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Marine science, technology key for sustainable development

The marine economy has become key to Vietnam's economic structure and exploitation of the country's seas and islands has created a new driving force for development amid deep international integration, experts have said.

To realise the goal of Vietnam becoming a strong coastal country by 2045, experts, scientists, businesses and State agencies all think it is important to pay attention to the role of science, marine technology and marine human resources.

Vu Truong Son, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Administration of Sea and Islands under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said to ensure solid policy-making and planning, science, technology and marine research in Vietnam need to be one step ahead.

To make the most of advanced scientific and technological achievements and to be among the leading countries in ASEAN and form a contingent of highly qualified marine science and technology staff, the Vietnam Administration of Sea and Islands was assigned to take charge of building a master project on marine science and technology research to 2030, with a vision to 2045.

The project aims to promote innovation and apply scientific and public achievements, promote research, establish scientific grounds for planning and completing policies and laws on the sustainable development of the marine economy and research associated with an investigation of marine resources and the environment.

The project includes several goals, such as prioritising research on the application of science and technology for the marine economy, with a focus on improving the efficiency of co-ordination among sectors, linking the goal of marine economic development with the protection of the sovereignty of sea and islands and environmental protection.

Along with the master project, in recent years, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has worked with the Ministry of Science and Technology to develop a programme of national-level science and technology research on sea and islands in 2021-2025. They are also researching a project of technological development of natural resources, sea and island environments amid emerging challenges in the marine environmental security.

Associate Professor Nguyen Duy Dung, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Marine Aquaculture, said from a geopolitical perspective, the topographical structure and geographical space of Vietnam has unique features and many advantages with a coastline of 3,260km and a large sea space.

Vietnam is among the 10 countries with the highest index of coast length relative to its territorial area. On average, there is 1km of coastline for every of land, six times higher than the world average. Vietnam has more than 3,000 islands and more than 1 million square kilometres of exclusive economic waters, three times the size of the mainland.

In the mainland as well as in the sea, the country contains many important ecosystems and rich and diverse natural resources, said Dung.

Nguyen Thach Dang, Director of the Department of Management and Basic Investigation of Sea and Islands under the Vietnam Administration of Sea and Islands, said foreign activities and international relations have contributed to maintaining sovereignty, jurisdiction and national interests at sea, maintaining a peaceful and stable environment for development.

Dang said Vietnam has exploited the potential and advantages of the islands from ancient times up to now in many different aspects.

This has created a solid foundation for Vietnam to build the marine economy into an important part of the country's economic structure. That will create a position and force for Vietnam in its integration with ASEAN and the world, contributing to the protection of sea and island sovereignty.

Vietnam has also expanded maritime co-operation with countries inside and outside the region such as the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Australia, India and the US in many fields including fishing, joint patrols, scientific research and marine environmental protection.

Plans and programmes have been realised by the International Cooperation on Sustainable Marine Economic Development of Vietnam to 2030 approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the Resolution No 647/QD-TTg on May 18 last year.

The exploitation of the potential advantages of sea and islands should be further strengthened in research and implementation of policies and plans for Vietnam's marine economic development at present and in the future, said Dang./.