Escuela de Relaciones Internacionales de la Universidad Nacional

UNA logo

Campus Omar Dengo Apto: 86-3000 Heredia

Costa Rica

Tel: 506-5624143
Fax: 506-5624141

About the institution:
The Escuela de Relaciones Internacionales de la Universidad Nacional, founded in 1974 is the main institute of the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica dealing with issues related to International Affairs. Within this context the study of environmental international politics has been an area of priority in the last seven years, where the institute has been evolved in two broad areas: The management of international river basins and the study of transborder ecosystems in Central America. In the first case several studies have been conducted in Central America mainly in the basins of Usumacinta (Guatemala-México); Lempa (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala), San Juan (Costa Rica-Nicaragua) and Sixaola (Panama-Costa Rica). In the same way, the institute has developed research in the transborder ecosystems of Central America, basically related to the border areas included in the Mesoamerican Biological corridor, such as: Golfo de Fonseca, Reserva biósfera Maya and Region Moskitia.

Role in LiveDiverse:
WP8 Scenarios Leader and local organizer in Costa Rica. Expertise in policy aspects of ecosystems and social conflicts and their reconciliation.

Key researchers:
Alexander Lopez with a Ph.D. from the University of Oslo, Norway is currently the director of the Institute for International Affairs. He has conducted extensive field work in the Brazilian Amazon, México and Central America on issues related to socio-environmental conflict resolution and the management of river basins. Currently he is a member of the Expert Group on Environment and Conflict Prevention (Division on Early Warning and Assessment, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a member of the University Partnership for Transboundary Waters, and member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Global Environmental Change and Human Security Project. Aurora Hernández, Master in Geografy and Ph.D. Candidate of the Universidad Nacional. Has conducted substantial work in Central American border areas related to ecosystem management.

Ileana Arauz, Masters in Geography and currently lectures at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. For years she has been working in issues related to sustainable development of the Brunca region (South of Costa Rica). From 1993 to 1999 she was the coordinator of the project assessing the management of the Terraba river basin (the case study under study), and since 2004 she has been the University representative in the Terraba river basin commission.

Key publications:
López, Alexander (2005) Environmental Conflicts and Regional Cooperation in the Lempa River Basin. Woodrow Wilson Center and Adelphi Research, Germany.

López, Alexander (2004) Population Movements, Environmental Change and Social Conflicts in the Brazilian Amazon. In Jon D. Unruch, Maarten Krol y Nurit Kliot. “Environmental Change and its Implication for Population Migration. Kluwer Academic Publisher. Dordrecht, Boston and London.

López, Alexander (2004). Cooperation in the Lempa river basin: The role of Plan Trifinio. In Environment, Conflict and Cooperation. United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).