News archive 2019

MRD new issue

Adaptation to climate change and sustainable mountain development

The new issue of “Mountain Research and Development” focuses on climate change adaptation in mountains across the globe. More information

Wyss Academy for Nature founded

Wyss Academy for Nature

Founded at the University of Bern, the Wyss Academy for Nature promises to become a leading research and practice centre in the field of nature and people. Made possible by Hansjörg Wyss, the Wyss Academy is a joint endeavour of CDE, the Oeschger Centre, and the Institute of Plant Sciences, all of the University of Bern. CDE Director Peter Messerli has been designated to lead the new centre. More information


Tackling inequalities on the way to sustainable food systems – JUST-FOOD

We must switch to more sustainable production, tackle food waste, and change our diets. In a new project, Finnish and Brazilian researchers and CDE are jointly developing options for a just and socially acceptable transition. More information

Policy Brief on pesticides

Making food systems safer: Time to curb use of highly hazardous pesticides

Many commonly used pesticides – especially in developing countries – are considered “highly hazardous” by experts due to their proven or likely harms to nature and people. This policy brief outlines key harms and research findings, highlights alternatives to pesticide-intensive agriculture, and calls for phasing out the riskiest substances. More information

Julie Zähringer

“We have to approach biodiversity conservation holistically”

A sense of alarm – that was the dominant reaction when the World Biodiversity Council announced its findings on the state of biodiversity and our ecosystems. Yet scientists have already proposed ways of tackling species conservation. An ambitious plan calls for placing half the planet under protection. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and CDE have taken a first-ever empirical look at the consequences of such a policy. More information

How universities support the transformation to sustainability

The second joint Sustainability Day of PHBern, the University of Bern, and the Bern University of Applied Sciences on 1 November showed some 350 visitors how the three institutions of higher education create innovations for sustainable development. More information in German

Research partnership between Switzerland and Ethiopia brings knowledge to the field

Research partnership between Switzerland and Ethiopia brings knowledge to the field

By 2030, over 40 percent of the world’s population will live in areas suffering from severe water stress. The results of a long-term Swiss–Ethiopian research partnership in the Upper Blue Nile basin show how water and land can be used sustainably even in a context of rapid population growth. More information

Sonja Vogt

“It’s an excellent approach to tackling poverty”

This year’s Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded for an experimental research approach to alleviating poverty. Sonja Vogt, Professor of Sustainable Social Development at the University of Bern and affiliated with CDE, applies the approach as well. More information in German


Global Sustainable Development Report 2019 made public

The 2019 GSDR, entitled “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development,” was unveiled at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday, 11 September 2019. Drafted by an independent group of 15 scientists co-chaired by CDE Director Peter Messerli. More information

“Economic growth alone does not automatically benefit the poorest people”

The proposed reorientation of development cooperation encourages Switzerland to pursue its own short-term economic interests, above all, while abandoning long-standing strengths. Further, it ignores scientific findings on poverty reduction, says Sabin Bieri, Member of CDE’s Executive Committee, commenting on the proposal. More information in German

Sustainable trade relations for diversified food systems

How can governments promote diversified food systems with more sustainable trade relations – and do so in compliance with domestic constitutional obligations as well as international rules? A new CDE project tackles these questions within the SNSF programme “Sustainable Economy”. More information

CDE at the Conference of the Parties of UNCCD

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is holding its 14th Conference of the Parties (COP) on 1–13 September 2019. Here, governments will agree on strategic and effective land use and sustainable land management goals to ensure nature and ecosystems thrive. CDE researcher Markus Giger is representing Switzerland at UNCCD’s Committee on Science and Technology.


Food systems in mountain regions and national parks in a neoliberal context

The newest issue of “Mountain Research and Development” presents findings on sustainable food systems in mountain regions: One paper describes a participatory a food systems mapping approach that CDE researchers tested in Kenya and Bolivia, and another assesses food consumption patterns among Mapuche communities in Chile. More information

Irene Musselli

“Poorer countries remain de facto excluded from tax information exchange”

A research project is currently investigating ways of curbing illicit financial flows from resource-rich developing countries. Where does Switzerland stand today, and what measures are needed in the future? CDE scientist Irene Musselli outlines the latest findings from the project's legal research. More information

Annual Report 2018

CDE's Annual report 2018

CDE’s Annual Report 2018 presents highlights, as well as a look back and ahead. More information

Snow in the alps

Nature-based tourism: a challenge and an opportunity

The Alps are among Europe’s most important areas for recreation and tourism. The latest issue of the “Einblicke – Ausblicke” research brief series examines the role of nature-based tourism in regional value creation and in sustainable natural resource use. More information in German

Rangeland Management

Guidelines on sustainable rangeland management in Sub-Saharan Africa

Published jointly by CDE and the World Bank, the book illustrates a wide range of proven and innovative rangeland management practices and provides useful guidelines. More information

Second Sustainability Day of Bern’s institutions of higher education

At their second joint Sustainability Day, the PHBern, the University of Bern, and the Bern University of Applied Sciences will highlight how they work with partners to create and implement innovations for sustainable development. Save the date: 1 November 2019, 9 am to 4 pm, at the vonRoll area in Bern. More information

