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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Ecosystems and Governance (BIME11093)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will look at the history of environmental governance since the 1970's, the implementation and impact of key conventions and why these are deemed to have fallen short of 'global' targets. We will explore the options for the future direction of environmental governance and how politics, law, science and practice can realign to achieve the environmental targets of the 21st Century.
Course description Despite the large number of international conventions that individually and collectively provide a substantial framework for sustainable and joined-up environmental protection, there is currently deep concern that this framework is not fulfilling its environmental governance purpose. While many international conventions have had a clear and measurable impact on aspects of the environment such as migratory species, wetlands etc., there have been calls recently for a complete rethink on global environmental governance policy. The United Nations Environment Programme attempted to conceptualise a simpler approach when it released its four pillar framework (2010- 2013):
International cooperation
Strengthened national laws and institutions
Sustainable regional and national development
Access to sound science

This course covers the definition of governance and general interpretation of good governance before examining in particular, corporate responsibilities into environmental governance issues. Intellectual property and data access are discussed in terms of transparency, benefits and environmental justice.

The course relies heavily on reading primary literature as well as key publications from the conservation sector. Both assessed and non-assessed online discussion fora provide further content and reflection and students are expected to engage with group discussions for both learning and assessment purposes.

Course notes are released on a weekly basis and contain links to or references for further reading on the subject of ecosystems and governance. The course requires a time commitment of 12-15 hours of study each week. Students may also source and recommend further reading for the course to their peers by posting relevant links within the VLE.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Blocks 4-5 (Sem 2)
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Online Activities 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 53 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) This course will be run via the online environment, Learn.
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 40% online assessment
60% written assessment
Feedback Summative assessment consists of a written element, worth 60% of the total mark, and an online element worth 40%. In both cases, comprehensive written feedback is provided individually with 15 working days of the assessment deadline. Students are expected to reflect on their feedback, to seek additional clarification if appropriate, and to use this to improve on future assignments of a similar nature.
Formative assessment consists of discussion around what is expected of each piece of assessed work for the course. This is conducted in an open discussion forum for all students to contribute to and provides an opportunity to clearly understand the key requirements for each assignment before submission. Any student can post questions about the assignment and a response will be posted on the discussion board by the course tutor within 3 working days.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the history of environmental governance
  2. Identify key synergies and potential conflicts between environmental conventions
  3. Appreciate the current challenges to global governance
  4. Understand the role of science in environmental decision making
  5. Appreciate the need for unrestricted access to such information
Reading List
Veldkamp, A., N. Polman, S. Reinhard, and M. Slingerland. (2011). From scaling to governance of the land system: bridging ecological and economic perspectives. Ecology and Society 16(1): 1
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course encourages effective study time management through recommended reading of primary literature as well as the active sourcing and sharing of contemporary literature on and around the core subject.
KeywordsEnvironmental governance,Environmental justice,Multilateralism,Commons,Evidence based decision m
Course organiserMr Robert Thomas
Course secretaryMr Lyndon Zahra
Tel: (0131) 651 5232
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