The U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange and Dioxin
The idea for a citizen-to-citizen dialogue on Agent Orange was first explored in 2006 by the Ford Foundation. The idea was that a group of this kind could raise the awareness of people in the United States, including U.S. officials and business leaders, about this last and troubling legacy of the Vietnam war. It was formally established in February 2007 as an initiative of prominent private citizens, scientists and policy-makers on both sides, working on issues that the two countries’ governments have found difficult to address. It is not an implementing agency or a fundraising organization.
Its role has been to call attention to five priority tasks to be undertaken in a humanitarian spirit: establish treatment and education centers for Vietnamese with disabilities; cooperate with the U.S. and Vietnamese governments to contain and clean up dioxin, beginning at three priority airport “hot spots”; set up a modern dioxin testing laboratory in Vietnam; foster programs for training of trainers in restoration and management of damaged landscapes; and educate the U.S. public on the issues.
Dialogue Group Policy Papers
• Download the 10-year Plan of Action (June 2010), English or Tiếng Việt
• Download the First Year Report (July 2011), English or Tiếng Việt
• Download the Second Year Report (May 2012), English or Tiếng Việt
• Download the DG’s Recommendations to the USAID (May 2012)
• Download the Third Year Report (2013), English or Tiếng Việt
Recommendations for Addressing Agent Orange in Vietnam
The below are the Aspen Institute Agent Orange in Vietnam Program’s recommendations to the U.S. Administration and Government of Vietnam to implement commitments to clean up and support of communities affected by Agent Orange in Vietnam:
Recommendations to the U.S. Administration
- The Government of Vietnam’s National Action Plan should be part of the on-going official dialogue on Agent Orange. The U.S. government should respond with written comments on the Plan as well as publish its own strategic plan for a multi-year effort on Agent Orange, as called for by Congress. This document could offer a framework for the contributions of other donors and become the basis for closer cooperation with the Government of Vietnam and Vietnamese nongovernmental organizations.
- USAID should prioritize the heavily sprayed provinces, as called for by Congress. Design and implement a health/disability program with Vietnamese local government and nongovernmental organizations in the eight heavily sprayed provinces around Da Nang (Quang Nam, Thua-Thien-Hue, Quang Tri and Da Nang) and Bien Hoa (Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh).
- The State Department should seek out and actively encourage other bilateral donors as well as American and other foreign corporations in Vietnam to support health/disability projects through their development assistance and corporate philanthropy programs.
- After nearly six years of appropriations for Agent Orange work in Vietnam the Congress should review progress and assess results.
Recommendations to the Government of Vietnam
- Consolidate existing information on people with disabilities, their situations and their needs, for every district and province, beginning with the heavily sprayed provinces. Make it available to donors to inform decisions on programs and the overall levels of required resources.
- Request the U.S. government to work with Committee 33 and the Ministry of Defense to assess and clean up the remaining smaller dioxin hotspots in Vietnam over the next 2-3 years. This goal can be accomplished at the same time that the U.S. and Vietnam are remediating the major dioxin hotspots at Da Nang and Bien Hoa at little additional cost.
- Publish an annual report of expenditures on dioxin remediation, social services and allowances for people with disabilities, including those impacted by dioxin, and related costs. Such information would highlight the Vietnamese government’s leading role in addressing these challenges and would help encourage a more generous response from U.S. policymakers.
- Bring the Agent Orange issue before the annual meeting of the official Vietnam Development Forum (formerly the Consultative Group on Official Development Assistance) to call for donors’ support for health/disabilities projects in their on-going programs of development assistance.
For More Information: Contact Charles Bailey, Charles.BaileyADV [at] gmail.com or +1 (201) 572-4508.