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Joint Statement of VN-Australia Forum on Women’s Empowerment in the Foreign Service in the Digital Age

VGP - Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade co-hosted the Forum on Women’s Empowerment in the Foreign Service in the Digital Age on 3 October 2019 in Ha Noi.

October 03, 2019 5:16 PM GMT+7

This is the first step towards implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minster Pham Binh Minh and Senator of Australia, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women Marise Payne last June.

The following is the Joint Statement of Forum on Women’s Empowerment in the Foreign Service in the Digital Age:

Participants to the Forum on Women’s Empowerment in the Foreign Service in the Digital Age held in Ha Noi on October 3, 2019

1.  On 12 June 2019, H.E. Mr.Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam, Minister of Foreign Affairs and H.E. the Hon Marise Payne, Senator of Australia, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (hereinafter referred to as the “MOU”) on the empowerment of women in the foreign service for comprehensive and extensive international integration in the digital age, thus strengthening cooperation between the two Ministries and contributing to deepened Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and Australia.

2. As a first step towards implementing this aforementioned MOU, Viet Nam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter referred to as “MOFA”) and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (hereinafter referred to as “DFAT”),co-hosted the Forum on Women’s Empowerment in the Foreign Service in the Digital Age on 3 October 2019 in Ha Noi. The event gathered around 80 participants, including H.E. Amb. Bui Thanh Son, First Deputy Minister, MOFA of Viet Nam, H.E. Ms. Julie Heckscher, First Assistant Secretary, DFAT of Australia, various Australian and Vietnamese Ambassadors, Ambassadors of the Informal Gender Coordination Group and high-level diplomats and other high-level officials of MOFA and DFAT.

Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son addresses the Forum.

3. The Forum took place amid an era of accelerated realisation of gender equality and women’s empowerment, as part of the on-going global efforts to fight inequalities and not leave anyone behind. 2020 marks the 75th year of the Charter of the United Nations, the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men and the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls.

4. As part of this global movement, the Forum provided a platform for both sides and partners to share experiences in achieving gender equality, tackle prevailing gender bias, identify the policies needed and set priorities for actions to promote women’s empowerment in the foreign service in the digital age. Participants agreed that expanding women’s empowerment and embedding gender equality were critical to the success of, and economic growth in, both countries. They assessed the impacts of digital economy on the foreign service as well as the new requirements of digital diplomacy. In this regard, the Forum commended the two sides for their efforts and achievements in bridging the gender gap and promoting women’s empowerment over the years.

Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga, Honorary President of the ASEAN Women's Circle in Ha Noi (AWCH), speaks at a seminar on policies to promote women’s empowerment in the foreign service in the digital age

5. During the Forum, participants examined strategies to assist women develop leadership skills set in diplomacy, and promote women’s meaningful participation and voice in all decision-making and management as a means of achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth. They looked at the issues facing women diplomats in both countries and reviewed where efforts to empower women have worked and the challenges that lie ahead. Participants also exchanged views on how to harness the opportunities and respond to the challenges associated with digitalization for women in the Foreign Service, sharing experiences on how to provide women with theskills sets needed to thrive in the digital era in the 21st century.

6. To take this cooperation forward, MOFA and DFAT are committed to further strengthening cooperation in enhancing the understanding of gender norms and behaviors for male and female officers in foreign services. This cooperation will be delivered through training and capacity building for male and female officers on gender norms and behaviors, gender equality, women’s empowerment, conscious and unconscious bias and other issues.

7.     MOFA and DFAT committed to continue building stronger networks and strengthening ties between female diplomats. Both sides look forward to further promoting women’s empowerment in the Foreign Service, deepening bilateral ties and to closer cooperation in multilateral fora on gender equality and other issues of common concern, especially when Viet Nam takes on the role of ASEAN Chairmanship 2020./.