To combat deforestation in the Andean Amazon, four U.S. universities have been awarded funding by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through Higher Education for Development (HED) to partner with South American universities to enhance local biodiversity conservation and sustainability.
The partnerships, in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, will strengthen regional academia and train local people in the Amazon to implement conservation best practices. This nearly $3 million project is part of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA), USAID’s biodiversity program to protect and manage natural resources that are threatened by deforestation.
The universities will participate in joint research, develop college-level courses and fund new scholarship and fellowship opportunities to identify new, sustainable approaches to managing threats to biodiversity. The partnerships are:
- Bolivia: The University of Florida will team up with Universidad Amazónica de Pando to develop a program in natural resources management.
- Colombia: Florida International University will work with Pontificia Universidad Javeriana to develop a research collaboration network.
- Ecuador: The University of North Carolina and Universidad San Francisco de Quito will launch a specialization in Amazonian studies within the Master of Science in Ecology program at Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
- Peru: The University of Richmond (VA) and Universidad Nacional de Ucayali will integrate an applied interdisciplinary, science-based certificate program.
“The partnerships that make up the ICAA II Higher Education Partnership Program have put forth strong plans that are as inclusive as they are ambitious. With goals to learn and teach, these partnerships are now on the way to strengthening capacity of local universities for long-term improvements,” said Tully R. Cornick, HED’s executive director.
Established in 1992, HED mobilizes the expertise and resources of the higher education community to address global development challenges. It assists the nation's six major higher education associations, including ACE, in partnering with USAID, the State Department, donor organizations and foundations.