Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)


News archive 2012

Online advent calendar spotlights sustainable land management and the fight against desertification

The online advent calendar “sustainable development” explains different facets of sustainable development throughout the month of December. Innovative projects and concrete actions are presented to promote sustainability. WOCAT is featured on one day. The global WOCAT network has committed itself to gather, share, and apply existing knowledge for sustainable land management. Read more

Public lecture: Informal vertical communities

A 45-floor office tower abandoned under construction in the financial centre of Caracas, Venezuela, has become the improvised home of over 600 families living in an “informal vertical barrio”. On 31 November 2012, a lecture at the University of Bern examines the debate that has opened up around this unlikely high-rise community of squatters. Read more

New book: Mapping and Geoprocessing Tools in Support of Rural Advisory Systems

This book shows the potential of geoprocessing tools to support rural extension and development. Drawing on examples, it illustrates the use of geoprocessing tools – such as GPS, GIS, and virtual globes – in interventions of international development cooperation. Agricultural extensionists and rural advisors who have little or no experience with mapping tools are encouraged to begin using such tools in their work with communities, whenever appropriate, to enhance their initiatives and projects. Read more

CDE to host Global Environments Summer Academy 2013

From 27 July to 18 August 2013, CDE will host the third GESA on Socio-ecological Interactions in a Dynamic World, co-organised by the Global Diversity Foundation and the Rachel Carson Center. It aims to enhance the knowledge, networking, and communication skills of postgraduate students concerned about the human dimensions of environmental challenges. Online applications accepted until 15 January 2013. Read more

Knowledge of natural remedies endures in Andes

Quechua-speaking young people know as much about natural remedies as their elders in certain Andean Highland communities. This key finding is contained in a paper co-written by CDE/NCCR North-South researchers, which examines the transformation of knowledge about medicinal plants and similar remedies. Read more

Soil spectroscopy course at CDE

CDE’s Natural Resources Cluster is offering a training course on “Multivariate Calibration in R” on 12–14 November 2012. The course is aimed at scientists and PhD students in soil science and physical geography with a background in statistics and, ideally, basic knowledge of R.​ Read more

Mountain Research and Development Vol 32 No 3: Central Asian Mountain Societies in Transition

Mountain societies in Central Asia have experienced systemic economic, political, social, and environmental changes in the past two decades. This special issue of MRD helps to fill gaps in knowledge and sustainable development practice for Central Asian mountain societies by analysing current realities and assessing development experiences. Major topics include pasture use and household livelihoods. Read more

3rd International Conference on Research for Development

The NCCR North-South held its 3rd international conference on research for development - ICRD - on 20-22 August 2012 in Bern, Switzerland. The 3rd ICRD featured keynotes, workshops, and poster sessions. Read more

Lecture: Transnational migration

Large numbers of migrants throughout the world maintain multiple ties to their countries of origin. A lecture on 5 October 2012 at the University of Bern examines the issue of transnational migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States. Read more

Forum on Development and Environment

The autumn semester schedule for CDE’s Forum on Development and Environment is now available. The theme this semester is "Education for Sustainable Development: Equity through Learning?" The Forum takes place on the Wednesdays marked on the schedule, from 4:15 - 5:45 pm. Read more

Aid, Emerging Economies, and Global Policies

Is development aid up to the job? How far do bilateral and multilateral aid agencies succeed in mainstreaming global issues and policies in their operations? These and other questions were debated at a half-day conference on 3 October 2012 at the University of Bern. The conference, “Aid, Emerging Economies and Global Policies”, was co-organised by CDE, The Graduate Institute, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Read more

Bottled Life: film screening and discussion

A screening of the documentary “Bottled Life” on 25 September 2012 at the Kino Kunstmuseum will be followed by a discussion with experts from CDE and the University of Bern’s World Trade Institute. “Bottled Life” is a Swiss-produced documentary which spotlights the bottled water business and examines the role of the multinational Nestlé. Read more

The impact of fair trade

What is the impact of fair trade in countries of production? What specific factors promote optimal effectiveness? The fair trade foundation Max Havelaar seeks to answer these questions at an event at the University of Bern on 6 September, 2012. Read more

MRD: Call for papers on 'Water Governance in Mountains'

2013 will be the International Year of Water Cooperation. For its August 2013 issue, Mountain Research and Development is seeking papers presenting well-validated policy- and practice-oriented insights for supporting improved water governance in mountains (MountainDevelopment section), and papers that analyze water governance, its implications on people and the water system in mountain areas, and related issues from a holistic perspective (MountainResearch section).


