Netherlands, Utrecht

Future Deltas

when 4 July 2016 - 9 July 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2.5 ECTS
fee EUR 850

In these populated deltas, activities of delta inhabitants often disturb the natural complex and dynamic balance of delta-forming processes, thereby putting deltas at risk. For example, deltas are under pressure from accelerated sea-level rise due to global warming, altered water and sediment discharge due to dike, dam and reservoir construction, accelerated land subsidence due to drainage and extraction of groundwater and hydrocarbons, and loss of habitats and biodiversity due to land use change. These changes also affect livelihood conditions and potentially societies. To deal with the changing delta conditions and to ensure a sustainable future delta life, we need to understand the driving processes of change in a delta, predict impacts and optimize management solutions. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach, integrating natural (e.g. physical, biological, chemical) and social (e.g. governance, law, socio-economic) sciences.

The programme consists of lectures, practicals, discussions and self-study (literature study, data analysis) sessions. Multi-disciplinary teams are established to work on integrated analysis of (1) drivers of change in deltas, (2) impacts of these changes and (3) solutions for sustainable management of deltas under pressure. Each team chooses one delta to study, for which a subgroup or individual team member investigates one of the following subjects: physical setting, ecology, institutional and socio-economic aspects, and legal aspects. Examples of deltas that could be investigated are:

? Rhine-Meuse delta, The Netherlands
? Mekong delta, Vietnam
? Ganges-Brahmaputra delta, Bangladesh
? Mississippi delta, USA
? Yangtze delta, China
? Po delta, Italy
? Usumacinta-Grijalva delta, Mexico
? Zambezi-Pungue delta, Mozambique

Participants are expected to study selected literature beforehand (study load 20 hours). The deliverable of the course is a website built by each delta team. On this website the key challenges for the studied delta are presented, structured according to the three themes understanding drivers, predicting impacts and optimizing solutions.

Course leader

Dr. Esther Stouthamer, dr. Frank van Laerhoven, dr. Sanneke van Asselen

Target group

MSc students & PhD students. Participants should have a background in earth sciences, ecology, human geography, spatial planning, environmental governance or environmental or water law.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to provide participants thorough understanding on interacting physical, ecological, institutional, socio-economic and legal drivers of change in deltas, their impacts, and on solutions for a sustainable management of the world?s deltas, to ensure future delta life.

Fee info

EUR 850: Course + course materials + housing
EUR 550: Course + course materials

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