Australia Awards marine fellowship brings Vietnamese ministry reps Down Under

In March, 15 representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Vietnam travelled to Australia to take part in a two-week Australia Awards Fellowship focusing on human resource development in coastal and marine management in Vietnam.

Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the fellowship was designed to enhance the capacity of Vietnam government ministries in developing policies and instruments to improve coastal and marine sustainability, resilience and growth.

Mrs My Doan Thi Thanh, Deputy General Director of the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Vietnam, says the fellowship is “designed very well” and will be very useful for their country.

“We have acquired a lot of knowledge, which we can now apply in Vietnam for better coastal management and coastal resource management along the Vietnam coast,” she said.

The fellows’ visit to Australia helped maximise their global awareness and knowledge of these issues through collaborations with local authorities in Brisbane including the Queensland Government and the Gold Coast Waterways Authority as well as organisations in Townsville such as the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

Actively engaging in a range of workshops, networking events, site visits and more, the group took part in a range of activities in the Gold Coast before heading to Brisbane and Townsville.

Hosted by Griffith University’s Centre for Coastal Management and the Griffith Institute for Tourism, supported by Griffith’s International Business Development Unit, this fellowship involved visits to various key locations.

The fellows travelled along the Gold Coast seaway, studying coastal management structures and processes at sites such as Narrowneck, Surfers Paradise and Burleigh Headland before visiting the Port of Brisbane to learn from various key Queensland State and Local Government members about the effective management of ports under consideration of sustainability issues.

In Townsville, fellows visited the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Magnetic Island before their final project planning session in which fellows leveraged their newly acquired knowledge from Australia to design effective coastal and marine management plans for their regions to utilise upon their return to Vietnam.

The fellowship concluded with a graduation ceremony held at Griffith University’s Gold Coast Campus followed by a farewell dinner at the Southport Yacht Club on Friday March 16.

Dr Marcello Sano, Research Fellow at the Centre for Coastal Management at Griffith University and the Academic Course Leader of this fellowship, says it was satisfying to see the outcomes of the various projects that were developed.

“We have seen projects in the space of urban planning for coastal areas as well as projects related to wetlands, general planning, ripcurrents, and the reduction of the risks involved in drowning,” he says.

“We really hope we can take this project further and work together in the future to implement these projects in Vietnam. That will be a very successful outcome for theparticipants and for Australia as well.”

The fellows returned home to Vietnam taking back valuable learnings and beneficial insights into coastal and marine management, which they plan to utilise to help implement change in their home country.

Australia Awards Fellowships offer Australian organisations the opportunity to deepen and broaden their links with leaders and professionals in developing countries by providing opportunities for Fellows to undertake short-term study and professional development in Australia.