News archive

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Agricultural cooperatives_Finding strength in numbers

Agricultural cooperatives: Finding strength in numbers

Despite their fundamental importance, many small farmers lead lives of deepening vulnerability – caught between subsistence strategies threatened by ecological degradation and commercial food systems that devalue them as cheap labour. Alternative agricultural models are urgently needed.

Peter Messerli

“It was time for me to say: Let’s have another go at it!”

For ten years, Peter Messerli was one of CDE’s two directors. As of 1 May 2020, he will lead the new Wyss Academy for Nature. In an interview, he discusses what has changed, the role played by science, what he is looking forward to – and what he will miss.

Extractive industries in Madagascar

Governance processes and impacts of extractive industries in Madagascar

In Madagascar, a hotspot of global biodiversity, problems associated with the extractive industries have increasingly given rise to political, economic, social, and ecological crises over the past two decades. A new CDE research project is pursuing one main objective: that of generating scientific and practical transformation knowledge to enable more sustainable mining investments.

MRD Nepal Kenya

Education for girls in Nepal, fire management on Mount Kenya

What does it take to enable successful higher education for girls and thus support sustainable development? In the new issue of “Mountain Research and Development”, a study from Nepal presents possible pathways. Further topics include integrated monitoring of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Colombia and the characterization of forest fires on Mount Kenya for improved fire management.

Blooming coffee plants

Links between biodiversity and coffee farmer practices in Bolivia

In Bolivia, more than half of the coffee is grown under shade trees in agroforestry systems. In a new partnership, researchers from CDE and the Institute of Geography (both University of Bern) are joining with the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia, to document biodiversity on different high-quality coffee farms and analyze its interactions with Bolivian peasant farmers’ management decisions.

Christoph Oberlack

“Sustainable Development needs local knowledge and global learning”

An international network of scientists has developed an approach aimed at supporting decision-making for sustainable development: the archetype approach. One of the specialists in the field is Christoph Oberlack, a researcher at CDE and the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern. He describes new ways in which sustainability research can support policy and practice.

Nische Gesellschaft

From niche to society: social innovations for sustainable consumption

Repair cafés and projects in community-supported agriculture or the sharing economy show how our society can use fewer resources and thus operate more sustainably. In a new project, a team of CDE researchers are investigating how such initiatives can take root and achieve broad impact.


Investments by the super-rich drive deforestation

Wealthy individuals are increasingly investing in agriculture. Their investments boost production of plant-based raw materials for human consumption, industrial uses, and animal fodder. The resulting capital flows directly contribute to deforestation in the global South, especially in the tropics. That is the conclusion of a new study by the University of Bern’s Centre for Development and Environment (CDE).

UNCCD - WOCAT Partnership

UNCCD and WOCAT extend their partnership

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the WOCAT initiative, hosted at CDE, have renewed their partnership indefinitely. UNCCD representatives and CDE senior scientist/WOCAT director Hanspeter Liniger signed the partnership agreement last week.

Würfel SDGs

The future is sustainable – it's in our hands! Bachelor & Master Summer School 2020

This year, in an international summer school, CDE is offering students a chance to deepen their knowledge of sustainable development and to acquire the competencies needed to act as change agents.

Think new and act differently: CAS Sustainable Development

From knowledge to action towards the 2030 Agenda: The CAS Sustainable Development offers space for reflection, conveys knowledge, presents fields of action, and provides support for putting theory into practice. Register for this continuing education course today and learn to be a networked thinker and doer.


Making land deals more sustainable: The example of Laos

Since 2006, the strategy for development of Laos has included making money from land. Mandated by the Lao government, CDE scientists have developed an index – the first of its kind – that assesses the quality of land deals and points the way towards more sustainable investments.

Woody Weeds

Study calls for rapid action to stop spread of woody weeds in Eastern Africa

Invasive alien species are threatening large tracts of rangeland and causing biodiversity loss in Eastern Africa. An international team of scientists, including of CDE, are now warning that woody weeds like Prosopis juliflora risk invading vast new areas. They recommend a coordinated management plan to curb their spread.

Master's open days

Master’s open days, 10-11 March 2020

Information events on the master’s minor programme in sustainable development will take place on 10 and 11 March 2020, from 13:15 to 13:45, in Room 105 at the University of Bern’s main building.

Grand-Prix of Bern

Sustainable events: On the way to zero waste?

The Sustainable Events Forum 2020 – organized by SchweryCade and CDE – took a critical look at the sustainability of major events and showed that there are no simple solutions applicable to all events. Nonetheless, much can be improved – if it’s done right. Read more in German.

Umweltforschungspreis 2020

Presentation of the Bernese Award for Environmental Research

Ninety percent of Swiss floodplain soils contain microplastic. Where does it come from? And: How are Swiss politics shaping the transition to renewable energy? Answers to these questions will be provided at the award ceremony for the Bernese Award for Environmental Research on 5 March 2020. Details available in German.

Guidelines for virtual conferencing

Guidelines for virtual conferencing

Building on experience garnered during the COPERNICUS Alliance Online Conference 2019, the Copernicus Alliance leadership team and CDE researchers developed guidelines on how to prepare, host and evaluate virtual conferences.

land use, CDE-led study

When the meanings of a place collide

A CDE-led study on a nature reserve in the US state of Oregon demonstrates how land use, power, and place claims interact and shape socio-ecological developments over the long term.