In love with Vietnam

Ambassador of Norway promotes gender equality in Vietnam

Promoting gender equality, empowering women and inspiring the younger generation have always been top priorities for Ms. Grete Lochen as Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam.
Vietnam was Grete Lochen's first choice in her application for a new posting term as ambassador. "I came to Vietnam for the first time more than 25 years ago. I like Vietnam, its vibrant atmosphere, natural beauty, traditions, culinary culture, dynamism of the economy and, above all, friendly people. So I'm very happy to be back in Vietnam," she said.

During her time as Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam, Lochen participated in many activities to promote the global standards and practices for gender equality including protection of the rights of women and girls in Vietnam. She is a strong supporter of the inclusive and non-discriminatory measures to promote the status and opportunities for girls and women including empower them.

“Currently, no country in the world has achieved the goal of gender equality. Therefore, we need to make greater efforts, especially to engage the younger generation in this. Gender equality is also key in achieving sustainable development goals and leaving no one behind," Lochen said.

Norway is funding several projects in Vietnam including “Addressing gender biased sex selection and related harmful practices in Vietnam”, managed by UNFPA. Another project, managed by UNDP, is to include and train local women waste collectors in building effective models for waste and plastic waste management. This project has started in five provinces and cities of Vietnam but has the potential of scaling up to other provinces as well. Safe waste management, including medical waste is extremely important during a pandemic.


Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam Grete Lochen in May 2021. Photo: Viet Cuong / VNP

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son in 2020 awarded Grete Lochen the Certificate of Merit
for the advancement of women from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

Ambassador Grete Lochen works with Vietnamese diplomats. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

Ambassador Grete Lochen on a business trip to Quang Tri. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

 Ambassador Grete Lochen chats with local people. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

"Investing in girls and women is not only the right thing to do, but also a smart thing to do. It pays off! Not fully using the skills and the capacities of 50% of the population in any country is really bad investment”,  said the Ambassador.

Lochen has met and talked with Vietnamese people in different parts of the country. In Hanoi, she joined her colleague ambassadors in visiting the national women's football team on Tet, ran with children with visual impairment, spent time with students from numerous universities in Hanoi in the campaign "16 days of action against gender-based violence" organized by UN Women Vietnam.

Ambassador Lochen also met with members of the Hanoi's network of female entrepreneurs to promote empowerment and equal business opportunities. She has visited many cities and provinces in Vietnam to learn about the socio-economic situation and also challenges faced by the local communities, as well as to understand more how women and members of disadvantaged groups are included.

Lochen talks to young people about environmentally friendly recycled products. Photo: Viet Cuong / VNP

Lochen chats with managers of the Coffee House restaurant chain about using recycled materials. Photo: Viet Cuong / VNP

Lochen joins a running event with blind children in Hanoi. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

She mingles with Vietnamese young people and colleagues at the Norwegian Embassy. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

Lochen meets with students from Vinschool in Hanoi. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

Ambassador Grete Lochen and Vietnamese young people make efforts to promote gender equality and empower women. Photo: Norwegian Embassy

At the International Symposium on the Role of Women and the Prevention of Covid-19 organized by the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam and the United Nations, Ambassador Lochen reaffirmed Norway’s continued support for Vietnamese women to realize their full potential. “Women, Peace and Security

such as inclusion of women in UN Peacekeeping Operations as well as in any peace processes and mediation efforts is key if we want to achieve sustainable and lasting peace”, said the Ambassador.

Story: Bich Van        Photos: Viet Cuong & Files       Translated by Hong Hanh

Japanese Coordinator Helps Economic Empowerment for Ethnic youth

Japanese Coordinator Helps Economic Empowerment for Ethnic youth

Haruna Ishimaru, a Japanese woman, has worked as the project coordinator for the Plan  International's "Promoting economic empowerment for ethnic Minority Youth in ha Giang and Lai Chau" initiative. Her work involves regular travel to remote areas within these provinces, where she directly supports the economic development of ethnic minority youth.