First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Course unit
SUP4065274, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SU2446, Degree course structure A.Y. 2018/19, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge LAURA SECCO AGR/01

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines AGR/01 Rural economy and evaluation 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 42 108.0 No turn

Start of activities 23/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
2 Commissione 2019/20 01/12/2019 30/11/2020 SECCO LAURA (Presidente)
PISANI ELENA (Membro Effettivo)
1 Commissione 2018/19 01/12/2018 30/11/2019 SECCO LAURA (Presidente)
PISANI ELENA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: (Suggested) Fundamentals of geography and local economies.
Target skills and knowledge: At the end of the module “Environmental and Social Responsibility in Local Development Processes” (6 ETCS), the student will be able to identify, understand and critically analyse the basic concepts, the main policies and the most effective and common instruments that are useful in adopting a responsible approach in local development. A particular attention will be devoted to the sustainable use and management of natural resources, as well as to the most challenging and modern social and environmental concerns in rural areas, also in relation to the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The student will acquire basic knowledge on the main current environmental, economic and social concerns and instruments that can be used to practically tackle with such concerns: e.g., market-based instruments (such as the third-party independent certification applied to natural resources), regulatory-normative instruments (such as the international agreements on climate change) and social-based instruments (such as social innovation initiatives and policies that can support networks and social capital in rural development processes at local level).
Examination methods: The student will have to pass an oral final examination based on open-ended questions focused on the topics discussed during the course. A list of guiding questions is provided at the end of each topic, in a written form (i.e. included in the slides of the lessons, available in Moodle). Answers to open-ended questions account for 60% of the final grade.
During the oral presentation, each student is also required to present a local development project proposal. The presentation should focus on integrating environmental and social responsibility issues in the project: e.g., what environmental, economic and social challenges the project deals with, what Agenda 2030 SDGs it tackles, what instruments are useful for its implementation and the practical steps the student intends to follow for developing, implementing and evaluating the project. Project proposal and its discussion account for 40% of the final grade.
Attending students develop the project proposal during the course, working in groups (max 3 students/group), giving specific tasks to each member and preliminarily presenting it with Power Point (or equivalent) during the lessons, with a plenary discussion with the teacher and other students. The Power Point presentation should be max 10 slides (longer presentations will be negatively evaluated at the exam). Feedback/suggestions should be integrated in the final version to be presented and discussed at the exam. Assigned tasks to each member of the work group have to be stated at the beginning of the presentation. During the final exam, each student presents and discusses the project proposal individually. The project can be presented with a mobile device (e.g., tablet, smartphone) or as printed document (e.g., slides, text). In any case, the Power Point presentation (or equivalent) must be sent via email in advance to the teacher.
Not attending students (only Local Development students might have this status) are invited to meet the teacher before the exam. Each student is required to present a project proposal, even if developed individually and without having feedback during the lessons.
Assessment criteria: The student’s performance at the exam will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:
1. Completeness - both with respect to each specific question and to all questions (replying to less than 70% of questions is hardly enough to pass the exam, even if differences exist in the degree of complexity among questions).
2. Technical correctness (both in using technical terms and sentences formulating)
3. Clarity in formulation and logical sequence of concepts
4. Capacity to link concepts presented in different modules and/or in other courses, and to use relevant examples, eventually based on personal experience
5. Quality, accuracy and coherence of the project proposal with the course’s contents; only the version presented at the exam will be considered for evaluation. The more accurate, structured and technically correct is the project proposal the higher will be the score.
6. English correctness will also be considered, as far as eventual mistakes affect the concepts’ understanding and clearness.
Course unit contents: The module focuses on the current main environmental, economic and societal challenges and political and practical tools that can be used to contrast them by following an approach of environmental and social responsibility. Different types of actors (governments, public entities, NGOs, private companies, social movements and individuals) can adopt this approach by means of different instruments. In particular, insights will be provided on: i) the most relevant environmental, economic and societal concerns affecting rural areas and natural resources, included: climate change, deforestation, unsustainable and illegal logging, water scarcity and pollution, land grabbing, market globalization and their consequences, economic inequality and its environmental consequences, the (difficult) role of social dimensions in the innovation processes in rural development, and others; ii) basic concepts of multi-functionality of natural resources, Natural Capital, ecosystem services and their links with human well-being, and the potential conflicts deriving from different demands expressed by different stakeholders on fragile areas; iii) key concepts to understand issues of governance and good governance of natural resources, included an overview of instruments to analyse, assess and implement network governance in rural areas; iv) basic concepts, policies, programs and operational instruments for applying environmental and social responsibility in rural areas, included: environmental and forest certification, payments for ecosystem services, territorial marketing, rural development programs (with a special attention to the European RDP), social innovation and nature-based business, public-private partnerships in rural development, nature conservation according to political ecology theory, REDD+ projects (to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) and others.
Different spatial/institutional/administrative scales will be considered, from the global to the regional and local ones. Various case studies located in Europe and other countries will be used to present more in detail the general concepts.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Frontal lectures.
Collaborative learning activities (preparation, presentation and discussion of a local development project proposal by the students - working in groups, plenary discussion).
Role play (simulation of a negotiation meeting among various stakeholders having different interests and power for the definition and approval of a local development project in a fragile rural area).
Specialized seminars with experts and key stakeholders.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Variuos types of studying material are provided. A simplified version of the Power Point Presentations used by the teacher during the lessons is made available on Moodle (in B/W, 2 slides/page) step by step. Other relevant material (included e.g., published scientific papers, reports, books, web sites, videos) is suggested step by step, for each specific topic, and provided on Moodle when possible.
However, a few basic recommended documents are the following:

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, last update (chapters and full reports available at

Biermann F., Siebenhüner B., Schreyögg A. (2009), International Organizations in Global Environmental Governance, London & New York, Routledge.

Dietz, T., Stern, P. (eds). (2008). Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making. Available at URL:
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • DESA, Trends in Sustainable Development.. United Nations, New York.: --, 2018. Available at URL:
  • OECD, Innovative Rural Regions. OECD Rural Policy Conferences, Key Messages. Cáceres, Spain – March 2007.. --: --, 2017. Available at URL:

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Problem solving
  • Peer feedback
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)
  • Students peer review
  • role play

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
No Poverty Zero Hunger Good Health and Well-Being Clean Water and Sanitation Affordable and Clean Energy Decent Work and Economic Growth Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Responsible Consumption and Production Climate Action Life Below Water Life on Land Partnerships for the Goals