Mountain Research and Development Vol 32 No 2

As the global community gathers at the 2012 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to negotiate ways towards a greener economy, the newest issue of MRD (Vol 32, No 2) presents a number of papers discussing the links between a green economy and livelihoods in mountains. Can a green economy really offer opportunities and greater equity to people in mountains? Major challenges lie ahead in further developing and adapting the concept to different contexts, including mountains. Read more

Swiss Platform for Rio+20

www.rio20.ch is Switzerland’s platform for Rio+20; it provides information on Switzerland’s position at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development on 20-22 June 2012, as well as the latest news on the negotiations. The website also includes blog entries of members of the Swiss delegation to Rio+20 including Professor Hans Hurni of CDE, representing the academic community in Switzerland. Read more

Sustainable agriculture must become a cornerstone of the “green economy”

The “green economy” will be the centre of attention when the global community comes together at the Rio+20 Earth Summit exactly four weeks from now. The summit can only be successful if it establishes ecologically sound small-scale farming as the main basis for feeding the nine billion people expected to live on Earth by 2050. This is the overall conclusion from a panel discussion at ETH Zurich held on 23 May 2012. Read more

Rio+20 Factsheets

CDE researchers are contributing to sustainability factsheets, which are published by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT). The factsheets cover topics relevant to the upcoming UN Rio+20 conference on sustainable development. Each sheet summarises the state of knowledge on an individual theme, such as water security, and offers policy recommendations aimed at both the international level and Switzerland. Read more

Hunger: film screening and panel discussion

How can 1 billion people suffer from chronic hunger in a world of abundant resources? David Syz, former Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs, investigates this and related questions in his film “Hunger in a World of Plenty”. A screening of the film on 9 May in Bern was followed by a panel discussion featuring experts from CDE, the World Trade Institute, NCCR Trade Regulation, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Read more

Large-scale land acquisitions: new report and website

Large-scale land acquisitions are a lasting trend. So say a new report and innovative website created by the Land Matrix partnership which includes CDE. The report and website, launched on 26 April 2012 at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, aim to promote transparency and accountability in land-investment decisions through open data, made even more accessible via interactive maps and graphics. Read more

Panel discussion: Green Economy: Chances and Risks for Agriculture

In advance of the UN Rio+20 conference, CDE is co-sponsoring a discussion about global agricultural policy on 23 May 2012, at ETH Zurich, together with SWISSAID, Biovision, and others. A key topic of debate will be the implications of the “green economy” concept for small-scale farming. Read more

CDE at Planet under Pressure conference, London

CDE was well-represented at the Planet under Pressure conference in London, 26-29 March 2012. On Wednesday 28 March, CDE director Peter Messerli and deputy director Thomas Breu co-convened a session on Large Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLAs) as key drivers of rural transformation processes. Read more

Mountain Research and Development, Volume 32, Issue 1

This issue of MRD focuses on water resources in the Upper Indus Basin and beyond. Three papers discuss the linkages between climate, precipitation, glaciology, and river runoff in the basin. Other articles examine the impacts of global warming on mountaineering in the Austrian Alps, social-ecological aspects of irrigation in Central Ladakh, a “springshed development” approach in the Sikkim Himalaya, and more. Read more

MRD Supplement Issue: Global Change and the World’s Mountains

MRD is pleased to announce the publication of a Supplement Issue containing keynote papers, a synthesis paper, and policy papers that emerged from the 2010 “Global Change and the World’s Mountains” conference, which took place in Perth, Scotland, from 26–30 September. Read more

Lecture: Transcultural Latin American history on the move

The ProDoc Programme invites you to this public lecture by Prof. Dr. Ottmar Ette (University of Potsdam) at 4 p.m. on Friday, 16 March 2012, at the University of Bern. Dr. Ette will discuss the potential of “a transareal science” of the Americas – emphasising mobility and dynamic linkages – as an alternative to homogenising, territorially defined perspectives on Latin America. Read more

Distribution and Transmission of Medicinal Plant Knowledge in the Andean Highlands

This publication by CDE researcher Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel and Ina Vandebroek presents a study of patterns in the distribution and transmission of medicinal plant knowledge in rural Andean communities in Peru and Bolivia. The authors describe how people’s community, age, migratory activity, and market integration shape the nature of their plant knowledge. Read more

From the Periphery to the Centre: Remaking the Bolivian State and Society

Written by Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera, this book examines the Morales administration’s concept of “plurinationalism” as well as the obstacles and problems encountered during the development of a new constitution. It includes an interview in which García Linera discusses his political theories and Bolivia’s current situation with CDE researcher Stephan Rist and Andreas Simmen. Read more

Mountain Research and Development Volume 31, Issue 4

The “energy crisis” has been defined as one of the key issues of a “green economy” and is therefore on the agenda of the Earth Summit Rio +20. This issue of MRD is the third in 10 years that is devoted to sustainable production and use of energy in mountain areas. Read more