The Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science of the University of Miami (UM) developed the third Summer Institute on Interdisciplinary Science in the Americas.
The theme of the Institute 2001 was “Integrated Management of Water Resources in the Americas: Challenges and Emerging Issues”. To plan and conduct the Institute 2001, the IAI and UM have joined efforts with UNESCO’s Regional Office of Science and Technology for Latin America and the Caribbean. Full financial support for the Summer Institute on Interdisciplinary Science in the Americas was provided by the United States’ National Science Foundation (NSF).
The central objective of the Summer Institute was to foster effective communication between early-career natural and social scientists from the Americas. Effective management of water resources requires communication and collaboration among natural and social scientists, policy and decision makers, and involved communities. Participants also obtained foundations for developing competitive proposals for interdisciplinary research that can be funded by the IAI and other organizations.
The program for the Summer Institute 2001 included the following sub-themes:
– Water supply (climate variability and change, land use/cover change, health of aquatic systems) and demand (population growth, urbanization)
– Governance (regulatory and institutional issues)
– Conflict resolution (community participation, multiple objectives, trans-jurisdictional and transnational resources)
– New challenges in water resources management (new techniques, development of common language and interdisciplinary approaches).
The Institute was organized around a variety of activities, many of them highly participatory. Two Institute leaders (with backgrounds in natural and social sciences) presented introductory lectures to establish a common language among participants. Subsequently, several guest lecturers addressed in depth specific topics of the Institute’s program. Guest lecturers came from academic institutions, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral credit institutions from the Americas. Participants also carried out hands-on research projects and applied the concepts learned during the Institute.