IRD is committed with its Vietnamese partners to respond to the issues raised by the rapid development of the country and its increasing exposure to environmental changes.
Today, Vietnam faces considerable challenges in its development trajectory, the most important of which are related to health and infectious diseases, environmental pollution, climate and environmental disturbances, the development of inequalities in access to resources and food security. There are of course differences in contexts, causes and processes between, for example, the emergence of air pollution episodes in the country's megacities, the leakage of metals, plastics or toxic residues into rural rivers in the centre, the salinisation of soils in the Mekong Delta or the development of antibiotic resistance at the regional level. But these phenomena have in common that they are the consequences of complex interactions between three sets of dynamics:
- social, firstly, fuelled by 30 years of continuous population growth and accelerated urbanization,
- economic, secondly, which make Vietnam one of the fastest growing countries in the world, and finally
- environmental, ranging from rising sea levels, which threaten the country's entire coastline, to the depletion of water resources in the great Himalayan rivers, which impacts the two deltas that structure the country.
Faced with such complexity, public decision-making must be based on reliable data, knowledge and forecasts, which only high-level, interdisciplinary, scientific research can provide. Based on the sustainability problems posed by current development, IRD conducts research with its partners, combining social sciences, experimental sciences and exact sciences, in order to provide citizens and public authorities with the best possible information on the range of possible choices, to monitor the effects of the policies implemented, and to predict their consequences. This research can be grouped into four main themes:
- monitoring and control of environmental pollution
- infectious diseases and drug resistance
- anthropogenic and climatic pressures on coastal and deltaic areas
- mutations in Vietnamese society: solidarity, inequalities and transitions
To enable them to address these issues in the long term, IRD also contributes to the capacity building of its partners: by the creation of joint structures where Vietnamese researchers are trained in cutting-edge technologies and where a transversal and multidisciplinary approach is promoted; by supporting scientific networks and scientific events; by awarding thesis grants and mobility grants to Vietnamese students and researchers.