CESAM Platform

Ghent University has a long-standing tradition of cooperation with universities in Latin America.  Whenever possible, UGent seizes the opportunity to intensify ongoing collaboration activities and to explore new possibilities for cooperation. As a result, the CESAM (Central and South America) Platform has been established in January 2016. As one of the six Regional Platforms, CESAM will contribute to the internationalisation strategy of Ghent University.


  • Support in data collection on past and future potential cooperation with CESAM countries, assisting in development of methodology for strategic partnerships and related development of CA’s and MOU’s, and support in receiving and sending delegations;
  • Developing key partners for education cooperation: internships, student mobility, scholarships, local master organisation, ‘global Erasmus’, summer courses, intensive courses, educational innovation, distance learning and e-learning;
  • Key partners research: funding resources offered in CESAM, human resources and institutes for cooperation on unique systems
  • Services: opportunities for involvement in large projects on EIA, food and energy ‘production’ and industrial development, as well as cooperation with social and nature oriented organisations;
  • Visibility of activities via website and social media.


The CESAM Platform will initially focus on sustainable development aspects, as many activities are now developed with high impacts on the environment and what might lead even to a decline in the productivity.

Further, the platform will make use of a HUB structure for developing local activities, as in these countries financial and organisational support can be embedded in ongoing projects.


Academic Chair: Prof. Peter Goethals (Bioscience Engineering)
Coordinator: Barbara Claeys (UGent Internationalisation)
Vice-coordinator: Nancy Terryn (Research Coordination)
Management Board: Academic Chair + coordinator +  faculty representatives + Director for Internationalisation (Prof. Guido Van Huylenbroeck)


Ghent University

The CESAM platform will offer its services to any UGent partner that envisages or has activities with Latin American partners.

Currently seven faculties have committed to actively support the platform and they assigned a representative to join the Management Board: Xavier Gellynck (Bioscience Engineering), Koen Dewettinck (Bioscience Engineering), Stijn Speelman (Bioscience Engineering), Ilse Logie (Arts and Philosophy), Frank Maes (Law), Stefaan De Henauw (Medicine and Health Sciences), Martin Valcke (Psychology & Educational Sciences), Marleen De Troch (Sciences), Frank Pasmans (Veterinary Medicine)

 ESPOL @ UGent 2016
ESPOL @ UGent 2016
Regional and international

Catapa: involvement in local research, guest courses and setting up workshops;

WWF, World Bank, FAO, UNEP: based on meetings and workshops searching for options for cooperation;

Dredging companies, Harbour of Ghent, Katoennatie, McKinsey, industrie networks (e.g. Ondernemers voor Ondernemers): searching for win-win opportunities. The involvement of for instance the Centre for Enviromental Science & Technology, Agrolink, Food2Know, VLIZ, Marine@UGent, Greenbridge, IOF responsibles can help to catalyse this interaction;

The involvement of Alumni of international programmes will offer also long term contacts and networking options.


Ecuador and Peru work towards the first transboundary Biosphere Reserve in South America

Transboundary biosphereEcuadorian and Peruvian key stakeholders met to discuss the proposal for the first transboundary biosphere reserve in South America (Macara, Ecuador, August 2016). © UNESCO/Jorge Ellis

The proposal for the first transboundary biosphere reserve in South America made progress on 2 August, when key stakeholders met in Macara, Ecuador, to discuss the nomination file. Representatives of the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador and of the National Service of Natural Protected Areas in Peru worked together on the proposal, with the support of specialists from the German cooperation (GIZ), the NGO Naturaleza y Cultura Internacional, and the UNESCO Offices in Quito and Lima.
The presidents of Ecuador and Peru made a joint decision to propose the creation of a transboundary Biosphere Reserve during the presidential meeting and XI Binational Ministerial Cabinet meeting in Jaen, Peru, in December 2015. This new biosphere reserve proposal would include the Bosque Seco Biosphere Reserve in southern Ecuador, designated in 2014, and the Noroeste Amotapes - Manglares Biosphere Reserve in northern Peru, designated in 1977 and extended in 2016.

This process is being carried out in the framework of the project “Biosphere Reserves as a Tool for Coastal and Island Management in the South-East Pacific Region” (BRESEP), which is coordinated by the MAB Programme and supported by the Flemish Government of Belgium.

The overall objective of BRESEP is to create and reinforce existing biosphere reserves on the coastal areas and islands of the west coast of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Peru. The project also aims to promote biosphere reserves as tools for innovative projects to bring added value to local socio-economical activities, and to sensitize and build the capacity of stakeholders in the area.

The nomination file is expected to be finalized over 2 further meetings in the coming weeks, and submitted to the Secretariat of the Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB) in September 2016. Such proposals are then evaluated by an Advisory Committee, which issues a recommendation. The final decision to include a new Biosphere Reserve in the network is then made by the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of the MAB.


Mrs. Barbara Claeys
International Relations Office
Ghent University - CESAM Platform
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25, 9000 Gent, Belgium