This MRD Focus Issue on Family Farming in Mountains addresses the question to what extent and how institutions and organizational arrangements of family farmers have been able to cope with current multiple challenges in the context of global change, and whether family farmers in mountains benefit from new opportunities. The geographical range of papers in this issue reaches from Italy to Ukraine, Slovakia, China, Bolivia, and Spain. More information
The Bernese Award for Environmental Research aims to promote disciplinary and interdisciplinary research in environmental sciences and sustainability at the University of Bern. The prize money in 2015/16 totals CHF 15,000. The award, granted every two years, targets researchers whose work makes a relevant contribution to society or lays the foundations for a better understanding of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions. More information
How can industrialization and entrepreneurship, social mobility and consumption, urbanization, and governance be made to serve the norms of justice and environmental integrity in mountains? Mountain Research and Development (MRD) is seeking papers that either present well-validated experiences of sustainable modernization processes or analyze the impacts of modernization from a systems science perspective. More information
CDE is participating in three new long-term research projects under the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d programme). CDE was named Leading House of two of the projects, Food Sustainability and Telecoupled Landscapes, which it will carry out with various partners in Switzerland and in developing countries. CDE was designated Junior Partner in the third project, Invasive Species. Each project runs for six years, starting in 2015. More information
Ensuring water distribution without conflict is becoming increasingly difficult, especially in dry regions. The MontanAqua project has been addressing this issue in Crans-Montana-Sierre, in the Swiss canton of Valais. In a short film, researchers and local representatives present their findings and possible future prospects for the region.
Together with its partners in Kenya, CDE has just released the first-ever Socio-Economic Atlas of Kenya. The atlas features high-resolution spatial depictions and analyses of data collected in the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census. The combination of geographic and socio-economic data enables policymakers at all levels, development experts, and other interested readers to gain a spatial understanding of different dynamics affecting Kenya. More information
In recent years the development debate has witnessed a paradigm shift, away from purely growth-oriented policies to broader concepts of sustainable and inclusive development. A round-table debate on Thursday, 13 Nov. 2014 at the University of Bern will inquire to what extent this paradigm shift has already materialized in different development concepts and policies. More information
The Global Diversity Foundation announces GESA 2015: the fifth Global Environments Summer Academy, designed to broaden and deepen the knowledge, networking, and communication skills of activists, postgraduate students, and professionals who are concerned about the human dimensions of environmental challenges. The Academy is organized in collaboration with CDE and will take place in Bern between 27 July and 14 Aug. 2015. More information
Mountain Research and Development is planning a Focus Issue on “Observing Mountains and Sharing Knowledge”. The speed, nature, and dimension of changes in mountains pose complex challenges for mountain societies and mountain ecosystems. MRD is seeking well-validated insights into processes of observation and knowledge sharing on social-ecological systems in mountains. More information
Intimidating or inspiring: the impressive Alpine landscape has fascinated and sparked people's imagination for centuries. For the Jungfrau-Aletsch region in the Swiss Alps, its beauty and ability to inspire were criteria for its acceptance onto the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List. The region has had an immense influence on artistic creation. More information in German
A decade after MRD’s last issue dedicated to mountain women, this special issue shows clear progress in gender research on sustainable development in mountains. On the other hand, it offers important insights into how gendered impacts of development efforts often inadvertently benefit men more than women. More information
Productivity, efficiency, technological progress, and competitiveness: these are the hallmarks of successful projects in business, and – increasingly – in other areas. CDE’s Forum on Development and Environment sheds light on the relevance of business logic for sustainable development. How can analyses, theories, and practice provide insights for realistic and pragmatic strategies for action, triggering social and economic transformation processes? More information in German
With its anniversary conference on 27 August 2014, the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries (KFPE) addresses the topic of extractive industries through the lens of science and research partnerships. The conference will reach out beyond the scientific community by serving as a platform for discussion and integrating the views of civil society, enterprises, and politics. More information
How can smartphones be used to prevent conflicts with elephants? How many goods does a person need to lead a good life? How can soil erosion be prevented in Tajikistan? On 6 September 2014, CDE researchers will bring Sustainable Development to life through questions such as these, at the University of Bern’s “Researchers’ Night”.
