Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)


News archive 2015


’Bernese Prize for Environmental Research’ awarded

The “Bernese Prize for Environmental Research” promotes research in the fields of environmental science and sustainability. The 2015 prize went to Dr. Pierrick Buri for his dissertation on pollinating insects in intensive agricultural matrices bees. A special recognition prize went to Ms. Bettina Scharrer for her master’s thesis on conflicts between intensive livestock production and water protection in the Canton of Lucerne. More information

Sustainability at the University of Bern

What do employees and students think of the sustainability of the University of Bern? This film by Janosch Hugi and Jan Laubscher was produced as part of the sustainability day at the University of Bern. More information in German


New video of the International Graduate School (IGS) North-South

What is transdisciplinary research? Have a look at the new video of the International Graduate School North-South and get a read of the field work in Nepal in summer 2015! More information

Buch Lisa

Sustainable Development in International Law Making and Trade

The new book Sustainable Development in International Law Making and Trade: International Food Governance and Trade in Agriculture by Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi (CDE) tackles the question of how to enshrine the concept of sustainable development in law. It also examines what a sustainable agricultural agreement might look like within the WTO. More information

Laos Science Policy Engagement

Boosting Science–Policy Engagement in Lao PDR

CDE, which has a country office in Lao PDR, co-organized the two-day “Workshop on Science–Policy Engagement” held in Vientiane on 8-9 September 2015. The workshop was a follow-up to the country’s first ever high-level Science–Policy Exchange (13-14 February 2014), which CDE also co-organized. More information

mountain research and development

Mountain Research and Development, Vol 35, No 3, available online and open access

Papers examine the consequences of water privatization for indigenous people in Chile’s high-altitude wetlands, reevaluate the FAO 56 PM evapotranspiration estimation method in Ecuador, and test hydrological models under a climate change scenario in Costa Rica. Two studies use remote sensing to assess vegetation growth in northern Tibet and forest density in Nepal. More information

Conference of the commons

Call for panels, papers, and posters for conference on the commons

Taking place 10–13 May 2016, the 4th Regional European Meeting of the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) will focus on global connections and local responses. It seeks to advance our understanding of such global–local, or “glocal”, processes and how Europe has adapted to them in its management of the commons. The call for papers, panels, and posters is now open!

Commodity sector

The Commodity Sector from a Sustainable Development Perspective

Commodity trading in Switzerland has attracted increasing scrutiny in recent years, in particular because of its rapid growth and its importance to resource-exporting developing countries. Written by researchers from CDE, the World Trade Institute, and the Institute for Business Ethics (IWE), this working paper seeks to identify critical knowledge gaps and to provide a basis for further academic research on the commodity industry. More information

Water governance

What scale for water governance?

The journal Science has invited essays to debate key issues in freshwater research and management. An article by researchers of EAWAG, CDE, and other institutions discusses local and global perspectives on water governance. Emerging research suggests that understanding and meeting future water challenges could benefit from thinking in broader spatial domains. When, and to what extent, should a global viewpoint replace or complement localized perspectives? More information

Green economy

Green Economy and Institutions for Sustainable Mountain Development

This report synthesizes expert findings on the importance of mountain regions for global green development and for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It illustrates the environmental services that mountains provide, especially relating to water, food and energy. It also highlights fields such as mining, resource extraction and urbanization, as well as problems such as poverty and migration. More information

SDG Helvetas

Is a just world in sight?

A panel discussion on 9 September 2015, organized by the Swiss development organization Helvetas in collaboration with CDE, will spotlight the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals. At the event, representatives from Swiss government, the scientific community, civil society, and the private sector will discuss past achievements and future challenges in realizing equitable and environmentally sustainable development. More information

OneMap Myanmar

OneMap Myanmar: New CDE project launched

On 25 June 2015, Myanmar’s Central Committee for Land Resource Management hosted the launch ceremony for the OneMap project. Implemented by CDE and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the project emphasizes provision of technical support to create an open-access spatial data platform on land issues. It is slated to last eight years. More information

Dryland Soils

Saving soils at degradation frontlines: sustainable land management in drylands

Healthy soils grow the food we eat and the wood we use for shelter and fuel, purify the water we drink, and hold fast to the roots of the natural world we cherish. But they are under threat, especially from human overuse and climate change. Nowhere is this more evident than in dryland areas. Though it is a challenge, preserving and restoring healthy soils in drylands is possible. More information

MRD 35 2

Mountain Research and Development, Vol 35, No 2, on Vulnerability and Hazards

The Nepal earthquakes have shown how vulnerable mountain people are to natural hazards and how important it is to strengthen their resilience. Papers in this issue assess the effectiveness of the Hyogo Framework for Action and the Sendai Framework for DRR; others assess social vulnerability in Lesotho, reveal hydro-meteorological risks in Italy, forest vulnerability in Austria and Bavaria. More information

Mountain Farming is Family Farming

Mountain Farming is Family Farming now available in French and Spanish

'Mountain Farming is Familiy Farming' is now available in French and Spanish. It provides an overview of the global changes affecting mountain farming communities and the strategies that they have developed to cope. Each study presents a set of lessons and recommendations for mountain communities, policymakers, development experts, and researchers working to support mountain farmers and protect mountains areas. More information

