Science-technology research leads way in natural resources and environment sector

July 22, 2022 - 09:13
Trần Bình Trọng, head of the Science and Technology Department, under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), speaks to Tài nguyên & Môi trường (Natural Resources & Environment) on the research projects to better manage and utilise natural resources, protect the environment, and respond to climate change. 
Trần Bình Trọng, head of the Science and Technology Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). — Photo

Trần Bình Trọng, head of the ministerial Science and Technology Department, speaks to Tài Nguyên & Môi Trường (Natural Resources & Environment) newspaper about research projects to better manage and utilise natural resources and protect the environment

What is your overall evaluation of achievements in science-technology research projects in the environment sector in the past 20 years?

In the past 20 years, studies have been conducted following the approved direction for each period, under the management of the MONRE’s Party Committee.

The results have provided scientific grounds and a practical basis to build and complete the legal framework for the sector, such as the Law on Biodiversity; Land Law; Law on Environmental Protection; Law on Hydrometeorology; Law on Marine and Island Resources and Environment; Law on Topography and Cartography; Law on Water Resources; and the guidelines for implementing the laws on water resources and on minerals), as well as other legal documents that contribute to the sector.

In addition, the study results also act as the basis of direction in developing national strategies, policies and plans on natural resources and the environment.

These include the Proposal on Accelerating Administrative Procedure Reforms in Land Use and Management in Việt Nam; the National Environmental Protection Strategy for 2021-2030; the Directive No 25/CT-TTg issued in 2016, and other directions for policies and regulations in establishing and managing public and private conservation areas in Việt Nam.

Other areas involve the environmental impact assessment for investment projects; supervising and monitoring the environment at active business establishments; conducting research to integrate environmental protection requirements into the legal system of different sectors; and the development strategy for natural resources and environment sector to 2030.

Studies have played a role in improving the supervision and assessment quality of the current status and potential of natural resources, acting as the foundation for plans on the use of land and water resources, mineral exploitation, as well as in environmental protection, hydrometeorology, climate change, seas and islands, topography and cartography and remote sensing, in line with the progress of the country.

Science and technology activities have contributed to completing the system of technical standards in the natural resources and environment sector, in which the MONRE has also made a significant investment.

The sector has developed a relatively complete system of technical standards and regulations. 

The sector has provided support and training to 56 doctors and 304 master’s degree holders through science and technology activities.

The focus was also put on investing in science and technology equipment in 2016-2020, particularly on equipment and technology modernisation in several fields.

Communication work on science and technology was also improved, and studies were published in various journals, including international ones.

These have been the initial steps to meet the information demands on science and technology. Cooperation in research projects has seen significant improvement, especially in conducting studies and training, as well as transforming sectors in research missions for 2021-2025.

Science-technology and innovation are in urgent demand. This is a focus of the 13th National Party Congress. What important goals has the natural resources and environment sector set in response?

The natural resources and environment sector sets the goal to develop advanced science and technology by 2030, which helps elevate the position of the State management and conduct initial research on natural resources and environment as a leading sector in the region; ensuring the rational and efficient use of resources, protecting the environment, prevent natural disasters, adapting to climate change, and responding to the demands of socio-economic development and national security. 

To achieve these goals, in the future, science-technology will focus on conducting research for the creation and completion of the legal framework, development strategies, national and sectoral plans, and other specialised aspects. 

Other tasks include focused studies and development of priority technologies to improve technology capacity and management, initial assessment and monitoring of natural resources and environment, acquiring and mastering core technologies to improve State management quality, and initial assessment of natural resources and environment for socio-economic development, national defence and security. 

The sector will also focus on technology transfer, research and effective application of advanced technology for environmental treatment, monitoring and controlling pollution, and helping minimise the damage caused by natural disasters.

It will also pay close attention to investing in Earth and marine research; identifying the characteristics, causes and impacts of natural disasters, and the process of climate change in Việt Nam - which will act as the scientific basis to propose solutions to climate change. 

This concerns the application of technologies in the Industry 4.0 for the national strategy on digital economy and society in natural resources and environment, as well as big data and artificial intelligence in communication and data.

Another goal is to build an interactive system between users and the database on natural resources and the environment on modern technology platforms. 

What is the science and technology department’s direction to enhance research activities and achieve its goals?

More specific, stringent plans and directions are needed to enhance science-technology activities in the future field of natural resources and the environment.

One of the top priorities is to perfect human resources so that the organisational structure is completed and sufficient. It must promptly adjust its functions to respond to sectoral growth and management demands in the new era. 

It is also necessary to enhance capacity and equipment to utilise the potential of science and technology in natural resources and the environment, based on the advanced technology achievements of developed countries while still adapting to the conditions of Việt Nam.

It is also key to develop a cooperation mechanism between science-technology research units to take advantage of the existing research equipment system, improving the monitoring and forecast quality to meet socio-economic development requirements. 

Other areas of focus include improving the capacity for information technology application, building a database for the natural resource and environment sector that integrates the data of initial assessment, as well as a system of information, resources, and specialised digital library at the ministry and other departments in the sector; and accelerating the use of software in scientific research. 

Our goals are also to strengthen cooperation in science and technology and to study the direction to effectively generate and receive bilateral and multilateral resources in line with yearly international collaboration plans. 

We also plan to establish organisations to manage and help develop the science-technology market related to natural resources and environment, such as in consultancy, network, services and technology transfer, focusing on building the brand for several products and proposing policies and frameworks to gradually commercialise these products. — VNS