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Summer Workshop in International Organization Studies
“Water, Environment and Health: Addressing Knowledge, Capacity & Governance Challenges”

July 6 – July 14, 2012
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Download the Call for Applicants 

Program Theme and Policy Relevance
For 2012, the ACUNS-ASIL Summer Workshop on International Organization Studies (SWIOS) engages with the subject of “Water, Environment and Health: Addressing Knowledge, Capacity and Governance Challenges”. Topics that are anticipated as being addressed in the Workshop lectures, presentations and in participants’ research projects, include but are not limited to: international water law; international organizations and governance; the content and role of sustainability science; the effective articulation and communication of scientific research on water, environment and health to relevant national and international policy communities, non-scientific scholars and the media; and the global, national and local challenges of capacity building, knowledge enhancement and research-to-policy dialogue around issues of water and gender, water and local cooperation/conflict, water scarcity and livelihoods, water and economic health, and the nexus of water, energy and food. Together, these represent some of the most critical contemporary challenges for the governance of complex socio-ecological problems.

The 2012 SWIOS will take place only a short time following the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20) meetings and associated civil society deliberations. The UNCSD’s central themes – a green economy in the context of sustainable development (SD) and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for SD – also include the subtopics of water, achieving SD through knowledge creation and ‘sustainable development learning’. In addition to their own intrinsic value, therefore, the themes and topics of SWIOS 22 will be of immediate relevance to critical, contemporary global policy developments and indeed some may be reflections upon the outcome(s) of Rio +20. It is an intention of the 2012 Workshop, that summaries of its discussions and/or recommendations should be made available as quickly as possible thereafter, through ACUNS’ global network of scholars and practitioners. Workshop participants also will work with each other and with the SWIOS director(s) to produce this agreed Summary Document as part of the SWIOS 2012 activities.

Learning Objectives
Participants in the course will gain scholarly and practice-based knowledge and applied skills in the analysis of a number of issue areas related to the workshop theme.  Among the themes and skill-sets the workshop will address are:

  • The complex and varying nature of the interrelationships between water, environment and health, and between knowledge, capacity and governance around these topics;
  • The problem(s) of articulating scientific knowledge of these issues meaningfully to different forms of audience including non-scientific policy leaders, and media;
  • Specific experiences of research, and of micro-level policy design and implementation;
  • The particular or unique effects of water, environment and health concerns on women and girls;
  • How policy roadblocks at the national, and international or global, levels, affect the prospects for formulating and achieving meaningful policy development, and how the UN has or has not been able to overcome these roadblocks;
  • Identifying and reflecting upon, the “lessons learned” from the sharing of innovative ideas and practices between and among the next generation of scholars and practitioners, and how these might be best used to achieve positive policy outcomes

Through presentations by scholars and practitioners, case studies, guided research, and innovative pedagogies geared to post-graduate professionals, this workshop will allow participants to improve their own skills and capacities for engaging in the complex but critical areas of local, national and/or international engagement in water, environment and health governance.