What is your job?
I am the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Official in Da Nang City, Vietnam. My main responsibilities are coordinating international cooperation projects and guiding climate change policymaking. As such, I facilitate communication between project funders, implementers, and the beneficiary (the city), and help oversee the implementation of these projects. Policy-wise, I manage the formulation, planning, and implementation of legal documents.
How are you helping cool the planet through your work?
Despite many years of talk about climate change globally, the issue is only now receiving serious national government attention in our country. The government wants to move past our COP26 commitment to cut carbon emissions. So, we, at lower government levels, are also trying to meet our net-zero emissions target by collaborating with a research team from Japan to develop our local net-zero strategy and plan to become a carbon-neutral society. This will entail training the industry, trade, construction, and environmental sectors on standardized methods and tools to calculate greenhouse gas emissions inventories, so these sectors can see where and how emissions can be cut.
What most surprised you about your job?
That government work is not as easy as I thought. It is mainly paperwork. But it’s not easy. In my country, in certain areas, we have to know, understand, and follow loads of legal documents. So, to be good at this job, one needs to read a lot for a broad and holistic view about various aspects of a certain problem. This is especially true of working with international organizations.
What can we do to get more young people into public service?
Pay and diversity are key factors in attracting young people to public sector work. But it doesn’t pay very well, which pushes young people, especially fresh graduates, to the private sectors which make lucrative offers. Also, in some positions, the work is quite dull. So young people should be encouraged to participate in a wide variety of work. This might include community organizing to raise public awareness and change behavior, working with a diverse range of people like farmers, students, women, and coastal inhabitants. Today, such workshops are normally organized by researchers or university lecturers; we participate in their design to suit target audiences. Acquiring hands-on knowledge about behavioral patterns to help communities be more environmentally conscious would be tremendously rewarding.