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Belgium strives for a peaceful and secure world where poverty is a thing of the past and where there are development opportunities for all. Our efforts therefore complement those of the international community to achieve sustainable development and a fair world. Read more about the Belgian Development Cooperation on www.dg-d.be.
Belgian Development Cooperation in Vietnam
Bilateral cooperation with Vietnam started with the signing of a first agreement on 11 October 1977 and ended on 30 June 2019. The last cooperation program between Belgium and Vietnam that ended in 2019 represented 60 million euros. It assisted the socio-economic development of Vietnam, more specifically in the areas of water and sanitation, and governance. This program was carried out by the Belgian development agency, Enabel (https://www.enabel.be).
The end of our direct bilateral cooperation does not mean that Belgium is withdrawing from Vietnam; indeed, our country maintains its presence through the financing of five-year programmes for the benefit of indirect cooperation actors. The current 2022/2026 programme provides for the financing of indirect actors to the tune of nearly 20 million euros, divided between academic cooperation organised by ARES and VLIR and NGOs coordinated by VVOB and a Joint Strategic Framework (JSF).
Many Belgian private investors and the academic world are also active in Vietnam, notably with the support of our institutions. Belgium finances FINEXPO projects in different ways. BIO (support to the Vietnamese private sector), BELSPO and WBI also finance programmes. In addition, Belgium has always offered scholarships (including via the federated entities). There are about 5,000 Vietnamese alumni. In addition, Belgium also supported the Mekong River Commission at regional level until 2018. In 2020 Flanders became a partner of the MRC.
Finally, 27 projects under the bilateral cooperation programme 2022-2024 were approved by the Vietnamese government and the WBI in December 2021. The projects focus on the training of high quality personnel in the fields of health, education-training, French language development, law (international/maritime), cultural industry, applied research, agriculture and logistics.
Academic cooperation amounts to about 10 million euros. This cooperation is channelled through different channels: federal government cooperation, regional cooperation or directly by the universities themselves.
At the federal level, cooperation finances the Flemish and French-speaking university cooperation platforms. These platforms, called VLIR-UOS and ARES, implement cooperation between universities by launching annual calls for projects. For the French-speaking ARES platform, there are currently 8 ongoing projects in Vietnam, and 10 ongoing projects for the Flemish platform. These projects cover a variety of sectors, such as health, agriculture, climate change adaptation or technology, among others.
Both ARES and VLIR-UOS also offer scholarships for master studies and short-term training on an annual basis.
As a call for projects takes place every year for each platform, there will be more and more projects underway by 2026, in addition to the 18 projects already underway. Our university cooperation with Vietnam is the largest among the ASEAN countries we support.
Cooperation with NGOs
Belgian non-governmental cooperation has started a new 5-year programming cycle for the period 2022-2026, following the previous cycle 2017-2021. Compared to the previous cycle, there are currently 7 NGOs or institutional actors active in Vietnam. They are: VLIR-UOS, ARES-CUD, VVOB, Rikolto, ITG, Plan and Oxfam. Most of the programmes currently implemented are the continuation of the previous ones. The programmes target 5 different sectors. The sectors targeted are agriculture, education, health, gender and social protection.
The actors funded by the Belgian government work in partnership with local authorities or actors. For example, the Institute of Tropical Medicine collaborates with the National Institute of Malariology, Parasitology and Entomology in Hanoi, or VVOB works with the Ministry of Education and Training at provincial and district level.
We strive to promote synergies and complementarities between Belgian and other international actors.
However, ending the bilateral cooperation program does not mean that all cooperation was stopped. Below you will find an overview of the existing programs and actors: