IDM092-Global Environmental Change and Development

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: IDM091 Global Environmental Change and Development
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Ainslie


Summary module description:
The purpose of this module is (i) to critically examine the theories and concepts that link Global Environmental Change and development and (ii) to use these conceptual models and tools to better understand specific environmental dilemmas and trade-offs through examining particular case-studies. The module provides a comprehensive overview of the major environmental and interrelated social problems plaguing the planet in the twenty-first century and specifically in the ‘developing’ world, and examines the principal institutions and actors implicated in various ways in these problems. Lectures explore how these challenges have been theorised, interpreted and addressed, and what counts as success and failure and to whom, thereby equipping students with the requisite conceptual and analytical skills and evidence-based material to be able to understand the links and trade-offs between development, poverty and the changing global environment.

By exploring in-depth, empirical and case-study-based analyses of topical issues in the area of Global Environmental Change and development during the Spring semester, the module takes the conceptual learning into the ‘real world’. It sets out key, inter-related environmental problems in converging ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ country contexts and critiques the range of policy responses to these challenges. Guest lecturers build further upon the theoretical and conceptual groundwork laid in the Autumn semester, drawing upon their specialist research experience to illustrate how environment-development challenges are being tackled in practice.

The module covers a wide geographical, historical, and thematic scope, with case-study examples, readings, discussions and exercises that address current issues and tools central to understanding, assessing and addressing both promising and sub-optimal environment and development outcomes.

To encourage and foster in students the ability and confidence to:
•develop robust, well-informed and evidence-based critiques of key theories and conceptual frameworks that relate to environmental theorising, management and evaluation within a developing world context,
•critically appraise how environmental concerns are conceptualised in a range of settings in both the developing and ‘developed’ world,
•examine the roles played by different institutions, actors and stakeholders in the inter-related fields of environment and development
•apply their critical reasoning skills to researching cross-cutting issues relating to global environmental change, including their ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise complex and multi-layered processes and phenomena.
•construct and explore detailed case study-based analysis of environmental problems in selected developing and ‘developed’ country contexts
•provide critical analysis of policy responses to environmental challenges

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students should be able to:
1. Identify, evaluate and synthesise information and knowledge drawn from a range of disciplinary perspectives
2. Generate critical, theoretically-informed perspectives on topical issues in environment and development in converging global (developed/developing country), regional and local contexts
3. Develop and articulate rigorous and robust arguments on how key stakeholders, including states, multilateral/bilateral organisations, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil society influence the Environment and Development agenda in specific countries and globally
4. Synthesise and critically appraise the relationships between Global environmental change and Development, with particular regard to their inter-relationships, in specific case-study areas.

Additional outcomes:
Students will utilise the following skills:
•communicate their findings and conclusions clearly and coherently in (essay) writing and in presentations to academic staff and their peers
•engage in critical discussion of other people’s ideas and presentations
•demonstrate good academic practice in use, citation and referencing of source material
•use appropriate bibliographic sources and search tools to identify and evaluate literature relevant to a given topic
•group work
•peer and self-assessment

Outline content:
(as several of these are offered by guest lecturers whose availability for 2014/15 is not yet confirmed, these topics are subject to change)

Part 1:
1.Environment and development: Wicked problems and policy challenges in the 21st century
2.Theories of nature and environmental change, including the essentials of biodiversity and its conservation
3.Systems thinking in interdisciplinary contexts: conceptual models linking economic growth and development with GEC
4.The Tragedy of the Commons – understanding collective action and the global commons
5.The International Legal System and NGOs in the developing world
6.Stakeholders and Actors in Global Environmental Change and Development
7.Urban Environmental Governance and Management
8.Trends and Transitions: demographic, health, nutrition, waste management, information
9.Extractive and regenerative industries – mining, OR agriculture, OR oil and gas
10.Open session discussion on the Global E&D situation 30yrs from now and wrapping up

Part 2:
1.Introduction: How to tackle case-study-centred research and analysis. Case-study 1: Livestock Production Systems: Environments, Livelihoods and ‘Efficiency’
2.The Renewable Energy Agenda in selected developing countries
3.Managing water resources in trans-boundary Rivers: Arenas of Conflict and Cooperation in the Indus River Basin
4.International Forest Law and Policy
5.Class Debate: Trade-offs relating to Biodiversity Conservation on a Planetary and Local Scale
6.The Politics of climate change adaptation: flooding, displacement and planned resettlement in the Lower Zambezi River valley, Mozambique
7.Land use change and agro-forestry in Malawi
8.Difficult and overlooked institutional issues in natural resource management – examples from fisheries co-management, with special reference to Bangladesh
9.Economic Development (esp. in the Extractive Industries) while taking Environmental Management seriously
10.Bringing it all together – What are the key ingredients of a Low Carbon, ‘Transition Economy’?

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module comprises a series of lectures, guest speaker seminars and external visits. In the Autumn term, lectures are taught using a diverse set of materials to illustrate theories and concepts; use is made of video clips and other media, and group discussions centred on both academic texts and popular media. Additional individual study and extensive preparation (reading) prior to lectures is required to facilitate participation in class. Participation in online discussions is also required. Students will be expected to make individual presentations on selected topics, to be provided at the start of the module. These presentations fall outside the weekly two-hour teaching session. Wherever relevant, students are strongly encouraged to reflect on their own experiences and professional practice.

Spring term will be similar in format but will allow students to explore key topics in greater depth through the use of critical readings, discussions, and group-based work. Several seminars will be led by outside specialist speakers from government, NGOs and the private sector, thus allowing students to gain a wider perspective on the issues being examined.

The information on contact hours and the split between lectures, seminars and external visits is provisional at this stage and will be confirmed at the beginning of the module.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 18
Seminars 6 4
External visits 6 6
Guided independent study 68 72
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Set exercise 20

Other information on summative assessment:
Autumn term:
(i) An oral presentation on the essay topic will constitute 10% of the final mark (to be presented in Weeks 5 and 7)
(ii) A 2,000 word essay with the topic selected from a list of topics to be provided by the module convenor at the start of the module. Any changes to essay topics need to be put to the module convenor in writing/email and only taken as acceptable if the module convenor confirms in writing/email. (accounts for 50% of final mark) – to be submitted by the last week of Autumn term
(i) Participation in an online discussion forum (including review of 2x papers) will count 20% towards the final mark. – to be completed by the end of Jan.
Spring term:
(iv)An ‘open book’ written report in class on ‘How would you approach the following issue?’ (20%) This will take place in the final week of lectures in Spring Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
Attainment of 50% mark overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
By coursework: submission of a written assignment.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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