CDE Annual Report 14

Read CDE's Annual Report 2014

CDE’s annual report 2014 is now available for download. CDE’s research contributes to maintaining soils and land as important bases for stable natural ecosystems, farming, and food security. Our annual report illustrates how knowledge can help to promote sustainable and productive use of land, furthering global development. More information

Flavours from our soils

Flavours from our soils

We invite you to join us in celebrating the World Day to Combat Desertification and the International Year of Soils on Wednesday, 17 June 2015! Farmers from South Africa and Switzerland will discuss the challenges of growing wine and rooibos in drylands, and present their land management strategies to the public. An interactive exhibition will be offered enabling participants to learn more about the diversity and functions of soils. More information

Agroecology and food sustainability

Preventing hunger from eating up our future: Agroecology and food sustainability

​One out of nine persons worldwide goes to bed hungry every night. But hunger is said to be the world’s greatest solvable problem. How can we grow enough food without depleting the planet’s resources? This and related questions are the focus of an event to take place on Wednesday, 3 June 2015. Organized by SWISSAID and CDE, the event will feature a presentation by Miguel Altieri. Jordan Gama, President of the Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement, will report on ongoing developments in Africa. More information

Unesco World Heritage Forest

Forests in the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage region: diverse, dynamic, and invaluable

Forests not only supply timber and fuelwood, but also protect us against natural hazards and clean the water we drink and the air we breathe. Almost half of Switzerland’s animals and plants depend on forest as their habitat. While our planet is losing large areas of forest daily, forests in the European Alps are expanding and changing the Alpine landscape – including in the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage region. More information

Sustainable University Day 2015 at the University of Bern

On 20 November 2015 the University of Bern will hold its second Sustainable University Day. The theme of this year’s Sustainable University Day is “Shortlivedness vs Sustainability”. Students, researchers, and operational staff are invited to present their sustainability projects at a stand or hold a workshop. More information

Eco drive

Eco-Drive for Noise Abatement – Assessment of an Intervention Programme to Promote a Quiet Driving Style

Roadway noise is the most harmful source of traffic noise pollution for humans. The present study – supported by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Ministry of the German State of Rheinland-Pfalz responsible for the environment, agriculture, food, vineyards, and forests – examined how promotion of a quiet driving style can contribute to reducing road traffic noise. More information


Swiss academia engages with commodities and trade

A workshop at the University of Bern on 21 April 2015 shed light on research gaps in the field of commodities and trade. The event was co-hosted by the World Trade Institute and CDE of the University of Bern and the Institute for Business Ethics of the University of St.Gallen. It focused on open research questions related to the trade in, and the production and processing of, hard and soft commodities. More information

Resource Study

Combating poverty through better use of natural resources

Natural resources are under increasing pressure in the face of climate change and the growing global demand for raw materials. The problem of unequal access to resources in many parts of the world means that the livelihoods of rural poor people are also at risk. A new study "Pro-poor Resource Governance under Changing Climates" has been published by IASS and IFAD, with the support of a number of partner organizations including CDE. More information

MRD 35_1

Mountain Research and Development, Vol 35, No 1, available online and open access

Papers explore how Indian farmers benefit from a pro-poor value chain; Peruvian periurban farmers’ views on urbanization; European intergenerational practices for protected area management; a low-cost DEM methodology for the Andes; French and Italian mountain farms’ adaptation to socioeconomic and political change; alpine forest communities’ response to climate variability in Nepal; and the impact of fertilizer on degraded grasslands in Tibet. More information

Unesco Einblicke Ausblicke Vereine

Clubs and societies in the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch World Heritage region

Clubs and societies offer a space for fun and games, sports, and cultural activities.They are also important places of social identity building. By bringing different people together, they foster social cohesion and integration. And they contribute to democratic culture. What kinds of associations exist in and around the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage site, and what do they do? More information


Motorbikes and scooters going electric

E-scooters and e-motorcycles can help to reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and traffic noise. An interdisciplinary team of researchers has analysed the impact of e-scooters in Switzerland on energy use, the environment, and people’s travel behaviour. They also observed the global and national markets for e-scooters and carried out various studies on charging infrastructure and road safety. More information

PB Laos concessions

On the right path? Land concessions in Laos

The government of Laos hopes that projects linked to land investments will improve local productivity, infrastructure, and poverty rates. Ensuring that land investment truly benefits the broader population demands effective regulation and strong political will. The new CDE policy brief provides key insights and recommendations drawn from the national inventory of land concessions and leases. More information

Mountains climate change

Mountains and Climate Change - A Global Concern

Mountains are among the regions most affected by climate change. The implications of climate change will reach far beyond mountain areas, as the contributions in the present publication show. Themes discussed are water, glaciers and permafrost, hazards, biodiversity, food security and economy. The publication concludes with a series of recommendations for sustainable mountain development in the face of climate change. More information

Biovision Event

How can the SDGs help transform global agriculture?

​How can Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contribute to a change of course in global agriculture? A panel of renowned experts will discuss this question at a public event on 21 January 2015 at the University of Bern. As global SDG negotiations are beginning in New York, the event offers a timely update on the status of negotiations concerning the post-2015 development agenda and the question of food security. More information