The Vietnamese Mekong Delta (VMD) is currently under great impacts of rapid population growth and climate change. The rapid urbanization and industrialization together with the intensification of agriculture and aquaculture have resulted in environment and natural resources degradation of the area. The current issues could include:
(i) Degradation of land resources and (mangrove) forest resources;
(ii) Biodiversity degradation;
(iii) Surface water resources pollution and groundwater resources depletion; and,
(iv) Changes in flow characteristics leading to changes in flood characteristics, salinity intrusion, as well as morphological changes along the river bank and coasts.
In accordance with an actual need for human resources at different (management) levels trained in environment and natural resource management, the Department of Environment and Natural Resource Management was established under Decision 187/QD CTU (19/02/2008). The Department has continuously enhanced its human resources capacity to cover the main aspects of the environment and natural resources in the delta. By October 2012, the staff of the Department consists of 16 members (six of them are female), of which the number of lecturers and researchers with a PhD degree is 5 and with a M.Sc. degree is 10.
The main focuses of the Department in education and research are:
- Training of scientific and technical personnel with B.Sc. degree and M.Sc. degree in Environment and Natural Resource Management;
- Conducting fundamental and applied research as well as technology transfer in a number of areas, including:
(i) Planning for environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources;
(ii) Community-based management of environment and natural resource;
(iii) Strategic environmental management and environmental impact assessment; and
(iv) Application of modelling (HEC-RAS, ISIS, Mike), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote sensing in environment and natural resource management towards sustainable development for the Mekong Delta.
- Continuously developing human resource capacity through sending staffs to advanced education under short-term or long-term training programme (including M.Sc., PhD, post-doctoral) at specialized universities or institutes within Viet Nam or abroad;
- Enhancing research equipment and teaching facilities through the domestic and foreign investments; and,
- Consolidating and expanding relations and cooperation nationally and internationally to improve the quality of teaching, scientific research, consultancy and technology transfer.