INTRODUCTION: Page 2           
Organizers & sponsors
The conference was an initiative of Föreningen Levande Framtid (”Living Future Society”), a Swedish non-profit organization which assembled a steering committee of scientists and other experts to plan and organize the project; details in the “Project Review”.

Financial support was provided by Oxfam America, Oxfam Netherlands (NOVIB), Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust (England), Swiss-Vietnam Association, American Friends Service Committee, Ford Foundation, Norwegian Red Cross Society, Swiss Red Cross Society, Umverteilen Foundation (Germany) and Sea Otter Productions (Sweden).
Significance for the victims
The ongoing significance of these issues for the people of Vietnam was underlined in a message of support from Vice-President Nguyen Thi Binh and in the opening remarks of Prof. Nguyen Trong Nhan, as follows:

Message to the Vietnam Environmental Conference
Mme. Nguyen Thi Binh
Vice President of Vietnam

I was delighted to learn that a conference to discuss solutions for the alleviation of the consequences of the Vietnam War, including the use of toxic chemicals, would be held during 26-28 July 2002 in Stockholm, Sweden. As Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Honorary President of the Vietnam Red Cross's Agent Orange Victims Funds, and President of the Council of National Funds for Child Protection, I warmly welcome the conference as a forum for the discussion of urgent humanitarian problems concerning the legitimate interests of the Vietnamese people.
I sincerely hope that the conference will increase awareness among the people of the United States regarding the severe consequences remaining from the American War in Vietnam, and help persuade the U.S. government to recognize its liability and its responsibility to assist in the alleviation of those consequences.
The war ended more than a quarter-century ago, but its deadly aftermath for the people and the environment of Vietnam linger on, with no end in sight. This applies especially to dioxin, which is the cause of diseases transmitted from generation to generation. Many of our people have died in sorrow. Many innocent children born after the war also suffer from the indirect effects of dioxin, their bodies afflicted by malformations and incurable diseases.
Humanitarian organizations, the government of Vietnam, and Vietnamese society in general have been taking active steps to overcome the severe consequences of the war. In addition, many individuals, non-governmental organizations, national Red Cross societies, and other governments have been very supportive in this regard. However, the resources thus far available have not been adequate to the great needs of the victims. We need more assistance from our friends around the world, especially in the United States.
I am very pleased that this conference is taking place in Sweden, a peace- and justice-loving country that has been sympathetic toward and supportive of Vietnam and its people in times of war and peace. I hope that the conference will receive support from the Swedish people and government, as well as other people and governments around the world. The issues it addresses are crucial to the legitimate interests of the Vietnamese people, especially those relating to the tragic plight of the victims of Agent Orange used during the American War in Vietnam.
I would very much like to attend the conference, myself, in order to contribute my ideas and to thank in person the delegates and the Swedish people. Unfortunately, the constraints of a very busy schedule prevent me from doing so. But I would like to convey my earnest hope that all wars, especially those involving the use of toxic chemicals, will cease to occur everywhere on earth, so that all of us can live in happiness, co-operation, love and mutual support.
I wish the conference every success.
With all good wishes,

Nguyen Thi Binh
1 July 2002

Translation: Vietnam Red Cross Society

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Opening Remarks to the Conference
Prof. Nguyen Trong Nhan
Head of Vietnamese delegation, President of the
Vietnam Red Cross and former Minister of Health

On behalf of the Vietnamese delegation to the conference I wish to extend to all of you our warmest greetings of solidarity, friendship and co-operation.
We are delighted to attend this conference organized in Stockholm, Sweden by scientists, social activists, international non-governmental organizations (including those based in the United States) that sympathize with the people of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, and support their legitimate wish to overcome the grave consequences of the decades-long war.
Millions of tons of bombs, tens of million litres of toxic chemicals were dumped on the lands of peoples aspiring to independence, freedom, peace and friendship.
Everyone witnessed the triumph of truth: Victory belonged to the people of the three countries of Indochina.
In peacetime, the people of Vietnam, as well as those of Cambodia and Laos, have been and are reconstructing their homelands, improving standards of living, integrating into the region and developing relationships with many countries of the world.
But even in time of peace, the accidental detonation of unexploded ordinance left behind after the war is a tragic cause of deaths and casualties for tens of thousands of innocent people, including many children.
An estimated one million victims of Agent Orange live in deepest misery and distress. Many victims have died in silence. Generations of innocent children born to the victims directly exposed to Agent Orange are suffering from serious birth defects, deprived of a normal human existence.
Moreover, vast areas of forest have been damaged, agricultural lands have been rendered non-cultivable.
All that is greatly hampering the reconstruction process of the country.
Conscientious people around the world understand quite well the responsibility of the U.S. government for the serious problems in the aftermath of the war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Ordinary citizens in the United States are also concerned about their government's standpoint in this regard.
Faithful to their tradition of tolerance, the people of Vietnam are ready to leave behind the bitter past and look to the future in order to cooperate and assist each other. But we cannot ignore the United States' responsibility to help resolve the war of aggression's long-term effects on the people and the environment.
Some may feel that since the war in Vietnam ended 27 years ago, it is best not to dwell upon it. But let me remind you that, still today, criminals from World War II are being hunted down and put on trial-- and that war ended 57 years ago.
While attending the Annual Convention of the American Red Cross in May of this year, I happened to come across a leaflet entitled "For many, World War II is not over".
I strongly believe that the dark past can only be overcome if the U.S. government develops sufficient courage to begin resolving the serious consequences of the war.
I trust that the spirit and objectives of our conference will be fulfilled, because they are in accordance with the ethics and consciousness of all people of the earth.
I sincerely wish all of you good health, happiness and a fruitful outcome.

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