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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Global Governance of the Health-Environment Nexus (fusion online) (EFIE11192)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will provide an analysis of why despite 25% of global deaths being attributed to economic decisions affecting the environment, decision-makers and stakeholders from the health and environment communities remain disconnected.

It will examine the reasons why global environmental and health agreements rarely use transferable language or reflect each other, such as by incorporating health into environmental treaties.

By examining the multilateral environmental and health agreements of the World Health Assembly, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the UN Committee on World Food Security the Montreal Protocol on Ozone and the Stockholm Protocol on persistent pollutants the course will provide you with understanding of the key intersectoral health and environment agendas.

The course will connect dots and present a landscape view of global governance on the health-environment nexus, including for biodiversity, climate change, pollution and food systems.
Course description The course is an introduction to the global policy architecture in which decisions on the environmental determinants of health are made (or missed). It will frame how evidenced-based planetary health information is incorporated into intergovernmental treaties, with a focus on biodiversity, climate change, and pollution. Food systems, which link to most environmental agreements, will be reviewed in depth, and in an integrated cross-disciplinary way.

The course will aim to foster a common language on global environment and health policy. It will set out and analyse the environmental governance structures from a global health perspective. Students will be challenged to think analytically in a way that bridges international health and environmental law, science and policy, and global decision-making that leads to positive local health outcomes.

Students will progress through three phases:

1) A pre-intensive overview of the complexity of the issues covered in the course, mapping the the global health-environment nexus since the establishment of the United Nations Environment programme in 1972.
2) A 2-day intensive where each of the core themes - biodiversity, climate change, pollution and food systems - will be explored in relation to health, wellbeing and ecosystems.
3) A post-intensive critical analysis exploring the common language on global environment and health policy and strategies to build bridges across communities, with a particular focus on how the financial, product, energy and health industry engage.

Students will engage with leaders in and literature of the field, developing critical thinking and literacy on the intersectoral issues.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  6
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 8, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 4, Other Study Hours 4, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 82 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Other Study: Scheduled Group-work Hours (hybrid online/on-campus) - 4
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) Blog Post (800 Words) (20%)

A max 800-word post describing the challenges from the perspective of an individual country, providing an overview of the threats and opportunities the country is facing in the context of health and environment challenges.

2) Artifact (80%)

The artifact will provide briefing evidence in a form suitable to be presented at an international forum such as one of the conventions, assemblies or conference of the parties (COPs) discussed during the course. The artifact will be compiled from the perspective of an individual country and will present the arguments for intersectoral work including co-benefits, barriers to overcome and key stakeholders. It will be in the most suitable form as judged and justified by the student. This could include, for example, a written briefing, essay, video or podcast. Word limit 2,500 words (or equivalent), or for audio/video 15 minutes.

The two components will provide the student with experience of producing material in formats accessible to the public and suitable for high level negotiations.
Feedback Feedback will be regular, provided by course leaders alongside peer feedback in tutor-monitored groups set up at the start of the course to run through the five weeks.

Formative feedback will be given after presentations made during the 2-day intensive. This feedback will help inform the final piece of assessment.

Feedback on the final assessment will also be given.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate critical understanding of the global governance landscape for biodiversity, climate change, pollution, and food systems.
  2. Develop a common language for de-siloing the health-environment nexus and demonstrate ability to apply this knowledge.
  3. Critique and synthesise information on the UN system in relation to the health-environment nexus.
  4. Demonstrate competence in communicating complex issues through at least one mode of choice for a global audience.
  5. Apply policy analysis at the science-policy interface.
Reading List
Essential Reading:

Willetts, E., Grant, L., Bansard, J., Kohler, P. M., Rosen, T., Bettelli, P., & Schröder, M. (2022). Health in the Global Environmental Agenda: A policy guide. International Institute for Sustainable Development.

Convention on Biological Diversity. (2021). Draft global action plan on biodiversity and health, Annex to Biodiversity and health (Annex, CBD/SBSTTA/24/9). 24th Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice.

WHO (2019). Health and Climate Change Survey Report: Tracking Global Progress.

Dasgupta, P. (2021), The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. Abridged Version. (London: HM Treasury).

Rasanathan, K, Atkins, V, Mwansambo, C, Soucat, A and S. Bennett (2018). Governing multisectoral action for health in low-income and middle-income countries: an agenda for the way forward. British Medical Journal. 3:supp4.

de Leeuw, Evelyne (2017). Engagement of Sectors Other than Health in Integrated Health Governance, Policy, and Action. Annual Review of Public Health. 38(329-349).

Kaye, J. (2021). Horizon Scanning: The Future of 21st Century Governance: Trends, Threats, Challenges and Opportunities. UNDP Oslo Governance Center.

Recommended Reading:

United Nations Environment Programme. (2016). Healthy Environment, Healthy People. Thematic report, Ministerial policy review session, 2nd Session UN Environment Assembly of UNEP, 23-27 May.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2021). Decision -/CP.26 Glasgow Climate Pact. (FCCC/CP/2021/L.13.)

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2021). List of Participants, part one. [FCCC/CP/2021/INF.3 (Part I)]. 26th Conference of the Parties, UNFCCC, 31 October - 12 November.

World Health Organization. (2021). WHO health and climate change global survey report.

Convention on Biological Diversity. (2021). Draft report of the 3rd Open-ended
Working Group on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

World Health Organization. (2020). Guidance on mainstreaming biodiversity for nutrition and health.

International Food Policy Research Institute. (2017). 2016 global nutrition report: From promise to impact: ending malnutrition by 2030.

United Nations Environment Programme. (2021). For people and the planet: The UNEP strategy for 2022-2025.

World Health Organization. (2019). Promote Health, Keep the World Safe, Serve the Vulnerable. WHO 13th General Programme of Work, 2019-2023.

Further Reading:

Planetary Health Alliance website
Lancet Planetary Health Journal
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will provide students with a curiosity for learning that will enable them to make a positive difference in the world. They will be encouraged to channel their passion to engage locally and globally with key issues.

Attributes include the following:

Knowledge and Understanding - demonstrate and/or work with:
1) Knowledge that covers and integrates most, if not all, of the main areas of the subject/discipline/sector - including their features, boundaries, terminology and conventions.
2) A critical awareness of current issues in a subject/discipline/sector and one or more specialisms.

Applied, Knowledge, Skills and Understanding - apply knowledge, skills and understanding:
1) In using a significant range of the principal professional skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with the subject/discipline/sector.
2) In planning and executing a significant project of research, investigation or development.

Generic Cognitive Skills - students will be able to:
1) Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront issues, or issues that are informed by forefront developments in the subject/discipline/sector.
2) Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline/sector.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills - students will be able to use a wide range of routine skills and a range of advanced and specialised skills as appropriate to a subject/discipline/sector, for example:
1) Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
2) Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with Others - students will be able to:
1) Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities.
2) Take significant responsibility for a range of resources.
KeywordsHealth,Environment Policy Negotiations,International Relations,EFI,PG,Level 11,Planetary Health
Course organiserProf Liz Grant
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
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