Written by Servillano S. Morales Jr.
The University of the Philippines Los Baños – School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM) launched a Doctor in Philosophy in Environmental Diplomacy and Negotiations (PhD EDN) program on World Environment Day, June 5, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Manila. The program is a pioneering program in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
The offering of the three-year program will commence in the first semester of AY School Year 2023 – 2024.
During the preliminary part of the program, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, explained the relevance and timeliness of the institution of the PhD program as it recognizes the significance of interdisciplinary approaches in resolving the multidimensional issues of today to ensure environmental conservation.
To expound on the relevance of the PhD program, a technical session facilitated by Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, program chair of PhD EDN, was held afterwards featuring several scholars and partners.
First was Silliman University Professor Emeritus, Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, who emphasized the need of environmental diplomacy and negotiations in resolving conflicts.
“Conflicts are resolved by reason of might or by might of reason. Diplomacy and negotiations are at the heart of the latter. Reason finds might in diplomacy and negotiations. They prevent and settle conflict without us killing each other,” said Dr. Malayang III.
Moreover, the director of Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Atty. Al O. Orolfo, highlighted the use of environmental diplomacy as a tool for managing international environmental issues.
“The need for diplomats and negotiators is essential as they have acquired the skills and art for advocating for their country’s interest in the global stage,” Atty. Orolfo.
Atty. Orolfo added that besides being an intellectual communicator, the graduates should “be a voice of reason and resilience” for security of the resources in support of mitigation and adaptation to the impact of climate change.
Meanwhile, British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils posited that science for diplomacy helps in building bridges among nations and creates goodwill.
“Environmental science has the power to transcend cultural, national and religious boundaries when held diplomatically,” Beaufils added.
The panel discussion also spotlighted the connection of environmental diplomacy and negotiations to the security sector.
Dr. Malayang III suggested looking at national security as “security of place and not just security of people and property” and look for the threat in the environment that needs to be attended to.
The launching gained support from the Embassy in the Philippines of the countries from Canada, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Provincial Government of Laguna, Local Government Unit of Quezon City, and other private organizations.
UP officials, including UP President Angelo A. Jimenez, UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Leo D.P. Cubillan, UP Faculty Regent Carl Marc L. Ramota, and UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Roberto P. Cereno, and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Janette H. Malata-Silva, and UPLB Graduate School Dean Jomar F. Rabajante also graced the event and expressed their support to SESAM.
PhD EDN is a three-year program consisting of 47 to 50 units that encompass courses tackling the global environmental system, foundation of environmental diplomacy and negotiations for global issues, international policies and institutions and environmental conflict resolution and management.