Summer Course in Water Resources: VietNam and China

Nine students from the University of Miami participated in a month-long UM course on “Water Resources: Science, Law, and Policy” in VietNam and China from 17 May to 12 June 2015. The course, cross-listed by the UM School of Law and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) was organized by Professor Daniel Suman. The students specialized in environmental law and the environmental science and policy at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  Students spent two weeks in VietNam before traveling to Yunnan Province, China where they studied for weeks three and four of the course.

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In VietNam, course discussions were held in two universities: Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment (HUNRE) and the Hanoi University of Mining and Geology (HUMG). UM students were joined by some 20 students from both universities during lectures, discussions, field trips, and social activities. Topics covered included Water Resouce Management in VietNam, Mangroves and Wetlands in Vietnam, Drinking Water and Wastewater Management, Water and Sustainable Cities, Vietnam´s Law of the Environment, Public Perception of Water Resources in Vietnam, and Groundwater Management in VietNam. In addition to meetings at the universities, the group traveled to Halong Bay Marine Protected Area, Cat Ba National Park, and the Sapa region in the mountainous area on the VietNam-China border.

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During the second half of the course, the group visited the Asian International Rivers Center (AIRC) and Yunnan University in Kunming, China from 1-12 June. The Miami students were joined by 8 graduate students from AIRC. During their visit to the Yunnan University campus, AIRC Professors and Suman offered lectures on such topics as China´s transboundary rivers, management of water resources in China, wetlands in China and their management, wetland ecosystem services and the management of wetlands in the USA, the environmental impact assessment process in China, the United Nations Convention on the Law of Non-Navigable Uses of International Watercourses, and environmental impacts of mining. In addition to the week of presentations and discussions at AIRC, the students also visited numerous natural sites in Yunnan Province – including ShiLin Stone Forest Geological Park, Lake Dianchi and the Panlong River, Western Hills National Park, Dali and the Cangshan Mountain National Park, and Shaxi and Shibaoshan Mountain. One of the highlights of the course was a three day trek through the Tiger Leaping Gorge of the Yangtze River.

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This is the seventh year that the UM has offered this summer course in VietNam and China. It has provided opportunities for sharing of concepts and knowledge about water resources to young professionals from the three countries, as well as long-lasting friendships between students and staff from UM and sister institutions in VietNam and China.

— Daniel Suman, professor of marine ecosystems & society at the UM Rosenstiel School