DATE: 3 March 2009
Ambassador visits central provincesThe Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr Allaster Cox, will travel to Quang Ngai on 3–4 March 2009 to discuss development priorities with provincial leaders and visit projects receiving Australian aid.
“Quang Ngai has a long-term relationship with Australia’s aid program in Vietnam and is an important target province for assistance,” Mr Cox said.
“Since 1998, Australia has provided more than AU$54 million to Quang Ngai, mostly for poverty reduction and disaster mitigation activities.”
The Ambassador will discuss development priorities with provincial leaders, visit a commune receiving support under Program 135, and open a planning workshop for Program 135.
“Australia is committed to helping Vietnam reduce the poverty rate of its ethnic minorities,” Mr Cox said.
“This is still a major problem in the upland areas of Quang Ngai, with more than 60 per cent of people in these areas living in poverty.”
“Australia’s implementation support program in Quang Ngai aims to help the province effectively implement Program 135. Australia has committed more than AU$50 million at both the national and provincial level to achieve this objective.”
The Ambassador will also visit sites funded under the Quang Ngai Natural Disaster Mitigation Project, including a safe harbour in Tinh Hoa and the Centre for Management and Mitigation of Natural Disasters.
“The Australian Government, through AusAID, has been supporting natural disaster management in Vietnam on many fronts for more than 10 years,” Mr Cox said.
The Ambassador will launch the selection of Quang Ngai as a pilot province to develop an integrated disaster risk management plan. He will also discuss the construction of a second safe harbour in My A, under the Natural Disaster Risk Management Program to which Australia is provided technical assistance.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce today that Quang Ngai province has been selected as one of the 12 provinces to be included in the integrated disaster risk management planning program,” Mr Cox said.
“These plans aim to strengthen planning in the province for prevention, preparation, and response to natural disasters. They are integral to addressing the issue of increasing economic costs and human risks to natural disasters.”
The Ambassador will also open a climate change workshop on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) in Hue on 5 March.
“The Australian Government takes very seriously the threats posed by climate change and our role in addressing this great challenge of our time,” Mr Cox said.
“The recent devastating fires and floods in Australia have shown how damaging environment events can be to people’s lives and how important it is to protect the world from dangerous climate change.
“Climate change is a concern for us all and this workshop is timely in preparing Vietnam for taking part in a REDD mechanism after 2012 and strengthening the capacity to respond to the requirements set by the international community through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.”
The Ambassador will also meet with Australian NGOs working in water and sanitation and disaster management in Quang Ngai, and with volunteers working in charities including Children’s Hope in Action and Lifestart Foundation in Hoi An.