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Top 10 outstanding events in Vietnam in 2020

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) has selected the top 10 outstanding events in Vietnam in 2020.

1. Successfully organising Congresses of centrally-run Party organisations; completing documents and personnel plans for the 13th National Party Congress

In implementing Directive No 35-CT/TW of the Politburo, all 67 centrally-run Party organisations conducted their congresses for the 2020-2025 tenure at an earlier time than in the last three tenures in line with regulations and with high quality amid difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters such as storms and flooding. In three sessions held throughout the year, the Party Central Committee received and studied opinions contributed by Party members and the people to complete all documents and reach a high level of consensus on personnel plans being submitted to the 13th National Party Congress.

Party organisations have promoted democracy and brainpower to identify opportunities and challenges, thus establishing orientations, tasks, and strategic breakthroughs as well as suitable solutions with a high level of feasibility for the next five years. The number of members in Party committees has been reduced but they still maintained good structure and quality.

2.Vietnam a bright spot in the world in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic

With unity and determination in the entire political system and the people, Vietnam has brought the COVID-19 pandemic largely under control. As of December 25 morning, the country had 1,433 infections with 1,281 recoveries, while the world has seen around 80 million cases and more than 1.7 million fatalities. Right from the beginning of the outbreak, leaders of the Party and State have been resolved to “fight the pandemic like fighting the enemy”, and remained faithful to the motto of “preventing; detecting; quarantining; stamping out; effectively treating”, to “protect the health and lives of the people”. As a result, Vietnam has been recognised by the world as a bright spot in the pandemic fight.

Besides its success in treatment, Vietnam also successfully isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus in February and began human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in late December.

3. Multilateral diplomacy makes important imprints

In 2020, Vietnam successfully performed the roles of ASEAN Chair 2020, President of the 41st General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-41), and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure, actively making contributions to the building and shaping of multilateral institutions.

In a “cohesive and responsive” spirit, Vietnam organised the 36th and 37th ASEAN Summits and related meetings online and semi-online, presenting 13 initiatives to control COVID-19 and implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. The 37th ASEAN Summit adopted more than 80 documents, the highest number passed at an ASEAN summit, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Vietnam proposed initiatives to organise the first open discussion on UN-ASEAN cooperation, with the theme “Upholding the UN Charter to Maintain International Peace and Security”, and set the date of December 27 as International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.

4. GDP growth expands in the context of severe global economic downturn

As the global economy fell into severe crisis due to the impact of COVID-19, Vietnam was one of only a few countries to maintain economic growth, with GDP rising 2-3 percent. The economy has seen a number of bright signs, such as a record trade surplus of more than 20 billion USD and 2,500 foreign-invested projects worth nearly 15 billion USD. About 180,000 new companies were set up or existing companies resumed operations, up 0.9 percent year-on-year. The disbursement of public investment posted the highest increase in the 2011-2020 period, of more than 90 percent. These outcomes result from the efforts of the entire political system and all economic sectors in implementing the twin targets of preventing the pandemic and boosting economic development, as well as from Vietnam joining new generation free trade agreements, including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1.

5. Severe storms, flooding, and landslides hit the central region, with 249 dead or missing

Seven consecutive storms hit Vietnam’s central region in October and November, bringing unprecedented torrential rains, leading to widespread flooding that caused the death or missing of 249 people. Some 50,000 ha of rice and crops were destroyed, while more than 4.5 million heads of livestock drowned. There were also 149,000 ha of forest affected, while a range of infrastructure and civil works were damaged. Devastating flooding and landslides at the Rao Trang 3 hydropower project in Thua Thien-Hue province, Nam Tra My and Phuoc Son districts in Quang Nam province and Huong Hoa district in Quang Tri killed many and left others missing, causing devastating losses to the localities.

6. Strict disciplining of senior officials committing law violations continues

The Party Central Committee, the Politburo, and the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat and Inspection Commission handed down strict disciplinary measures to many senior officials under the Party Central Committee’s management in 2020, including two members and one former member of the Politburo and five members and former members of the Party Central Committee, for their wrongdoings relating to corruption cases and other violations.

Investigations into a number of very serious and complex cases were sped up, including those relating to the Hai Thanh company, the Vietnam People’s Navy, Mobifone, Vietnam Social Security, BIDV, Sacombank, and the Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Corporation, as well as violations in land management and the management and use of State property in HCM City and Da Nang city. The ratio of asset reclamations increased.

7. Breakthroughs in national digital transformation programme

The National Digital Transformation Programme to 2025 and vision to 2030 was approved by the Prime Minister with the aim of making Vietnam a digital country with stability and prosperity and pioneering new technologies and models by 2030. The programme targets the twin goals of developing e-government, e-economy, and e-society, and forming digital technology businesses with global competitiveness. The Government has defined “Make in Vietnam” technologies as the foundation for digital transformation, which are expected to help the country take advantage of technology to post breakthrough growth and become a strong technology country over the next five years.

In realising the goal of developing e-government, the National Public Service Portal provided more than 2,650 online public services during the year, along with 6,700 administrative procedures at four levels.

8. For the first time, Vietnam launches a framework programme of general education with several sets of textbooks

Vietnam introduced a new general education programme for first graders in the 2020-2021 school year, with a number of different textbooks that follow the same general education framework, thus realising the policy of mobilising social efforts in compiling textbooks and eliminating monopolies in textbook publishing and distribution.

Unreasonable prices of some textbooks along with problems with the use of language in others caused public concern, however. The Ministry of Education and Training has accepted public opinion and adjusted the content of some textbooks.

9. Vietnam records a miracle by conducting world’s first limb transplant from a live donor

On February 24, the Central Military Hospital 108 announced that it had successfully performed the world’s first limb transplant, a hand, from a live donor. It was also the first limb transplant in Southeast Asia.

The HCM City Children’s Hospital 1 also successfully separated conjoined twins Truc Nhi and Dieu Nhi, with the sisters now able to walk on their own.

10. Dak Nong Geopark joins the network of UNESCO Global Geoparks

On July 7, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognised the Dak Nong Geopark as a global geopark. In the Central Highlands, the park has some 65 heritage sites, including craters, a network of 50 volcanic caves stretching a total length of 10 km, and waterfalls. It also boasts interesting culture, natural geology, and traces of early human life.

The Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark in Ha Giang and the Non Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark in Cao Bang province were previously recognised as global geoparks./.