The rapid growth of resource use and the acceleration of land conversion to feed and house an expanding population have created a new set of transboundary and global commons problems. During the past 30 years, the international community has attempted to reverse the loss of fisheries, forests and species, the disruption of the atmosphere and climate, the degradation of land, air and water and the global distribution of toxic substances by implementing hundreds of bilateral and multilateral agreements. Many of these treaties and soft law declarations impose totally new responsibilities upon national governments, and create new approaches to the relationships among states and with the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
This field demonstrates how environment and resource issues are integral to the ongoing economic development process and are critical to the security of societies. The role of science in developing sound policies is emphasized, as is the role of technology choice and the policies that influence them. Clashes such as those that occur between trade and environmental treaty regimes, forest protection and sovereignty and between developed and developing countries create new challenges for international diplomacy. The program emphasizes the need to utilize tools from science, economics, politics, law and engineering in developing sustainable solutions.
The International Environment and Resource Policy field of study requires the completion of a minimum of three courses. Note: Petition to the Committee on Student Academic Programs (CSAP) is needed, with approval of the supervising faculty of the field, in order to consider substitution of P253: Sustainable Development Diplomacy as a required course for the field.