Migration and sustainable mountain development

Migration and sustainable mountain development

This publication provides insights into processes of migration from and to mountain regions. Case studies from around the world explore positive and negative implications for mountain societies and ecosystems. More information

Book Perlik

The Spatial and Economic Transformation of Mountain Regions

In his book “The Spatial and Economic Transformation of Mountain Regions", CDE researcher Manfred Perlik describes the socio-economic changes and spatial impacts of the last four decades, with the transformation of mountain areas held up as an example. More information

Julie Zähringer

CDE researcher Julie Zähringer wins Prix Schläfli in Geosciences

CDE researcher Julie Zähringer has won the Prix Schläfli 2019 in Geosciences for her dissertation at the University of Bern. The Prix Schläfli is awarded annually by the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT) for the four best doctoral dissertations in the natural sciences. More information


Shaping coherent policies across silos

At its annual meeting in 2019, SDSN Switzerland, led by CDE and Biovision, presented a report titled “Shaping coherent policies across silos. The importance of interactions between the SDGs for a far-sighted sustainability policy in Switzerland”. More information in German

Andreas Heinimann

"We must combine conservation of nature with benefits to society"

On 6 May 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) presented its report on the state of biodiversity and ecosystem services worldwide. It concludes that biodiversity and ecosystem loss has reached the point where it threatens human well-being. An interview with Andreas Heinimann, CDE. More information

Prosopis in village

The fight against invasive alien species in Eastern Africa has only just begun

CDE researchers are working with scientists from local and international institutions to investigate the spread of Prosopis juliflora and other invasive alien species in Eastern Africa, their impacts on local livelihoods, and how they might be managed. More information

Ariane de Bremond

“Land systems are the loci for sustainability transformations”

From 24 to 26 April 2019, over 600 leading scientists from all over the world will meet in Bern for the 4th Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme (GLP). Ariane de Bremond, senior research scientist at CDE and executive officer of the GLP International Programme Office, discussed the role of the conference. More information

4th Open Science Meeting 2019

Transforming land systems for people and nature

How should land be used to tackle global challenges? How can we address issues of land tenure, conflict, power, food systems, and soil degradation to meet the needs of people and communities? What is required to achieve ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable and equitable land use systems? Around 600 leading scientists from across the world will be exploring these questions at a Global Land Programme (GLP) conference at the University of Bern. More information

Mekong State

Scientific report shows urgent need for transformation

The report “State of Land in the Mekong Region” brings together key data and information on the current status of, and changes in, land resources, their social distribution, and the conditions of governance that shape them. It stresses the need for urgent action towards transformational change. More information

Book Shaping Sustainable Socio-Ecological Landscapes in Africa

Shaping Sustainable Socio-Ecological Landscapes in Africa

In the “Water and Land Resource Centre” project, scientists worked with land users and decision-makers in Kenya and Ethiopia to develop locally adapted solutions for managing water and land sustainably and resolving conflicts. Now they have summarized experiences from 40 years of transformative research in the book “Shaping Sustainable Socio-Ecological Landscapes in Africa”. More information

a student

Master’s open days, 5–7 March 2019

Information events on the master’s minor programme in sustainable development will take place on 5 and 6 March 2018, from 13:15 to 13:45, in Room 106 at the University of Bern’s main building. More information

information exchange

Curbing illicit financial flows in commodity trading

The 2030 Agenda calls for combating illicit financial flows in commodity trading. The aim is to enable resource-rich countries to secure their corresponding tax revenues. As a major commodity-trading hub, Switzerland has recently taken steps to expand its exchange of relevant data. The latest CDE Working Paper examines whether these steps help to counteract mispricing of commodities. More information

Policy Brief: Inequality
Photo: Daniel Albanese

Inequality: What’s in a word?

Ten years on, the reverberations of the global financial crisis continue to be felt. In politics, trends of polarization, protest, and nationalism have intensified. Yet in economics, a new discourse has opened up. Instead of poverty, people are talking about inequality – and not only in development circles. The latest CDE Policy Brief examines the issue of inequality and shows how it can improve research and policy. More information

Biodiversity Mountains

Call for papers: Mountain Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

“Mountain Research and Development” is looking for papers that present validated insights into ways of managing mountain (agro)biodiversity so that it contributes to human wellbeing; that analyze interlinkages between mountain biodiversity, global change, ecosystems, and people; or that offer evidence-informed agendas for research or policymaking. More information

CDE Researcher Graziano Ceddia

“Inequality also harms the environment”

“More equal distribution of income, wealth, and land ownership is not only fairer, but also an effective means of improving environmental protection.” That’s the conclusion of CDE researcher Graziano Ceddia, based on the results of his study showing that inequality in Latin America promotes deforestation. More information

MRD_Sarah-Lan Stiefel

Towards more sustainable food systems in mountains

The latest issue of “Mountain Research and Development” explores promising approaches to making food systems in mountain regions more sustainable. Further topics include the impact of changing glacier conditions on mountaineering in New Zealand and of ski tourism on wildlife in Poland, and more. More information