On 8–12 August, nearly 50 international students and teachers from 17 different countries are attending a course on the Joensuu Campus of the University of Eastern Finland to address conflicts related to natural resources governance and environmental protection, as well as environmental collaboration between different actors. Offered by the environmental policy subject, the course constitutes part of the University of Eastern Finland Summer School, which started on 8 August.
The themes of the five-day intensive course include, e.g., facilitation of environmental collaboration, mediation methods related to natural resources conflicts, and citizens’ participation in the governance and protection of natural resources.
“Environmental collaboration is more than having a seat at the same table. Constructive collaboration and long-term facilitation require methodological expertise and listening skills. Collaboration should be seen as a civic skill, just like first aid,” Professor of Natural Resources Governance Irmeli Mustalahti of the University of Eastern Finland says.
Besides Master’s and doctoral level students, practitioners of natural resources governance are also attending the course, which focuses on concrete ways to prevent conflicts between different actors, and introduces various collaborative and participatory methods, and their application, in environmental collaboration.
“A collaborative approach to natural resource governance that addresses environmental, economic and social needs is critically needed to build sustainable and long term solutions. Such an approach must be promoted at international forums and on a national level. However, it is equally important to act locally since many environmental conflicts are local in nature. Training opportunities like this one can help develop the expertise needed to advance collaboration at all these levels.” Director of Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government, Laurel Singer, says.
The summer course is part of the Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution module, which is coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland and funded by the EDUCase network supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. The project promotes collaboration between Finnish, Tanzanian, Ugandan and US higher education institutions in teaching related to environmental collaboration. The project is led by the University of Eastern Finland and training is offered by Portland State University in the US, the College of Business Education (CBE) in Tanzania, the University of Makerere in Uganda, the Pan African University network of the African Union, the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, and the UNESCO Network of Biosphere Reserves, which in Finland includes the biosphere reserves of North Karelia and the Archipelago Sea in Finland.
The next course within the project will be held in Mafinga, Tanzania, in October 2022, with a focus on small-scale private forestry as well as on conflicts and collaboration related to forest fire management.
For further information, please contact:
Professor Irmeli Mustalahti, tel. +358 50 563 2071, irmeli.mustalahti(at)uef.fi