The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) launched its newest program, the PhD in Environmental Diplomacy and Negotiations (EDN), on June 5 at the Philippine International Convention Center.
The new PhD EDN program highlights the role of science and research in the crafting and negotiating of policies for the sustainable management of resources.
It aims to develop leaders and professionals in diplomacy who can use scientific research as a basis for crafting and reviewing agreements and policies regarding the sustainable use, protection, or conservation of environmental and agricultural resources.
At the launching ceremony, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, dean of SESAM, said that the new PhD program would provide a holistic analysis of the gaps in international laws, treaties, and agreements impacting the environment in several countries. It will also explore integrative and institutional approaches to protecting the common heritage and the right to self-preservation of nations and their states.
In his message, UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho Jr. expressed his gratitude for the show of support that the program has received from government and academic institutions and the diplomatic community. He also acknowledged the commitment of SESAM to producing the innovative program that had begun development during the term of SESAM’s past dean, Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava.
Dr. Leo D.P. Cubillan, UP Vice President for Academic Affairs, also expressed the UP System’s support and recognized the relevance and impact of the PhD EDN program in helping solve national, regional, and global problems by producing graduates who will shape future policies and foster cooperation and sustainable solutions for complex environmental issues.
The launching program also had a technical session facilitated by Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, the chair of the PhD EDN program.
The technical session featured talks from Dr. Ben S. Malayang III, former dean and professor at SESAM, and Dr. Al O. Orolfo, director of Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Dr. Malayang talked about how integrating environmental studies with diplomacy and negotiations is essential to preventing or settling environmental conflicts, saying that the environment is the most fundamental platform of human civilization.
Dr. Orolfo, on the other hand, presented the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and how diplomacy can push forward international discussions and negotiations on climate change.
British Ambassador Laure Beaufils also gave her perspective as part of the international community and highlighted the role of diplomacy and negotiation in applying science at both the policy and the grassroots levels.
“Diplomacy can help science, it is essential to saving our world’s environment,” she said.
The launching program was attended by diplomats and representatives from local and international institutions, among them Chargé d’Affaires and Senior Trade Commissioner Guy Boileu from the Embassy of Canada; Laos Ambassador Sonexay Vannaxay and Third Secretary Koliley Phonsila; Malaysian Ambassador Dato’ Abdul Malik and Minister for Political/Social/Cultural/Info Amaluzzaman Mohd Asarani; Thailand Ambassador Tull Traisorat and Second Secretary Witsarut Piyavongsomboon; and Karen Ferguson, head of Climate, Science, and Technology at the British Embassy.
Also in attendance were National Scientist Lourdes J. Cruz, UP President Angelo A. Jimenez, and Dr. Arsenio M. Balisacan, secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority. SESAM is now accepting applicants for the PhD EDN program for the first semester of 2023-2024. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)