Prof. em. Dr. Hans Hurni

Institute of Geography, Integrative Geography

+41 31 631 88 22
Postal Address
Prof. em. Dr. Hans Hurni
Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)
University of Bern
Mittelstrasse 43
CH-3012 Bern

Areas of professional focus at CDE

  • Natural resource management
  • Sustainable development appraisal
  • Development of multi-level stakeholder approaches
  • Soil erosion process assessments
  • Soil and water conservation experimentation
  • Nature conservation
  • Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research
  • Methodological development


  • Founding president (2009-2013) of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern
  • Initiator and Co-Director, together with Urs Wiesmann, of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South (2001-2013) on research partnerships for mitigating syndromes of global change
  • Member of the Swiss delegation to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), “Rio+20”, including preparations (since 2011), negotiation, and representation of Switzerland at the conference (June 2012)
  • Project initiator of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) support for Water and Land Resource Centres (WLRC) in the Horn of Africa and East Africa (since 2011)
  • Responsible for sustainable development research and education at the University of Bern (2010–2012)
  • Lead author of Global Chapter 1 of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD, 2005–2008)
  • Initiator of, and contributor to, the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) programme (since 1992)
  • Co-leader of the Eastern and Southern Africa Partnership Programme (ESAPP, since 1998)
  • Editor-in-Chief, since 2012 together with David Molden, of Mountain Research and Development (MRD, since 1999)
  • Associate Chief Editor, International Soil and Water Conservation Research (ISWCR)
  • Initiator and leader of the Soil Conservation Research Programme (SCRP) in Ethiopia (1981–1998)
  • Initiator and co-leader, together with Eva Ludi, of the Simen Mountains Baseline Study, Ethiopia (SMBS, 1994–2000)

Further professional interests

  • Research management
  • Organisational development
  • Conflict transformation negotiations
  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Process modelling

Field experience

Ethiopia, Thailand, Madagascar, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Cameroon, Kyrgyzstan, and professional visits to over 30 countries


German, English, French; and some Amharic, Italian, and Russian


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  • Initiator of the International Graduate School (IGS) North-South (since 2009)
  • International Soil Conservation Organization (ISCO)
  • International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)
  • Former president (1991–1996) and honorary member of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation (WASWC)
  • Initiator of the African Mountains Association (AMA)
  • Member of the Mountain Forum (MF)
  • Mountain Research and Development (MRD)
  • Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS)
  • International Mountain Society (IMS)