MPhil Social Forestry and Environmental Governance
The School of Natural Resources is poised to provide a strong and vibrant leadership to the forest and natural resources industry to meet the increasing demand for housing, recreation, tourism and green spaces. This will require an intimate knowledge of climate, species, and physical facilities, political, social and legal systems. Issues of interest include the increased demand for market and non-market goods and services from forests and related natural resources, land availability for industrial forestry and natural resource conservation, natural resource sustainability, habitat conservation, and ecosystem management. The School will provide instruction, research and outreach to address these issues. Research at the School will be need-based with strong community and industry inputs and integrated with natural resource management. Areas of academic interest will include forest conservation and restoration ecology, forest resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, urban and community forestry, wood science and technology, fire science and management, land and water resources management. The Master and Doctoral programmes will provide graduates with a working knowledge of specialized environmental and natural resources scopes and introduce them to the critical relationships between human activities and the environment.
2.0 NATIONAL RELEVANCE
Globally, the threat to and decease of world forests and the negative impacts on human or social system as well as the ascendency of multifaceted environmental problems call for capacity development in these areas. Ghana is not exempted from these challenges. The rationale being that the country is currently facing numerous problems ranging from deforestation, pollution of water resources and environmental degradation. Ameliorating these problems, the country needs human resources that have a better understanding of social issues and environmental governance. Understanding the structures, function, performance of public authorities and institutions at all levels could help formulate policies aimed at controlling/managing environmental degradation. Governing the planet`s rich diverse natural resources is an increasingly complex challenge. In this world of interconnected nations, economies and people, managing environmental threats particularly those that cross political borders will require new global, regional, national and local responses involving a wide range of stakeholders. Effective environmental governance with greater attention to human system at all levels is critical for finding solutions to those challenges. Almost half of the jobs worldwide depend on fisheries, forest or agriculture and unsustainable use of national resources threaten individual livelihood as well as local, national and international economies. Current environment arrangements are inadequate and had led to continued degradation of the environment. Environmental governance comprises rules, practices, policies, institutions that shapes how humans interact with the environment.
The Masters’ and Doctorate of Philosophy in Social Forestry and Environmental Governance are designed as a response to these concerns. Specifically, the establishment of the MPhil and PhD in Social Forestry and Environmental Governance is relevant to Ghana due to the following reasons;
- The forest and the environmental resources require competent human resources who understand the dynamics, policies and social networks to solve the problems and restore environmental integrity through sustainable management and research.
- Graduates of the programme would be able to identify, develop and implement effective solutions to social and environmental challenges especially in the area of gender, deforestation and climate change.
- In-depth understanding of scientific principles underlying social forestry and environmental challenges would be researched into.
- With only KNUST offering graduate programme in Natural Resource Governance in Ghana, many potential candidates seek opportunities abroad or and divert to other disciplines. With the introduction of this programme, the large number of graduates in natural resources related fields who are eager to have advanced and practical training in the field of social forestry and Environmental governance in the country could be admitted. Our syllabus and combination of subjects are devised to produce graduates capable of translating theories into practice for national and global development.
3.0 ALIGNMENT WITH UENR MISSION
The mission of UENR is; to promote the development of human resources and skills required to solve critical energy and natural resources challenges of society and undertake interdisciplinary academic, research, and outreach programmes in engineering, science, economics and environmental policy.
The aim of the programme is to train human resources at advanced social forestry and environmental governance capable of recognizing human system in managing forest and environmental challenges within and outside Ghana. This is clearly in line with the mission of UENR.
Further, the programme will;
- Address issues and challenges in the governance and management of different ecosystem through research;
- Explore at the various local, national and international arena, policies, laws and actions aimed at solving social and environmental problems;
- Improve the advocacy, communication and outreach, and technical skills of the levels of students aimed at enhancing their working relationship with state and non-state actors;
- Manage and enhance the ecological integrity of forest, savannah, wetlands and other ecosystems;
- Develop mechanisms for transparent governance on community ownership and participation in forest resource management;
- Equip graduate students to understand and apply global debate on social forestry and environmental governance; and
- Develop students’ professional attitudes, the interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills required by practitioners in the forestry and environmental as well as allied industries.
4.0 THE TARGET MARKET
The Department would target students who have completed their Bachelors studies in Natural Resources, Agriculture, Social Sciences, Environmental Sciences and any related disciplines for admission. Staff engaged in activities of forestry, Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency etc. would be able to take advantage of the programme to upgrade their skills through the part-time or weekend route. After completion, graduates could work in any of the following establishment: Universities, Research Institutions, Ministry of Land and Natural Resources, Forestry Commission, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Municipal and District Assemblies, Community Development, Mining companies, NGOs, etc.