly unsustainable.
UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) promotes intergovernmental cooperation in order to generate knowledge about the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge to sustainable development, marine environment protection, and decision-making processes within its Member States. In 2014, the Government of Viet Nam, hosted the WESTPAC 9th International Scientific Symposium entitled “A Healthy Ocean for Prosperity in the Western Pacific: Scientific Challenges and Possible Solutions” bringing together marine scientists, with a view to examining the achievements in marine sciences, advancing marine scientific knowledge, and catalysing multi- and cross-disciplinary collaboration for sharing the wealth of the ocean to benefit all.
UNESCO believes that education is key to creating a new environmentally friendly mind-set, whereby decision making is based on long-term sustainable development, rather than short-term financial gains. UNESCO has been recognized as the lead agency for providing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD); a programme that enables Viet Nam to constructively and creatively address present and future global challenges and create more sustainable and resilient societies.