Financing Public Services and Environmental Sustainability

Overview
Application Procedure
Admissions
Courses
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  • STARTING DATE:
    2016•09•19
    LOCATION:
    Online course
    APPLICATIONS DUE:
    2016•09•02

    The aim of this course is to provide participants with an understanding of the role played by intergovernmental fiscal arrangements in shaping public service outcomes in countries around the world, especially developing countries and emerging economies. Issues of accountability and autonomy will be examined to highlight important trade-offs and synergies that are at the centre of the NEXUS approach to the management of water, soil and waste. Specific topics include: trends in political decentralisation and the role of public budgets and local governments in supporting the delivery of public services.

    “I am glad to take the course: useful book, possibility to provide any ideas and proposals and to communicate with the tutor and participants.”
    (2015 course participant)

    Image: Blended Learning Platform - Online Courses

    Image: Blended Learning Platform – Online Courses


    Background

    The United Nations University (UNU) was established in 1973 and currently encompasses 13 Research Institutes and Programmes located in 12 countries around the world. Through a problem-oriented and transdisciplinary approach, UNU targets policy-relevant research, education and capacity development that aims to develop sustainable solutions to pressing global problems of human survival and development.

    The United Nations University Institute for the Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) offers online courses that are hosted on the Blended Learning Platform. These online courses will be integrated into the Nexus Observatory, a flagship initiative of the institute. The Nexus Observatory will serve as an online platform for consolidating and translating science into relevant information and evidence, which will empower decision makers to develop strategies, policies as well as environmental resources management planning and implementation frameworks.

    Objective

    NexOb_OnlineCourses_GeneralInfo_img1The main objective of online courses hosted on the Blended Learning Platform, is to provide decision makers, practitioners and students with an interest in the planning and management of environmental resources with access to relevant knowledge. Participants anywhere in the world are able to address capacity development needs, learn at their own convenience and develop new skills on how to apply the acquired knowledge in practice.

    The UNU-FLORES online course programme took place for the first time in 2015. Participants came from all parts of the world and sectors:

    Images: 'Geographical background of 2015 participants' (left) and 'Type of organisation where 2015 participants were employed' (right)

    Images: ‘Geographical background of 2015 participants’ (left) and ‘Type of organisation where 2015 participants were employed’ (right)

    About the Programme

    In 2016, three online courses considering the NEXUS approach from different methodological perspectives will be delivered through the Blended Learning Platform. UNU-FLORES online courses run for a period of 12 weeks (study load: 130 hours) and are divided into three modules with three lectures per module. In addition to lecture videos, course participants will be provided with a complementary textbook.

    Throughout the online course, participants will prepare four assignments (see the Blended Learning Platform Brochure for more information) that will form a portfolio. The portfolio serves as a testimony of participants’ learning. Upon successful completion (having received at least a pass grade for all assignments), participants will be awarded a certificate at the end of the course. No certificates of participation will be issued.

  • For more information, or to access the online application form, see the “Financing Public Services and Environmental Sustainability” course announcement on the UNU-FLORES website.

  • For whom

    This course is designed for decision makers, practitioners, professionals and students who want to develop their knowledge in public financing of goods and services as a basis for the sustainable management of environmental resources. The course will be particularly useful to participants involved in or affected by policy-making planning processes and/or management of environmental resources.

    Dates

    • Start: 19 September 2016 – End: 11 December 2016
    • Course fee: $250 (includes cost of the textbook and mailing of DVDs containing course lectures)

    Admission Criteria

    • MA/MSc in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences or other closely related fields
    • Good command of the English language
    • Work experience related to management of environmental resources – water, soil and/or waste; experience with local government/non-governmental agencies and think tanks in developing/emerging economies would be an asset

    Technical Requirements

    Delivery of online courses and submission of assessments will take place through the Blended Learning Platform. Participants should have access to an internet connection that is stable enough to support the following: upload of assessments (Word, PDF documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc.), correspondence with tutor (this will be done predominantly using e-mail, but may also include the use of the Blended Learning Platform discussion board or face-to-face interactions using applications such as Skype).

    Discounts

    Discounts on course fees for online hosted on the Blended Learning Platform courses apply to the following:

    • 25% for UN Staff
    • 30% for UNU-FLORES Alumni and previous online course participants
    • 30% for group applications by an organization sponsoring the enrolment of 3 or more participants

    Payment

    Payments of online course fees will be done by bank transfer. Upon successful application, participants will be given details for payment of course fees. A participant will be fully enrolled in the course, when all fees have been paid before the deadline specified by the course administrator.

  • Learning objectives

    Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

    • Discuss the inter-relationship between different levels of government for management of environmental resources, notably water and waste
    • Describe and assess international experiences in the field of decentralisation and identify best practices
    • Evaluate the prospects of Output-Based Aid (OBA) initiatives for the planning and management of local governments’ revenues and expenditures
    • Evaluate the role of planning instruments, such as benchmarking and outcome indicators in enhancing accountability of decision-making processes for management of environmental resources

    Course content

    The course consists of three parts:

    • Trends in financing of public goods
    • Public budgets: governance structures, norms and organizational practices
    • Issues of accountability and policy outcomes: key lessons from recent international experience

    Total study load: 130 hours

    Course assessment

    Throughout the course, participants are asked to submit a number of assignments, which will form a portfolio. Portfolio items include a literature review, short paper, policy memos, presentation and portfolio review. Participants may also test their knowledge by completing non-graded multiple-choice questions. To be able to create high quality portfolios, participants must organise, synthesise and clearly describe their learning outcomes and effectively communicate what they have learnt. The final portfolio, besides being a testimony of a gradual process of learning for the individual participant, could also possess outputs for stakeholder groups involved in the development of research ideas or topics, creating links to the UNU-FLORES Nexus Observatory.

    Course participants will be evaluated based on the results of the different assignments. The portfolio will constitute the final assessment. Participants who submit assignments and successfully meet the grading criteria will receive a certificate from UNU-FLORES. No certificates of participation will be issued.

  • All inquiries about the online courses should be addressed to: onlinecourse_flores@unu.edu