Hanoi hosts tourism culture week on northcentral region’s heritage

Hanoi hosts tourism culture week on northcentral region’s heritage
  • VOV | November 18, 2011 05:00 AM
Hue ancient capital is a World's cultural heritage
A tourism culture week on the heritage of the northcentral region will be held at the Viet Nam Culture and Arts Exhibition Centre in Hanoi from November 21-23.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will co-ordinate with other central agencies and local departments of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue and Hanoi to organise the event.

The event is part of activities to mark Vietnam Cultural Heritage Day (November 23) in the lead-up to the National Tourism Year for north-central region-Hue 2012.

Within the week, an exhibition on traditional products, food festival, tourism services and art performances will be organised.

The whole process of voting for Ha Long Bay and other six natural wonders of the world will also be presented on the occasion.

ASEAN leaders sign third Bali Concord

ASEAN leaders sign third Bali Concord
  • VNA | November 18, 2011 10:13 AM
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Nov. 17 inked the Bali Declaration on the ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations, or Bali Concord III, within the framework of the 19 th ASEAN Summit in Bali , Indonesia.  
 ASEAN leaders at the 19th ASEAN Summit 
Based on regulations of the ASEAN Chapter and with an awareness of the strategic importance of ASEAN Connectivity in accelerating integration and improving the international status of ASEAN, cooperative process and friendship between ASEAN and dialogue partners and the necessity to enhance ASEAN cooperation in key global matters, ASEAN leaders decided to approve the bloc’s joint platform on global issues.
The Concord stipulated an ASEAN of connectivity and closer cooperation in international matters of mutual concern, an increasingly common voice for ASEAN at related international forums; an ASEAN with enhanced capacity to contribute and deal with key global matters of mutual concern for the interest of all member countries; and an ASEAN Secretariat with increased enforcement capacity.
The ASEAN member countries pledged cooperation in the fields of politics-security, economics, and culture and society at both regional and global levels.
The political and security cooperation will contribute to ensuring peace, security and stability, not only through consistently respecting basic principles of international law and peacefully settling disputes but also promoting mediation initiatives, and actively participating in post-conflict peacekeeping and building efforts based on the willingness of each member country.
The cooperation also helps ensure international maritime traffic safety and freedom, promote maritime cooperation, continue making efforts towards a common consensus on issues related to the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty and contribute to efforts in ensuring global nuclear safety.
Regarding economic cooperation, Bali Concord III also defines agenda issues on integration, economic stability and development on the basis of goals and common principles to implement the ASEAN Economic Community and promote ASEAN’s full integration into the global economy.
In socio-cultural cooperation, Bali Concord III defines ways to strengthen global ASEAN cooperation to promote efforts to cope with climate change, mobilise the greatest participation of social classes in disaster mitigation programmes and coping with emergencies, boost cooperation among ASEAN member armies within the framework of humanitarian activities and disaster relief and step up cooperation between the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management and regional organisations.

Experts advise on managing climate change aid

Experts advise on managing climate change aid
  • AFP | November 18, 2011 11:24 AM
A group of climate science experts have recommended measures to manage billions of dollars earmarked to help poor countries fight climate change, and avoid problems common among aid programs. 
 File photo of the ice cap on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Pledges of aid for climate change are as significant as the Marshall Plan to fix Europe's economy after World War II, said Simon Donner in a paper published the journal Science, but warned "if it's not managed well we could waste a lot of money and a lot of people could not get the aid they need."
Three main recommendations, said Donner and his two co-authors, include ongoing, independent assessments to ensure climate change aid is new, and donors are not merely shifting resources from other, existing, aid programs.
They also urged the appointment of independent auditors from outside agencies to oversee spending and monitor waste, and the use of scientific methods to choose projects, such as the kind of evidence-based tests to measure effectiveness in the public health field.
In Cancun last year world leaders pledged $100 billion annually, starting in 2020, to help developing countries adapt to climate change and mitigate the damage. Another $30 billion in "fast-track" funding was promised by 2012.
If such massive aid is wasted or ineffective, donors will sour just as the global climate grows more dangerous for those who can least manage it, said Donner.
The researchers, including Milind Kandlikar and Hisham Zerriffi, all at the University of British Columbia, decided to raise the issue after realizing early this year there were few checks and balances on the climate change funds, Donner said.
He added they hoped such checks will be raised at the global climate meetings among world leaders in Durban, South Africa late this month.
The researchers cited past disasters that were overwhelmed with donations, following which money was spent on publicity stunts aimed at showing the international audience that the agencies involved were "taking action".
"The international aid system is fraught with problems, and by adding another $100 million a year to it, basically doubling it, we could end up worsening a lot of problems," said Donner.
The policy paper cited a Kenyan example of how using science-based assessments can save aid money. Researchers showed that giving people free malaria bednets was far more effective and cheaper than using expensive, more involved, methods to tackle the disease.
Donner said a parallel with the climate change aid might be using an evidence-based study to decide whether to hire engineers and contractors to build high-tech barriers, or hire local workers to plant mangroves along shore lines.
"There is a long history of shifting aid money or relabeling aid projects in response to new aid priorities," the Science paper warned, and called for annual independent assessments to "close loopholes that permit project relabeling or climate funding coming at the expense of other development aid".
As Durban approaches, global financial problems already threaten to disrupt plans for climate change aid.
In London, consultants Ernst & Young have warned of a looming funding gap as high as $45 billion in the aid plan if the Eurozone's financial and economic crisis worsens.
"Governments can no longer afford previous levels of investment under current austerity measures," an Ernst & Young news release noted.
But in a warning for the need for countries to adapt to climate change and mitigate damage, Ernst & Young also said just 18 per cent of business executives it surveyed thought the upcoming Durban talks would lead to a new climate change deal.
Speaking this week from Thailand, which is battling the worst flooding in 50 years, United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon reminded states of their climate change aid promise, and urged them to adopt "clear guidelines and deliver what had been pledged".
"Mobilizing $100 billion may be a big challenge, but it is doable. If there is a political will, even during this economic crisis time, I believe we can do it," said Ban, in speaking notes released by the UN.

