Capacity building in universities: strengthening environmental science and management programs
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AbstractA prerequisite to achieving sustainable development is the capability to protect the environment. Unfortunately, many countries lack this capability because of ineffective environmental institutions and weak or insufficient human resources. Central to developing these professionals and institutions is sustainable, high quality instruction in environmental science and management. Numerous universities, however, particularly in developing countries, lack the capacity to deliver effective programs of study in environmental education, their focus is often divorced from the needs of the community and country, and many are ill-equipped to carry out meaningful research programs. Capacity building is seen as essential to tackling these constraints. Drawing on the results of key informant interviews, a case study of a Faculty of Environmental Science in Peru, and professional experience within an international organization, recommendations were made so that universities could develop their capacity to provide effective environmental education. To do this efficiently, it was found that measures should be taken to ensure that an enabling policy environment exists at sub-national, national, and international levels, action should be taken to provide a supportive institutional environment within the university, and both shorter-term and long-term capacity building strategies should be developed and implemented. In this regard, a key strategy is to establish sustainable university partnerships and networks.
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