Prof. Dr. Peter Messerli

Director, CDE | Professor of Sustainable Development | Affiliated Professor at the Institute of Geography, Department of Integrative Geography

+41 31 631 30 60
Postal Address
Prof. Dr. Peter Messerli
Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
University of Bern
Hallerstrasse 10
CH-3012 Bern

Areas of professional focus at CDE

  • Land system science and sustainable development oriented research
  • Analysis of socio-ecological systems and land governance in developing countries
  • Transformation of forested landscapes and shifting cultivation in Southeast Asia and Africa in the context of global change
  • Knowledge production for evidence informed decision-making and transformations towards sustainable development


Further professional interests

  • Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research
  • Research partnerships with developing countries
  • Knowledge-based dialogues between science and society

Field experience

10 years of field experience mainly in Lao PDR, Madagascar, and Ethiopia; work experience in various other CDE core regions including Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and East Africa


German, English, French, Spanish; basic grasp of Lao and Malagasy
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  • Co-chair of the Global Land Project (GLP) of Future Earth
  • Member of the Steering Committee of ProClim, the Forum for Climate and Global Change of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT)
  • Member of the foundation council of Swisspeace, Schweizerische Friedensstiftung
  • Representing CDE as member of the International Land Coalition (ILC)
  • Network for Science and Technology for Sustainability(
  • Representing CDE at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
  • Arbeitskreis Südostasien der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geographie (Scientific Research Group on Southeast Asia of the German Geographical Society)
  • Arbeitskreis Geographie und Prozesse der Entscheidungsfindung
  • Member of Schweizerische Akademische Gesellschaft für Umweltforschung und Ökologie
  • Swiss Association of Research Managers and Administrators
  • Member of Association of American Geographers (AAG)
  • Member of Geographische Gesellschaft, Bern