The Hannes Pauli Gesellschaft is celebrating 30 years of existence this year. The anniversary celebration on 15 August 2014 in Bern will explore the links between art and sustainable development in Switzerland from different perspectives. The programme includes a workshop, guided art tours in and around the federal parliament building, and a public evening event with lectures and a panel discussion. More information in German
The Government of Switzerland has signed an agreement to support the Lao DECIDE Info decision support project in Lao PDR. Somchit Inthamith, Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, and Ruth Huber, Regional Director for the Mekong Region of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) signed the agreement on 17 July 2014. More information
The region of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch encompasses a breath-taking alpine landscape and a rich cultural landscape. In an effort to understand the changes affecting the region and the possible threats to its resources and their services, CDE collaborates with local partners to regularly examine and evaluate the status and development of different environmental and societal aspects, based on various indicators. More information in German
This issue of MRD explores migration among ethnic Tibetans in Nepal; mountain agriculture and development potentials in Thailand; prediction of tourist movements in a protected area in Yunnan; climate change impacts on water availability in Nepal; changes in cattle breeding and forest grazing, as well as community perceptions of commercial oak harvesting for firewood, both in Bhutan; firewood consumption in the Tajik Pamirs; and soil degradation in a mountain range in Benin. More information
Mountain Research and Development (MRD) is seeking policy- and practice-oriented, well-validated insights into the effectiveness of disaster risk reduction and recovery approaches in mountains, as well as papers that present novel research findings on processes of natural hazards and disasters from a social-ecological systems perspective and on mountain communities’ and environments’ resilience and vulnerabilities to hazards and disasters. More information
Land degradation and desertification are critical challenges we face. Coupled with climate change, they jeopardize humanity’s capacity to feed itself. Tackling degradation and desertification demands local and global solutions. This year’s theme of the World Day to Combat Desertification is “ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change”. More information
This publication, featuring 28 case studies from many mountain regions, provides an overview of the challenges of tourism in mountains and sheds light on the innovative strategies developed by mountain communities to cope with these challenges. More information
CDE’s first policy brief examines jatropha’s various uses for farmers in East Africa. The jatropha plant produces seeds containing oil that may be made into biodiesel. Jatropha attracted major interest during the recent global fuel crisis. The plant’s promise appeared especially great in East Africa. Today, however, jatropha’s value in East Africa appears to lie primarily in its multipurpose use by small-scale farmers, not in large-scale biofuel production. More information
Monique Barbut, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, announced the UNCCD’s official accreditation of the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) database – hosted by CDE – as the global platform for documenting and sharing best practices of sustainable land management. More information
How do universities ensure that the sustainable development they teach, research, and practice in their daily operation benefits society? What can we expect of universities in the future? Sustainable development presents greater challenges than ever, given the global exploitation of natural resources and the associated injustices. To address these issues, the first Sustainable University Day was held on 28 March 2014 at the University of Bern.
At a well-attended event held at the University of Bern on 15 April 2014, Monique Barbut, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), delivered a keynote address on the importance of land as a natural resource. Co-organized by CDE and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the event featured several prominent speakers from Swiss science and policy communities. More information
This issue of MRD explores how international mountain initiatives have shaped region-building in South East Europe; how ecotourism spreads non-native plants in Aconcagua Park, Argentina; how indigenous soil and water conservation practices in Sikkim pay off; which areas along the Upper Mekong River in Yunnan are affected by soil erosion; how to determine rainfall erosivity on a watershed scale across Costa Rica; and how the Fedchenko glacier in Tajikistan has remained stable in size. More information
A “Science–Policy Exchange” event was held on 13 and 14 February 2014 in Lao PDR to foster efforts to improve collaboration between researchers and decision-makers. The event was co-hosted by the National University of Laos, the Policy Think Tank of the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute, and with the Swiss Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries. CDE was one of four additional international organisations providing support. More information
Land and resource use in Laos are changing, affecting both the environment and livelihoods of the rural population. Improved market opportunities in recent years have further accelerated this trend, leading to an expansion in permanent agriculture and changing patterns of shifting cultivation. Mapping these transformations can support informed decision-making and policy targeting on this issue. To this end, CDE researchers have developed various approaches described here. More information
On 20 March 2014, we will hold the ninth “Bernese Prize for Environmental Research” award ceremony, jointly arranged by the University of Bern and co-sponsors CSL Behring AG and Energie Wasser Bern. The main award will be presented to Dr. Antoni Margalida for his superb dissertation on the population of Bearded Vultures in Europe. A special recognition award will be presented to Ms. Iris Staubesand for her master’s thesis on organic farming in Switzerland. More information
CDE has signed a formal partnership agreement with the World Trade Institute (WTI). Signed in November 2013, the agreement heralds a new joint approach to interdisciplinary research and teaching, especially in the field of sustainable development. WTI’s and CDE’s expertise overlap or complement each other in many areas, particularly global governance and sustainability. More information
The first CDE Working Paper has just been published; it is on EU Trade Agreements and Their Impacts on Human Rights. CDE Working Papers present reflections on sustainable development issues of concern to researchers, development experts, and policymakers around the world. The author, Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, will be presenting results and the Position Paper that has emerged out of her study next week in Berlin.
The game Bougouni brings to life the challenges faced by developing countries. While playing it, students are encouraged to address various ecological, social, and economic issues. The prototype for Bougouni was jointly developed by CDE and partner organisations in Mali. Now, together with PHBern and éducation21, CDE has reworked and adapted the content of this learning-oriented simulation game, making it suitable for use with high school-aged students.
The Swiss Confederation has just released a study on Switzerland’s double taxation agreements (DTA), conducted by two researchers from CDE and the World Trade Institute under a mandate from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The study examines the impacts of these agreements on developing countries and recommends ways of making them more supportive of development. More information