Nguyen Van Duyen

MEnvLaw 2001

Nguyen Van Duyen is an Environmental Policy and Management Specialist at the Mekong River Commission Secretariat in Vientiane, Lao PDR. He graduated with a Masters in Environmental Law from the University of Sydney Law School in 2011.

What made you decide to study law, and why did you choose Sydney Law School?

First I studied engineering in Hanoi, and then gained a Postgraduate Diploma in Metallurgy from Curtin University of Technology (Western Australian School of Mines) in 1995.

Sometime later I worked as manager of a big legal reform project to support the Office of the National Assembly, Supreme Court and Supreme Procuracy of Vietnam (UNDP/DANIDA funded). I like law and studied law in my spare time. Then I got to know Professor Ben Boer who encouraged me to study environmental law so that I could link my knowledge of engineering and laws, and that is why I chose to study with the Australian Centre for Environmental Law at the University of Sydney Law School.

Where has the study of law taken you in your career and/or life in general?

The MEL degree at Sydney Law School gave me a great foundation to progress my career pathway. I continued to work in the legal reform sector in Vietnam and then moved toward environment management. With my bachelor degree in engineering now strengthened with legal knowledge, I am in an advantageous position to contribute to environmental governance, particularly with the nexus between environment protection, industrial development and the law.

In 2003-04 I was National Programme Officer in the Sustainable Development Cluster of the UNDP Vietnam Country Office in Hanoi, then during 2004-05 became Senior Facility Officer and then Deputy Facility Manager in the Vietnam - Australia Capacity Building for Effective Governance (CEG) Facility (AusAID) worth AUD $10,000,000.

From 2005-2008, I was Senior National Programme Officer at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)’s Mekong Region Coordination Office, in charge of brown environment portfolio, including energy efficiency and environment protection in brickmaking, hazardous waste management, clean air initiative, environmental governance, capacity building for environment education and research. I was a Senior Environment Management Consultant from 2008 until Oct 2011 before taking up my current role as Environmental Policy and Management Specialist for the Mekong River Commission Secretariat based in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

Amongst the most interesting projects I have worked on are:

  • Team Leader, Designing an Integrated Financing Strategy for Sustainable Land Management for implementation of UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Vietnam with focusing in Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan. As team leader I was in charge of overall quality of the strategy, ensuring the methodology for development of the strategy, assigning tasks for team members and editing and reviewing papers written by team members. This included formulation of action plan to integrated climate change and desertification into provincial development plans of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces. (Jun 2009- Oct 2011)
  • National Legal Consultant for the Asian Development Bank to support the Ministry of Natural Resource and Enivronment (MONRE) in development of a circular to guide implementation of EIA regulation in Vietnam (Jun-Oct 2011)
What is your fondest memory of your time at Sydney Law School?

My time at the law school was very hard for me as a foreigner who does not have first degree in law, and I worked really hard.

The Australian Centre for Environmental Law (now ACCEL) was very helpful, especially Prof Ben Boer who is very knowledgeable.

What one piece of advice would you give to law students today?

Studying more on new and emerging issues related to climate change governance could be very interesting to help the world to solve the big problems that we are facing.

Work hard.