Water, Health, and Economy: an Integrated Ecosystem Services Approach to Sustainable Development in Urbanizing Deltas
In late August 2011 an international group of 25 interdisciplinary graduate students was assembled to create an integrated framework approach for sustainable development in urbanizing delta regions throughout the world. This integrated framework project is being accomplished in 3 major steps: 1) reviewing sustainable development approaches to “wicked” problems (i.e. those with complex interdependencies), 2) integration of team knowledge and different sustainable development frameworks, and 3) application of this generic sustainable development approach to a case study delta in Indonesia. To initiate the process students gathered for a week-long workshop at Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands, where they were exposed to a range of water-related sustainable development issues. After the workshop, students continued to collaborate through the integration process via teleconferences, email, and web-based discussion board. In early April 2012 the international team gathered for a second week-long workshop at PSU in Portland, Oregon to finish the integration process. This integrated framework approach focuses on using the Ecosystem Services (ES) framework as operational language within the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD). The ES concept can be used for evaluating and discussing tradeoffs as well as demonstrating the potential benefits of a sustainable development projects that preserve ecosystems and the services they provide. This integrated approach will be taken in October 2012 on the ground in Indonesia with the cooperation of students and stakeholders to create a sustainable plan for reducing waterborne disease outbreaks in the Citarum Delta.