In his welcoming speech, Dung informed participants that so far, a total of 18 Vietnamese and 38 French localities have engaged in 240 joint projects across various fields, including health, education, water-sanitation, heritage conservation, Francophone community, rural development and sustainable development.
Hanoi, the host of the conference this year, is proud to be among pioneer localities joining the mechanism, he said with delight.
Chairman of the capital People’s Committee Tran Sy Thanh stressed the conference’s large scale in a series of events marking the 50th anniversary of the two nations’ diplomatic relations and a decade of their strategic partnership.
Spotlighting the local collaboration as a driving force behind sustainable and comprehensive recovery and development post-COVID-19, the conference is expected to foster such ties and seek effective cooperation solutions to current global challenges. The number of members participating in the event comes to some 800 government officials, business executives and organisation leaders.
French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery said the event is highly symbolic, and expected to create a new impetus for the relationship between the two countries.
The diplomat said he welcomes increasing Vietnam – France joint cooperation in such areas as cultural heritage value preservation and promotion, wastewater treatment, and climate change.
On April 14 and 15, four panel discussions are scheduled to take place, considering the topics of sustainable urban areas; environment, water and water treatment; culture, heritage and tourism; and smart city and digitisation.
On the sidelines, there is a French festival, a Vietnam-France economic forum, an art programme, and many exhibitions, which put the bilateral ties in the limelight.
Hanoi also plans the organisation of some city tours to take foreign visitors to popular places in the city, which have witnessed the long history between the two nations, including Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Temple of Literature, Old Quarter, and old French villas.
Cooperation between Vietnamese and French communities date back to the 1990s. The conference has been held every two or three years since 1996, with Vietnamese and French localities taking turns to host the event. It is a chance for both sides to discuss difficulties, evaluate the results in bilateral relations, and deliver feasible solutions to foster their partnerships, thus strengthening the diplomatic ties between the two countries.