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Renewing methodology and promoting creativity in scientific research on environmental protection


   In recent years, the viewpoint, orientation, policy and legislations of the Party and the State on environmental protection have been developed based on scientific, philosophical and practical bases. It could be seen that scientific research is playing an increasingly important role and crucial role in development of policies and legislations and in state management and implementation of environmental protection tasks. To better understand this topic, on the occasion of the World Environment Day 2017, the Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine (VEM) had an interview with Ms. Nguyễn Song Tùng - Deputy Director of Human Geography Institute, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, one of the most outstanding scientists in environmental protection which was awarded the Vietnam Environment Award 2017 by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). 

Ms. Nguyễn Song Tùng
Deputy Director of Human Geography Institute

   VEM: Can you tell us some major results of scientific research in environmental protection by yourself as well as by the Institute of Human Geography recently?

   Ms. Nguyễn Song Tùng: Since 1994, I have worked at the Socio-economic Geography Center, which is now the Institute of Human Geography. In the last 20 years, in the area of environmental protection, I focused on studying issues relating to policies and social critics, and reviewing legal documents on environmental protection, particularly environmental science, climate change, sustainable development, human geography, green economics, and socialization of environmental protection…

   With fundamental research case studies, I participated in many researches which contribute to the formulation, revision and review of legislations on environmental protection  such as: the Law on Environmental Protection 2014, National Master Plan on Biodiversity Conservation to 2020, vision to 2030; the Joint Statement between the National Committee with Development partners on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Việt Nam; national solutions in the implementation of Agenda 21 on sustainable development…

   In addition, my colleagues and I implemented some scientific researches such as: Research “Basic solutions to develop green economy models in agriculture in Việt Nam during 2011 - 2020”, implemented during 2011 - 2012.   The research clarified theoretical foundations on green economy in agriculture, experience of other countries in development of green economy in agriculture; at the same time, proposed solutions to enhance awareness of local people on development of agriculture production models towards green economy; Research “Study to develop regional coordination mechanism and policies in responding to climate change in Việt Nam”, implemented during 2013 - 2015. The results of the research addressed the scientific foundation on mechanism, and policies on regional linkage in responding to climate change; analysed features of climate change in different regions of Việt Nam; assessed the possibility, challenge and outlook of regional linkage, from which to propose viewpoints, orientations and solutions on mechanism, policies and strategies on regional linkage in responding to natural disasters, climate change…

   In addition, in the report requesting the Vietnam Environment Award 2017, I also proposed to MONRE new research orientations combining scientific research and policy advisement on environment, with following researches: new orientations in ecological agriculture development; green agriculture; green consumption in sustainable development; public - private cooperation in promoting urban environment service; propaganda and awareness raising for staff of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences on environmental protection.

Individuals and organizations have outstanding achievements in environmental protection at Vietnam Environment Award 2017  

   VEM: Can you share with us some difficulties as well as advantages in scientific research in environmental protection currently?

   Ms. Nguyễn Song Tùng: regarding advantages, recently, the Party and the State have paid great attention to environmental protection through special treatment policies for scientists having outstanding studies on environmental protection. The awarding and honouring activities are considerably well organized in all levels, which support and nourish young talents and high quality human resources for the country.

   At the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and the Institute of Human Geography in particular, the Party’s committee and the Management board have paid great attention and proved substantial support. The Institute has developed and created a fair and favourable mechanism for all young talents to develop in studying and performing. Particularly, trainings and capacity building are provided through participating in researches at the Institute, Ministerial and State levels; through researching, and experience sharing on scientific research and expertise exchange…

   However, in addition to advantages, there are difficulties such as: key national scientific programs have not paid great attention on contents relating to environmental protection in terms of social science and humanity. The Institute has not accessed to substantial financial resources for research on environmental protection, accessed to information and technical reports on environment as research materials and improvement in research quality. On the other hand, research products are currently transferred just through publications on magazines and books but not yet to environment policy making agencies for policy consultancy and advice.

   In addition, the mechanism to support an effective, professional and friendly working environment to promote the creativity of young talents is not available. In reality, talents in general and young talents in particular always need favourable physical equipment to create and to nourish dreams and passions and to implement big ambitions. This is also an important incentive for young talents to develop.

   VEM: Do you have any recommendations to build capacity, knowledge, creativity, and aspirations for young scientists, particularly on environmental protection?

   Ms. Nguyễn Song Tùng: to make scientific research on environmental protection to be meaningful and practical, in addition to basic knowledge on environmental protection, it is necessary to focus on approaches and methodology on social science and humanity. Research approaches and methodologies are usually effectively applied in environmental protection studies such as “top - down, bottom - up” approaches, systemic approaches, inter-sectoral approaches, interview methods, social inventory, group discussion… in addition, it is necessary to focus on some groups in society.

   For research staff, it is necessary to implement capacity building and awareness raising for staff of the Việt Nam Academy of Social Sciences on environmental protection to enhance the quality of the integration of environmental knowledge into social and humidity studies; at the same time, to create accumulative effects on the community. This is an important activity to promote the relationship between the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences and MONRE. In addition, to further promote the scientific research on environmental protection in general, it is necessary to enhance investment budget to implement research on environmental protection, to enhance close cooperation among state management agencies, training facilities, localities and research institutes to achieve maximum outcomes in research, training and application of research results.

   Particularly, for the young generation - the future of the country, it is important to train the young generation on environmental protection awareness, particularly: collaboration with the Youth Union of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences to organise trainings and awareness raising for the youth on environmental protection; organize competitions, develop and expand models on energy savings, implement sustainable consumption practice, apply environmental knowledge in research activities for integration into social and humanity policies… From the creative and effective implementation, the task has brought meaningful outcomes for the socialization of environmental protection. At the same time, the implementation of above tasks orientates Việt Nam to participate and implement the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 - 2015) which contributes to environmental protection training for the young generation in general and young scientific staff in particular.

   In addition, to enhance capacity, knowledge, creativity, and passion for young scientists, it is necessary to have the attention of different levels; renew research methods, in order to gradually apply advanced and modern experience in the world, propose comprehensive and feasible solutions. From my own experience in the past, many proposed research ideas have been applied in reality such as the organization of the Youth forum on environmental protection at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences; the propaganda of environmental protection messages to all staff of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences by diverse methods that are easy to remember and to understand■

   VEM: Thank you!

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