logo header blanco

SPA Launches First-of-its-kind Course:”The Living Amazon: Science, Cultures and Sustainability in Practice”

[New York, USA, March 18, 2024] — The Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest and river basin, faces urgent  challenges such as deforestation, degradation, climate change, and illegalities. In response, the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) is taking an important step to foster a better understanding of these threats and their impacts to promote participation in developing solutions. In collaboration with the SDG Academy, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and the World Bank (WB), and with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), today, the SPA launched its groundbreaking massive open online course (MOOC), “The Living Amazon: Science, Cultures, and Sustainability in Practice.

The free course, available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, aims to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing this vital region. It covers current trends, threats, and impacts to the Amazon’s ecosystems, as well as the sustainable practices essential to safeguard the region and advance sustainable development. Taught by experts spanning a range of disciplines, including biodiversity, conservation, land use change, climate science, and anthropology, the course caters to practitioners, students, and professionals across sectors.

“Enrolling in the MOOC is crucial for professionals, students, and leaders from various sectors seeking to understand the role that the Amazon plays in regulating global climate, conserving biodiversity, and providing essential ecosystem services. Grasping these processes that make the Amazon a set of vital ecosystems for our planet is crucial to conserving the forest and its benefits for society,” said Carlos Nobre, SPA Co-Chair, world-renowned climatologist, and a course instructor.

The course content draws from the flagship 2021 Amazon Assessment Report, produced by the SPA scientists  and launched at COP26 in Glasgow, as well as several recent SPA publications. Participants will deeply explore the Amazon’s origins, biodiversity, and cultural significance. They will grasp its critical role in global climate regulation and the risks posed by its degradation. Through insights into Indigenous stewardship, they will learn about sustainable management practices, and by analyzing threats like deforestation, participants will gain a nuanced understanding of these complex issues. Ultimately, the course aims to inspire advocacy and implementation of sustainable solutions for the Amazon’s conservation.

Leading scholars and experts on the Amazon, including Indigenous leaders, serve as faculty:

  • Carlos Nobre, SPA Co-Chair & Senior Researcher at the Advanced Studies Institute, University of São Paulo;
  • Nadino Calapucha, Amazonian Kichwa Leader & President of theFundación de KAMBAK;
  • Jhan-Carlo Espinoza, Research Director at the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD);
  • Philip Fearnside, Senior Researcher at the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA);
  • Susanna Hecht, Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA);
  • José Marengo, General Coordinator of the National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN);
  • Lilian Painter, Director of the Bolivia Country Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS);
  • Camila Ribas, Scientist at the National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA); and
  • Martha Rosero-Peña, Social Inclusion Director (Afro Descendants Fellow) at Conservation International

The course is free, with an optional paid certification. It is self-paced, with an estimated 8 weeks required for completion. No previous knowledge is required, making it accessible to a broad audience worldwide. The course will remain accessible to the public indefinitely. For more information and enrollment, visit the course site here.

About the Science Panel for the Amazon
The Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) is the first high-level science regional initiative dedicated to the Amazon Basin. The Panel was established to make clear the scientific, economic, and moral case for conservation, to address widespread deforestation, forest degradation, and wildfires that have intensified in recent years, and to advance sustainable development in the region. Today, the Panel is composed of over 250 scientists who released the 2021 Amazon Assessment Report at COP26, which has been called an “encyclopedia” of the Amazon region. The SPA is convened under the auspices of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Professor Jeffrey Sachs, the President of the SDSN, is the convener of the SPA, Ms. Emma Torres is the Strategic Coordinator, and Dr. Carlos Nobre and Dr. Marielos Peña-Claros serve as the Co-Chairs.
Learn more: https://www.theamazonwewant.org/ 

About the SDG Academy
The SDG Academy is the flagship education initiative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). Since 2014, it has created more than 40 free, high-quality, massive open online courses (MOOCs) on sustainable development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Its courses feature the world’s foremost experts in their fields and cover topics such as human rights, health, education, climate change, agriculture and food systems, and macroeconomics — equipping the next generation of sustainable development practitioners to take on the complex challenges facing our planet. Learn more: https://sdgacademy.org/

Gabriela Arnal | gabriela.arnal@unsdsn.org (SPA Communications)