Vietnam, S Africa boost legislative cooperation

Vietnam, S Africa boost legislative cooperation
  • VNA | November 18, 2011 12:07 PM
Vietnam and South Africa should build mechanisms for greater legislative coordination and sign cooperative agreements between the two national assemblies.
 National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and Speaker of the South African National Assembly Max Vuyisile Sisulu.
 This statement was made by National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung at his talks with Speaker of the South African National Assembly Max Vuyisile Sisulu, in Hanoi on Nov. 17. 
This will be a basis for the two NAs to promote bilateral cooperative activities including support at international forums, and ensure supervision, accelerate cooperation programmes and projects between the two governments,” Hung affirmed.
Chairman Hung said he believes the first and current visit to Vietnam by Speaker Max Vuyisile Sisulu will be a new step of development in friendship and bilateral cooperation between the two NAs.
The NAs need to enhance cooperative programmes and expand people-to-people diplomatic activities, he said, adding that the two countries have to look to becoming mutual trust partners.
South Africa should help Vietnam expand relations with African countries and Vietnam will create favourable condition for South Africa to increase ties with ASEAN countries, Hung said.
For his part, Speaker Max Vuyisile Sisulu shared Hung’s view on proposals to increase coordination between the NAs at international forums.
He said he wants the two sides to accelerate the establishment of a South Africa-Vietnam friendship association, helping to increase experience sharing and cooperation between the two NAs and governments in the fields of budget management, trade and clean energy technology.
The Speaker proposed the two NAs set up negotiation groups to speed up signing of cooperative agreements and affirmed his country will support Vietnamese investors to invest in South Africa .
He said it was his wish that the two countries cooperate in security, defence and diplomacy.
At the talks, the two sides discussed political, diplomatic and socio-economic activities of each country and agreed to do their utmost to foster solidarity, cooperation and mutual understanding between the two nations, plus increase linkages between the two NAs at bilateral and international forums.
Speaker Max Vuyisile Sisulu took the opportunity to invite Chairman Hung and the Vietnamese NA delegation to visit South Africa . Hung accepted the invitation with pleasure and said that the visit will be arranged through diplomatic channels.
The Speaker also invited Vietnam to attend the centennial of the ANC Party in 2012. Next year, the National Assembly of South Africa will also organise a number of activities occasioned by the international conference on global climate change held in the country. The Speaker said he wants to welcome the Vietnamese National Assembly to attend the event.
Also on Nov. 17, State President Truong Tan Sang hosted a reception for Speaker of the South African National Assembly Max Sisulu.
President Sang welcomed Speaker Max Sisulu’s visit to Vietnam , describing it as a new milestone in developing relations between the two legislatures.
The president expressed his wish that South Africa would support Vietnam’s bid to run for membership of the UN Human Rights Council for the 2014-2016 term and the UN Economic and Social Council for the 2016-2018 term as well as a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure.
Speaker Max Sisulu informed his host of the results of the earlier talks with the Vietnamese national assembly. During the talks, the two sides pledged to support each other at international forums and cooperate in coping with global issues, such as climate change.
On the same day, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met Speaker Max Vuyisile Sisulu, urging South African businesses to seek opportunities for long-term cooperation and investment in Vietnam which will contribute to building and boosting Vietnam-South Africa relations.