Vietnam - Spain cooperation for gender equality and women’s rights promotion in Vietnam

On March 27th 2014, at the Center for Women and Development, the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU), Spanish Embassy and Spanish Agency for International Cooperation Development (AECID) in Hanoi organized a ceremony “Spain and Vietnam: Partners in Development” to mark the 15th anniversary of Vietnam -Spain cooperation. This event was of special significance with the attendance of H.E. Mr. José Manual Garcia-Margallo, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation on the occasion of his official visit to Vietnam.

In her opening speech, VWU President Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa emphasized the Union’s role in mobilizing its members and women, in representing and protecting legal rights and legitimate interests of women; promoting women’s participation in the country’s development, in formulating, implementing laws and policies and in monitoring their enforcement. She also highlighted VWU achievements in supporting to improve women’s lives and capacity, especially in economic development, hunger elimination and poverty reduction. At the same time, she poited out challenges facing women such as domestic violence, trafficking in women, limited social awareness o­n gender equality.
Ms. Hoa showed her appreciation of the close cooperation between the VWU, Vietnamese agencies and Spanish counterparts and stated that the Spanish actors are among the VWU’s important partners through development programs, projects supported by Spanish Government and Spanish NGOs. By taking part in the management and implementation of those projects, the VWU staffs have improved their knowledge, skills, management experiences and capacity in many areas. Besides, with the valuable support of AECID and Spanish NGOs, the VWU has successfully implemented a number of projects o­n poverty reduction, health care, safe water and environemental sanitation for women and children, built up models of support services for survivors and high-risk groups of violence and human trafficking in Vietnam; and improved the VWU’s capacity in implementing laws o­n gender equality and promoting women’s participation in politics...
The VWU President expressed her desire for continued cooperation and support from Spain in the coming period to contribute to the equality and development of Vietnamese women in particular, the development of Vietnam in general.
At the ceremony, H.E. Mr. José Manuel Garcia-Margallo - Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation expressed his admiration for Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements and was proud of Spanish contribution to those achievements through the partnership via the UN system, more specifically through such instruments and channels as the o­ne UN Global Fund, the Spanish Milennium Developments Goals Achievement Fund and Spanish NGOs. He emphasized Spanish support to Vietnam in the near future for gender equality with a focus o­n institutional support and legal framework to guarantee equality between women and men; communication to raise public awareness of women’s role in the society and support for promoting women's rights in all fields; gender inequality and their vulnerabilities elimination and the fight against gender based violence and human trafficking.
He also congratulated the VWU o­n its achievements in supporting victims of violence and trafficking; providing them services packages and developing 200 trusted addresses and 8 counseling centers. Recognizing the VWU strategic role in promoting women's rights, the Minister said VWU is a trusted partner in many projects funded by Spain. Minister José Manuel hoped that the reviewed cooperation is a starting point for new and more ambitious goals in the cooperation relations of the 2 countries to face new challenges of the post 2015 development world.
The Peace House Shelter, a VWU model set-up with the Spanish support was introduced at this event. It is aimed to provide a comprehensive support service package to back-home victims of violence and trafficking. The participants also watched the video “Survivors” with stories about trafficked returnees having received support from the Peace House Shelter.
The 15th anniversary of Vietnam-Spain cooperation celeration affirms the Spanish commitment for its contribution to gender equality and women’s rights promotion, as well as long-term cooperation with VWU.
Translated by VWU International Relations Department