International summer courses promote solutions to Peruvian aquatic ecosystems problems

The CORRIENTE XXI project has as participants universities from Ecuador and Peru, which together with the Free University of Brussels (VUB) have been developing pedagogical workshops that seek to exchange expertise in favour of internationalization and innovating teaching methods in their master's programs. In this sense, as a first face-to-face activity, we sought to complement and jointly organize the summer courses of two different master's degree programs.


The Natural History course is part of the Master in Marine Sciences of the Cayetano Heredia Private University (UPCH), while the 'Monsoon School' course is part of the 'Oceans and Lakes' Master programme of the Free University of Brussels (VUB). The combination of both led to the exchange of experts from Latin America, Europe and Asia who have been working with both universities. Students from the Master's program in Ecosystems and Aquatic Resources (ERA) at the National University of San Marcos (UNMSM) in Peru and professors from the universities of Ecuador, Universidad Central de Ecuador (UCE) and Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) joined this experience.


For two weeks, professors and students from the participating universities worked together to solve the main problems affecting the aquatic ecosystems of Piura and Tumbes regions. Among these issues were the effects of oil platforms on the marine environment, mining pollution in the Tumbes-Puyango River, effective and sustainable management of the mangrove sanctuary in Tumbes, among others. Through interviews, each group had the opportunity to meet with local experts such as the Consorcio de Manglares del Noroeste del Perú, NGO ProDelphinus, SERNANP (Servicio Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas), IMARPE (Instituto del Mar del Perú), NGO EcoOceanica, SPDA (Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental), among others who guided them and offered current and relevant information for the study of each case.


Students interviewed NGO ProDelphinus about the treats to marine mammas in Los Organos, together with experts from VUB and ESPOL

The first exchange of lessons learned, one of the objectives of the CORRIENTE XXI project, was attended by approximately 50 participants of 14 nationalities, allowing to reinforce pre-existing collaborations among its members but also opening the possibility of new links for collaborative research among professionals focused on the sustainable management of aquatic environments.


Testimony:

UPCH master student: [The summer courses] were very interesting because it is a unique opportunity where we have shared with many people from different cultures, different ways of thinking, different approaches even. Even the 'Monsoon School' itself had quite an applied approach to management that many of us who are not familiar with this has helped us to broaden our focus and see to be able to do the same in our different fields of study.

Students from UPCH, UNMSM and 'Oceans and Lakes' working on the fisheries tender