Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden Visits Phu Vinh Village to Promote Sustainable Value Chain and Traditional Craftsmanship

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HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden smiles after receiving a handmade gift made by Mr Vinh, one of the crafts masters in Phu Vinh village. Photo: UN in Viet Nam/Yoomi Jun

In the global market, both consumers and companies can enjoy durable and sturdy products thanks to the low costing materials such as plastic and chemical textile. However, in Phu Vinh craft village of Chuong My district, Ha Noi, there are hundreds of people who still make living out of handicraft products creating products from rattan baskets to bamboo necklace and jars that mirrors their rich cultural heritage. The uniqueness and sustainable design with green production throughout the whole production chains allowed the products from the village to enter global and high-end market ranging from France, Korea and Japan to Scandinavian countries.

In Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden's visit to Viet Nam, the United Nations in Viet Nam accompanied her to Phu Vinh craft village where she greeted with the local handcrafters – mostly female, and enjoyed the high-quality products designed by designers jointly brought in through the project from Viet Nam, Sweden and many other partnering countries. Currently, the village succeeded in producing almost zero waste by recycling the leftover materials for small products such as cup coasters and earrings.

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There are thousands of handicrafts, in Viet Nam preserving the knowledge and skills of traditional handicrafts. Photo: UN in Viet Nam/Yoomi Jun

Phu Vinh is one of the 1,300 villages surrounding Ha Noi where people diligently crafts hand-made products with traditional trimming and weaving skills passed on from generation to generation. Under the leadership of VIETCRAFT, a consortium of handicraft villages and communities across Viet Nam, supported by the UN in Viet Nam (UNIDO, FAO, ILO, ITC and UNCTAD), the community has seen remarkable changes and improvements in their production methods with sustainable product design and adopting green production practices. The market was connected to the global value chain and households were generating increased income with thousands of jobs created. Moreover, the raw material suppliers who are mostly in ethnic minority groups in the rural areas also benefitted from sustainable and stable income to support their families and future.

However, before UN's engagement, it was challenging for the villagers to make ends meet. This project reached 4,500 households both in village and rural areas – most of them from ethnic minority groups in mountainous region – who relied on selling handicraft products or by gathering raw natural materials from rattan or bamboo trees. As small-holders with limited expertise and access to the market, the poverty continued.

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Mr Vinh is demonstrating traditional techniques used for producing handicraft products. Photo: UN in Viet Nam/Yoomi Jun

"Being capacitated with sustainable and green design and being able to increase our product value for export to more demanding markets has enabled our family traditional crafts to be revitalized – which had worried us all the time before the project. An important benefit of the project, besides increased income and jobs, is preserving our craft heritage," told Mr Vinh, one of the craft masters in Phu Vinh village.

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(Left to right) Michael Croft, Representative of UNESCO Viet Nam; Pereric Högberg, Swedish Ambassador to Viet Nam; Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator; Mr Vinh, Craft Master of Phu Vinh village; HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden discussed sustainable production and design for green growth and cultural heritage. Photo: UN in Viet Nam/Yoomi Jun

During her visit, Crown Princess Victoria called on for "UN's continued work with strong partnership with the craft village and international partners not only to cultivate the cultural richness but also for the livelihoods of the people. People from across the world should be able to admire these beautiful and well-made products made by dedicated minds and sophisticated skills." She also made compliments to the craft artisans that they "shall be proud of this dedicated and meticulous work art."

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Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator stresses partnership and collaboration for Agenda 2030. Photo: UN in Viet Nam/Yoomi Jun

Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam stressed during his meeting with Crown Princess Victoria and other Heads of UN agencies that, "Viet Nam has made great progress in development. However, there are remaining challenges. Prioritizing more and more joint inter-agency collaboration and partnerships with the government, civil society, the private sector and international development partners in Viet Nam is our objectives in our way to achieve SDGs."

Building on the previous success and lessons, scaled-up project to link sustainable product design and green production to eco-tourism to improve rural household income and sustainable livelihood for craft communities are being planned with UNIDO, UNESCO, and our Vietnamese partner, VIETCRAFT.