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Introductory e-Course to the Global Commons

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Introductory e-Course to the Global Commons

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Deadline: Closed
The registration is closed.
Web Based
1 Mar 2012 to 12 May 2012
Duration of event:
3 Weeks
Programme Area:
Environment, International Law
Specific Target Audience:
No Fee
Event Focal Point Email:
Event Focal Point Contact Number:
+41 (0)22 917 88 29
Other Event Details:

In the latter part of the twentieth century, the term “commons” has expanded to include intangible resources such as the internet, open-source software, and many aspects of culture. The term “global commons” is more recent and has several meanings: those resources that are shared by all of humanity, such as the sky, the oceans, or even the planet itself; the sum of various local and regional commons across the world; and a philosophical position suggesting that humankind has both a right and a responsibility to steward the wise use of the earth for all living species, as well as for future generations.

There is a significant need for education that elucidates the paradigm of the commons and its relationship to issues of environmental sustainability and human development. In addition, it is essential that government officials and policy makers gain a working knowledge of the commons and the promise it offers for improving human conditions and supporting the Millennium Development Goals.


The aim of the Introductory e-Course to the Global Commons is to provide a general approach to the Commons, in order to facilitate the introduction of this concept into the work of the United Nations, various levels of governments and other entities.

At the end of the e-Course participants will be able to:

  • Understand the history of the commons, current usage, key definitions, and major issues facing the commons today.
  • Comprehend issues related to the enclosure of the commons:  the history of enclosure, modern forces tha are attempting to privatize and monetize the commons, and the ethical and philosophical issues related to enclosure.
  • Articulate a coherent vision of the commons, including the many dimensions of the commons. Explore the ontological and epistemological foundations of the commons.
  • Identify steps for initiating and/or participating in commons-related projects. Identify tools and resources for initiating and/or participating in commons-related projects.


The Course consists of the following modules:

Module 1: Defining the Global Commons
Module 2: The Value Proposition of the Commons
Module 3:What is at Stake? Enclosures
Module 4: Commons-Based Strategies


The Introductory e-Course to the Global Commons will be conducted in English.

The estimated time to accomplish the e-Course is 2 to 3 weeks, but to facilitate the completion of the course, participants are allotted 4 weeks from the moment they receive a valid login.
The completion of the e-Course requires an average study-time of 10 hours per week and will be delivered through UNITAR’s Moodle Platform. To follow the course properly, participants need basic computer skills, together with an understanding of navigation of the Internet and, of course, reliable Internet connection.
The learning activities include, among others, online-readings, videos, and resources links; as well as self-test quizzes to assess mastery.
Participants who successfully complete the Introductory e-Course to the Global Commons will receive a Certificate of Participation issued jointly by UNITAR and the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College.

The Introductory e-Course to the Global Commons is primarily targeted at United Nations delegates and government officials of member states.

Leaders in civil society and business organizations, university students, academic personnel and interested public are also encouraged to participate.

The course is offered free of charge for participants.

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