Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and the International Committee on Search for Missing Persons signed Implementation Plan on cooperation in improving capacity to identify remains from the war
Representatives of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology and ICMP representatives signed the implementation plan at the ceremony
Attending the ceremony was Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha - Vice President of VAST; Tim Rieser, a senior foreign policy adviser to Senator Patrick Leahy, a strong supporter of cooperation projects between Vietnam and the United States in overcoming the aftermath of the war; Ms. Aler Grubbs, USAID Vietnam Director; Ms. Ritu Tariyal - Director of the Office of Mediation and Inclusive Development; Mr. Patrick White, ICMP's Executive Director of Programs; Mr. Le Tri Dung - Director general of the Americas Department, as well as director of Vietnam Missing Persons Agency (VNOSMP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives of relevant agencies under the Government of Vietnam, including: Vietnam Missing Persons Office (MIA), Military Forensic Institute - Ministry of Defense, and National Institute of Forensics, Ministry of Health.
VAST’s representative Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phi Quyet Tien, Deputy Director of the Institute of Biotechnology, and ICMP's representative Mr. Patrick White, ICMP's Executive Director of Programs, jointly signed the Implementation Plan, valid until the end of 2024.
The plan is to implement a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) to support Vietnam in improving its wartime remains assessment capacity between the Vietnam Missing Persons Agency (VNOSMP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).The DNA Testing Center of the Institute of Biotechnology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, is the main technical unit tasked with coordinating ICMP as a partner of USAID in implementing cooperation under the MOI framework.
Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, VAST Vice President, speaking at the ceremony
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha said: “VAST has been invested by the Government of Vietnam to build a DNA Assessment Center and completed the investment plan in July 2019. Currently, the DNA Assessment Center under VAST has been identified by Vietnamese authorities as the focal point for the implementation of international cooperation activities in the field of identification of remains from the war. The implementation plan signed today between VAST and ICMP in the direction of optimizing DNA separation technology from neck bone samples, developing analytical techniques, applying next-generation sequencing technology (NGS) to identify missing persons in war on a large scale is suitable for the conditions of DNA testing units in Vietnam in the current period. Today's event demonstrates the cooperation and cohesion after the war between the authorities of the two Governments Vietnam and the US in the spirit of "closing the past, looking to the future".
Mr. Patrick White, ICMP's Executive Director of Programs, speaking at the ceremony
At the ceremony, Patrick White said: "The plan lays the groundwork for the application of next-generation DNA sequencing technology to identify people missing from war on a large scale. Through this Implementation Plan, ICMP hopes to contribute to supporting the relevant Vietnamese agencies in the search for those missing from the war."
On this occasion, on behalf of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Vietnam Agency for Searching for Missing Persons (VNOSMP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Information partners who have actively participated in the mission of DNA identification of people missing during the war.
A souvenir photo after the signing ceremony
The delegation attended the signing ceremony to visit the facilities and laboratories at the DNA Testing Center
Translated by Phuong Ha
Link to Vietnamese version