The UN in Viet Nam dragon boat promotes One UN Spirit for UN75 and Sustainable Development Goals

The UN in Viet Nam joined the 2020 Dragon Boat Race hosted by City of Hanoi to promote solidarity commemorating UN’s 75th anniversary and 5th year of SDGs.

In November, the weather in Viet Nam turns cooler in the northern provinces allowing people to enjoy outdoor activities after a long and hot summer. The 2020 Dragon Boat Race was organized by the Hanoi People’s Committee on 14 November 2020 calling both amateur and professional paddlers and athletes to compete in the West Lake – one of the signatures of Hanoi.

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, UN staff in Viet Nam organized a dragon boat team to represent the United Nations in the amateur race and promote Sustainable Development Goals. Comprised of 14 members of six nationalities from seven UN agencies, the team practiced during weekends and early in the morning to come together as One UN and paddle in harmony.

“The most important thing in dragon boat is that you must paddle together in sync to give it the speed. You can have 10 physically fit people, but the boat will not go forward unless you are paddling as if you are one person. It’s just like how different UN agencies are working together for the same goal of supporting Viet Nam,” said Tran Quynh Hoa, ILO Communications Officer who initiated the idea and a regular rower.

The core message of the United Nations in 2020 has been solidarity and global cooperation. The Secretary-General reiterated the message in his speeches for the General Assembly and many High-Level events that there is no way for the world to overcome global challenges and the pandemic without putting the people at the center calling for stronger and greater solidarity to overcome global crises and to build back better.

“I am very proud of our One UN team who participated in the Race, and it shows that we are more beautiful and stronger together. We are all set to help Viet Nam achieve SDGs by 2030!” said Kamal Malhotra, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam.

“I am glad that we could represent the United Nations and promote SDGs to the public who joined and observed the race. I believe the team manifested solidarity and how a group of people from different nationality, background and organization can come together to fight for a common goal. And we had a lot of fun together as One UN Dragon Boat Team,” said Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative and Chair of UN Communications Group who joined the team as drummer. Naomi was wrapped in SDGs flag to bring more visibility to the team.

In previous years, the city had organized the Dragon Boat Festival for both national and international teams to join. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city only invited teams in Viet Nam to stimulate domestic tourism and promote the spirit of culture and sports for local Vietnamese to participate and enjoy. As of 14 November, Viet Nam had gone almost 90 days without local transmission of COVID-19.

More photos can be found here:

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Yoomi Jun
Communications Officer
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